Feb 03 2009
Well, since I’ve been to a few h!p concerts now, I think it’s time for me to pass on all my collected wisdom. There are always people asking for concert-going advice, so here’s all I have to offer consolidated in one handy blog entry.
STEP 1: Get to Japan.
I recommend airplanes.
STEP 2: Acquire Tickets
This seems to be the step that the most people get caught up about. Here are the two methods I have used. You can decide what’s right for you.
- Online. If you are good at reading Japanese and posses a Japanese mailing address, e-mail address, and credit card, you can attempt to go directly to an online resale site such as Tickets Japan. If you don’t have all of those things, you can use an intermediary. I’ve used Shopping Mall Japan and found them to be reliable, though they do take a commission for the service. If you choose this website, after registering, go to the tickets Japan site, find the item you want to buy, then proceed to the “Website Order” form and fill out as directed. It’s reliable, and you can order well in advance, so no worries about whether or not you’ll be able to find tickets. The major downside to this is that tickets will be delivered about 1 week before the performance, so if you live outside of Asia, they probably won’t get to you in time unless you have a Japanese mailing address.
- Ticket Resellers. There are a number of ticket resellers in Japan. The one that I have used is called Yokohama ticket, which has a few locations in Tokyo. I went to the Shinjuku location. The website that I linked displays what tickets are available each day, but be careful, because that only applies when they first open, so the item you want could be already sold by the afternoon. There’s a map from the Shinjuku station HERE. Make sure to head out the South side of the station (the one with the big staircase) NOT the Central side (they’re kind of separate), or you will get very confused. Head for the one of the tunnels going under the big road, then turn left down the first small sidestreet off of the main drag. It’s a small yellow building right next to McDonalds. The triangular building on the map, by the way, is called “Green Peas” and is actually very green, so that’s a good landmark if you’re lost. Anyway, the tickets are in display cases with their prices. Just point to what you want, and the sales people will get it out for you. If you buy a ticket really close to the day of the show, it will be really cheap, but, of course, it’s kind of risky to put it off that much. It’s your call.
There are also sometimes scalpers in front of the venue, but I wouldn’t really recommend that option. Another consideration with tickets is how many to get. You might think that going to a show once is enough…but it’s really not. Do yourself a favor, and buy tickets to a couple of shows if possible. Lastly, “is it worth it to pay more to be closer to the front?”. I’d say yes, but it depends on you. You’ll enjoy the concert atmosphere plenty in the backest of the back rows, but if you’re interested in making eyecontact with the girls or getting a clear view of their facial expressions, you’ll want to try to sit somewhere in the first half of the floor section.
Step 3: Plan
- One essential part of this is figuring out exactly how you are going to get to the concert venue. Japan is hella confusing. The layout of the streets makes zero sense and a lot of the streets don’t even have names. First, locate the train station closest to your concert venue. To figure out how to get there from the station closest to where you’re staying, THIS SITE is a huge huge lifesaver. That is, unless you enjoy spending hours poring over route maps. Try to find the website of your venue (enter the kanji into a search engine). There’s probably a map of how to get there from the nearest train station on the site. If it looks like it might be difficult, it’s probably not a bad idea to either scope things out the day before or arrange to arrive really super early.
- You should also decide how early you want to arrive. Honestly, unless you’re worried about getting lost or want some goods that you fear might sell out (birthday goods tend to), you really don’t need to get there more than an hour before the concert starts.
- What to bring: Your ticket (duh), water (or plan to buy some on the way, because you WILL get hot and thirsty, even if your concert is in the middle of winter), light clothes (for the same reason, or plan to buy a T-shirt), comfortable shoes (unless you are sitting in the family section) and money (in cash) for buying goods/train fare. Remember, most places in Japan don’t take credit cards, and most ATM machines only work with Japanese cards. If you happen to be an obsessive blogger *cough cough* paper and pencil to take notes might also be nice. If you bring a camera, prepare for the possibility that it could be confiscated. They do search bags, and at the last concert I went to, they even patted everyone down.
Optional Pre-Concert Steps
- Familiarize yourself with the set list/listen to a concert recording. I recommend this because you’ll probably be wanting to know what cheers fit where in the song, and you don’t want to be worried about figuring that out during the actual concert. If you don’t care, that’s cool too, but be aware that you will be one of the only people in the room out of sync with everyone else. Nothing to stress about, but I think it’s more fun if you can join in with the crowd. Oh, and for the record, if everyone’s chanting someone’s name during a song: Takahashi Ai= Ai-chan, Niigaki Risa= Gaki-san, Kamei Eri=Erinrin, and Mitsui Aika= Mittsi. The others (JunJun, LinLin, Reina, Koharu, and Sayumi) can just be called by their given name.
- Familiarize yourself with the dance moves. The next level of devotion, and certainly not required. I’m not even talking about the full on dances here. A few people do that, but I think it’d be hard to enjoy the concert if you were concentrating that much on the dances. I’m just talking about certain key arm movements, mostly during the singles. For example, raising one hand in the air during Mikan, the titular part of “Renai Revolution 21″, or that waving thing during the “lonely boys and girls” part of Koko ni Iruzee. Everyone’s going to be doing it. You might as well too.
Step 4: The Concert
Congratulations! You’ve made it, and I’m sure you’re going to have a blast.
- The first thing you probably want to do is locating the goods table. What to buy? Whatever you want! You’re at a h!p concert, so don’t be afraid to go crazy. I’d definitely recommend buying something to wave, glowstick in your favorite member’s color or an uchiwa. I (and most of the fans) prefer glowsticks because they’re less likely to block someone’s view and they can be seen in the dark. A T-shirt would probably be nice too.
- Walk around, and take in the atmosphere. Marvel at how many females are there. Admire people’s crazy photo collections. Oggle at the people who have chosen rather flashy ways to express their devotion to a particular girl.
- Line up to get inside and find your seat. It shouldn’t be hard. No point in doing that too early though. The concert will start exactly on time, most likely, so you don’t want to be late, but most people will be loitering around outside until 10-15 minutes before the show begins.
- HAVE AN AWESOME TIME! Wave that glowstick! Jump up and down and scream your favorite member’s name! Love every minute of it!
Step 5: Go Again
Was that helpful? I hope so,