KissBee Live in Odaiba, and a Chance Encounter with FES☆TIVE at Niku Fes (2019/04/30-05/01)

Idols, Beer, Golden Week, and the coming of the Reiwa Era.  That pretty much sums up my last couple of days.  After finishing out the final days of my life as a university undergrad, I had scheduled four straight days of seeing some of my favorite idol/J-pop performers, mixed in with one of my other favorite Japan hobbies, the beer and food festivals.  On Tuesday I would be mixing in two of those vices, with KissBee performing in the shadow of the giant Gundam statue at Diver City, which happened to be right next door to the Odaiba Oktoberfest.  And while my main purpose for being there was to see KissBee, I did sneak a couple mugs of beer in between sets.  My planned “day at Oktoberfest” was scheduled for the following day.

However, things looked a little “iffy” early in the day, with a pending rainstorm in the forecast, the KissBee event was in danger of being cancelled, or being reduced to a Non-performance” meet and greet.  This is exactly what happened the last time I saw them, and I was hoping it wouldn’t happen twice in a row.  Despite the risk, I headed out to Odaiba in the early afternoon.  There is so much to do there, I was bound to have fun one way or another…

After lunch at Wahoos’, my favorite Cali-Mexican restaurant in Japan, I went down to the event square to see what was going on with KissBee.  To my surprise, the line to buy CDs was huge.  I had never seen a line like this for KissBee ever before.  Moreover, there were three different lines that all seemed to serve a separate function, not to mention I did not see anyplace where one could pre-order their upcoming single.  Fans were all purchasing old releases.  It always annoys me how so many of these groups make their Buppan systems so complicated, so I hung back and waited for all the lines to die down.  It was a free live after all, I technically didn’t need to purchase anything.

I should probably mention that up until this point the rain had never gotten worse than an occasional drizzle, although the drizzle got a bit more consistent later on during their second performance.  It seemed to be enough to drive away the huge holiday crowd, but not enough to interfere with the events going on.  KissBee performed a nice 6-song set in front of a decent-sized crowd of fans, plus a bunch of passing holiday revelers.  I always get a kick out of foreigners’ reactions to public live idol-events, although it seems like they have no ability to read the mood, and will come staggering into the space with their smartphone stretched into the air despite NONE of the actual fans having their cameras out.  The funny thing is that KissBee is pretty much cool about people taking video, as long as you stay out of the general fans’ area, but these people want a closeup, so…

I wasn’t too close to the stage, but I know Misaki-chan (Tanifuji Misaki) did eventually notice me.  Oh, and they had two relatively new members, at least members I had never seen before; Fujii Yui and Shinohara Nonoka.  Both of them are quite cute.  In the meantime I purchased another copy of their last mini-album, which afforded me two tickets.  I immediately lined up to take a 2-shot shamekai with Misaki-chan…

They don’t give you too much time to talk, but she did say she was happy to see me again, and I did get a chance to tell her how adorable she looks with blonde hair.  I had one more ticket, which I wasn’t sure if I was going to use in this set, or wait for the second set.  A little while later I ran into one of the KissBee fans I am friends with, and I asked him how the new handshake system works.  He explained to me that instead of the old way where you simply lid up for the member with your handshake ticket, and they signed whatever photo they were giving away, the fans now had the opportunity to choose which photo they wanted among around 10 choices at the booth, and that served as your “ticket” for a handshake and talk while the member signed the photo.  There were a lot of cute photos to choose from, but I picked the following for its comedic randomness…

While Misaki-chan was signing the pic, I had the chance to tell her that I finished school, but more importantly I told her about the article I wrote in the Japan Times, where I mentioned not only KissBee, but Misaki-chan specifically.  Unfortunately, I did not bring a copy for her since I was worried about it getting wet in the rain, but she said she would look it up online.  After that I headed over to to Oktoberfest for a brew since there was about 90 minutes until the second set….


Ayinger Banana Weitzen…yumm!

After hanging out with a couple of crazy drunken foreigners at the beer event, I headed back to the KissBee live just as they were starting their evening set.  I was a little further back, and ultimately ended up in the middle of all the wakkai wota who go crazy with the chants, wotagei, and whatnot.  In fact, those guys seemed especially crazy for the later set, and since I had a couple beers in me by this point, I was keen to jump in.  Interestingly, they also seemed to attract as much attention from the passing tourists as the girls did.  Not only were the foreigners jamming toward the stage with their cameras in the air, they then turned to film the wota doing their thing.  Yes, the entire idol experience is quite unique and fascinating.

I decided not to do buppan for the late set, nor did I have anymore beer since I was 1) meeting a friend for dinner, and 2) wanted to have full energy for my long day I had planned for Wednesday.  Yes, I had planned to dive headfirst into the Oktoberfest experience, but little did I know there was a big idol fest next door, including another of my favorite groups…

Wednesday at Oktoberfest, and the “Meat Up Fes” at Odaiba Niku Festival.

So my plan was to spend most of the day at Oktoberfest with my friends and enjoy the Austrian party band that makes regular appearances here in Japan.  And it was an enjoyable day of eating Currywurst, German potatoes, and Bayern sandwiches, then washing them down with various German beers.  I did a good job of pacing myself; in the 7+ hours I was there I had three regular sized beers and one small, so I never got too inebriated.  However…


Hangin’ out with Anton and the Funny Guys

In my occasional visits to the smoking tent, I noticed the sound of live idol groups emanating from the direction of the Niku Festival.  Now I regularly check the schedules of the groups I like, and I didn’t remember seeing any mention of this festival on any of their schedules.  However, eventually my curiosity got the best of me, so around 7:15 p.m. I decided to google search the festival to see who was playing.  Wow, there were quite a few well known idol groups on the bill; Party Rockets, Ready to Kiss, Dear Kiss, Chu-z, NicoNico Lovers, and then reading down at the bottom, FES☆TIVE???  I quickly checked FES☆TIVE’s schedule, and noticed they were scheduled to perform in around 15 minutes.  Well heck, let me head down there and check it out…


Junjou Afilia

At this point it was raining pretty hard.  It also turned out that while the Niku Festival is free, getting inside the idol festival cost around 3000 yen.  Well, I wasn’t about to spend 3000 yen just to see FES☆TIVE for 15 minutes, not to mention their buppan was done before their set, and was already over.  Instead I set myself up in the free area on the left side of the stage, which was actually relatively close.  They were running late, so I ended up seeing Dear Kiss and Junjou Afilia before FES☆TIVE took the stage.


FES☆TIVE

I must admit that they sounded really good, much better than I remember them sounding the last few times I saw them.  Unfortunately I was much to far away to get Aoba Hinari’s, or any other members’ attention.  However, I tweeted that I was there watching, and Hinari liked the tweet, so despite her recent lament that all her old fans had stopped coming to see the group, hopefully she knows I am still there.  Oh, and I had coincidentally positioned myself where the groups were leaving the festival after their sets, running into both Dear Kiss and Junjou Afilia.  I stayed there through almost the entirety of Monogatari’s set waiting to see if  FES☆TIVE would come out, but they never did.  Eventually I had to get back to my friends at Oktoberfest, so I left.

Interestingly, it was Golden Week two years ago that I first saw KissBee in the exact same location I saw them on Tuesday, so that was an anniversary of sorts.  Getting to see FES☆TIVE was a bit of a bonus, and it made me somewhat sorry I hadn’t gone to see them in so long.  But perhaps I will find an event of theirs to see in the near future.

Coming up this weekend I plan on seeing KissBee again in Shinjuku, and then I will be rounding out Golden Week with another AKB48-group handshake event.  So more fun coming up, and I still need to do a Minyo Girls writeup.

CK in Tokyo

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