Monday, December 7, 2009
Arashi! Arashi! For Dream!
My j-boy band obsession is coming along quite nicely. After a summer full of KAT-TUN concerts I decided to switch it up in winter and try out an Arashi concert instead. Arashi (aka. Storm) consists of 5 members: Mastumoto Jun, Sakurai Sho, Ninomiya Kazunari, Ohno Satoshi, and Aiba Masaki. While I prefer KAT-TUN's music over Arashi's, I like Arashi as a group better. They all seem to get along and have a nerdy/fun sort of image. I'm also a big fan of their dramas. Particularly those starting MatsuJun and Ohno. Good stuff.

Anyway, this year is Arashi's 10th year anniversary and thus they have been everywhere. On TV, in magazines, and all over the radio. They are the preferred band of pretty much every female student I teach and are considered the most popular band in Japan right now. In fact, I just watched a show last night that was recapping the most popular songs and albums from 2009 and Arashi was at the top of both lists.

I'm sure you can imagine how difficult tickets to this show would be to get. Arashi is a Johnny's band just like KAT-TUN so only those in the fan club can apply for the lottery to get tickets. I am in KAT-TUN's fan club and managed to snag tickets that way, but I am not part of Arashi's and didn't really have an interest in them until after the balloting was complete. Thus, my only option left was the blackmarket. And boy was I shocked when I started to looking for a ticket. For KAT-TUN you could get a fairly blah ticket for around the $150 mark. For arena level they usually started around $300-400. For some of the worst seats in the Tokyo Dome the starting price for an Arashi ticket was a whopping $500. Arena level? Try $2,000 plus. And no, that's not a typo.

I knew 2 other ALTs in my area who also wanted to try and get tickets as well so we made plans to try our luck the day of the show. I also wanted to pick up some concert goods even if we didn't manage to find tickets. However, I was worried that as a group of 3 we wouldn't be able to find anything or get stuck in an awkward, we could only find 2 tickets, situation. So I kept checking all the ticket selling sites and eventually bought a pair of tickets for $400 a piece. It was the best price I saw listed from the time I started looking till the day the concert started. I talked to the two other girls to see if they wanted the other ticket and if so, who would get it and decided I would sell it if they weren't interested. One of them ended up taking the ticket, but I probably could have sold it and made some money. But, it was nice to help out a friend and I was looking forward to actually sitting with someone I knew rather than a bunch of strangers.

The day before the concert was absolute crap. Pouring rain from the morning till the evening. Luckily, the day of the concert was gorgeous. I got into Tokyo a bit later than I wanted, but I started off by hitting up the goods shop. I walked away with a concert program, a bag, an Ohno uchiwa, a notebook, and pic sets of Ohno and Aiba. I really wanted one of the charms they were selling, but by the time I arrived they were sold out. Then I met up with Katrina, the girl who bought my extra ticket. She had spent the morning with Jennie who was still trying to get one. I was worried that she might not be able to given that there was a literal sea of girls with 'I want a ticket' signs. Together, we headed to Shinjuku for lunch and ice cream and got back to the Dome about 20min before the start of the concert. During this time we received many updates about Jennie's ticket finding exploits.

One thing to note about finding tickets the day of is that you can pretty much guaranteed to find one. It's really just a matter of how much you'll pay for it. There are always shady yakuza looking guys who have several to sell, but they were wanting $1,000 dollars for a crappy seat so Jennie had to pass. She also had someone approach her and told her to go to some shady host club to meet up with a woman who was selling a ticket. That was a no go to. She was approached several times and eventually ended up with a ticket in the same row as us, just on the other side of the Dome, for $500 which, while expensive, was the same price that most were selling for online before the show. I was actually surprised by how many offers for tickets she got. I wasn't expecting anyone to approach her, but apparently the other J-girls around her were actually getting jealous with how many people offered her tickets. Guess it helps to have blond hair and blue eyes. But, I also suspect those j-girls wouldn't have paid anywhere near what she did to buy the ticket. Ticket sellers are pretty smart. They know the gaijin will probably pay more than most and take full advantage....the bastards.

Anyway, the concert was amazing! When we got to the dome, we snapped some pics and headed to our seats. Normally I'd remember to stop by the 7-11 to pick up some drinks and snacks but I forgot this time. I ended up getting a really expensive orange juice box and Katrina got a soda and some type of potato snack. Our seats were pretty far back, but not too terrible or anything. I managed a quick and crappy shot of the stage, but it really wasn't much to look at.

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