Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Kamakura Hiking and Yabusame Festival
Seeing as I was in Yokohama for the Lady Gaga concert anyway, I opted to stay at a hostel in the area and go hiking in Kamakura the day following the concert. Kamakura is a really famous tourist spot in Japan, especially for students. Pretty much all of mine have had at least one school trip to visit the many temples in the area and to get their pictures taken in front of a very large budda statue. Oddly enough, as I was contemplating what to do with my time in Kamakura, I received an email from the Tokyo Gaijin group about a Kamakura hike and festival day trip on the very day I would be there and signed up. Tokyo Gaijin is sort of a social club that hosts various events in and around the Tokyo area. I've gone on several trips with the group, including a ski trip to Yamagata and snowshoeing in Gunnma.

The day got off to a bit of a rough start. The instructions said to meet at the station exit and that there was only one. Not true. There were very much 2 exits and I decided to wait at the wrong one. Luckily, I wasn't the only one. There were 2 other girls there who were also part of the trip and working together we managed to figure out that there was another exit and found the rest of the group.

The hike ended up being pretty fast pace and in the end I sort of wish I had simply done my own thing. Because the end of the trip was watching the Yabusame Festival, a festival where archers on horseback test their skills firing at targets, we were on a tight time schedule. Because the group was so large, I think we weren't moving as fast as the guide wanted so time spend at temples had to be shortened. The hiking trail was also really muddy due to it having snowed the day before. My shoes and the bottom of my pants were caked with mud. I'm thankful that I didn't fall though like one member of the group as he spend the rest of the day with a huge mud stain on his ass and let's just say it didn't really look like mud..... I didn't mind having to rush at the temples though as I've gotten tired to seeing temples all the time, but I do wish we could have spend more time enjoying the hiking part rather than rushing to get to the next temple.

We stopped at 5 different temple during the tour, including one where you wash your money in order for it to double and the temple that houses the big budda statue. The last temple was where the archery competition was held. That was pretty interesting, but hard to watch to do there being so many spectators. After that, I headed back home and ended up on the same train as my friends I had gone to see the concert with which made the 3 hour train trip back home much more interesting.

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posted by am at 10:31 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Lady Gaga
Continuing with my concert adventures, I attend a Lady Gaga concert last weekend in Yokohama. Scored 4 tickets from my favorite ticket selling site for only a bit more than the face value of the tickets for me and some friends. We got pretty lucky because soon after I bought the tickets the prices increased and soon most were selling for more than double the face value cost. I was also extremely lucky to get 4 seats. Lucky as in I've only ever seen 4 ticket sets sold on that site maybe 3 times since I started using it.

Anyway, I hit up Yokohama a bit early and chilled in Chinatown before the concert with my friends. When we got to the concert the first thing we noticed was a bunch of cosplayers. They had set up a roped off section for those who dressed in costumes and people would like up and take pictures of them. Pretty interesting and there were plenty more people dressed up wandering around inside the arena as well. The most prominent fashion accessory of the day? A fake bow made of hair. So many people had one that, even though I think they look stupid, I still wanted one.

According to the tickets, the concert was set to start at 6pm, but having been in Japan for too long, I forgot that most western artist start with an opening band. So we had about an hour to wait before the 'for real' concert started. As I had no interest in the opening act, I headed for the goods line. Took pretty much a hour to get through it and, to be honest, the goods available were disappointing. Mostly T-shirts. I was hoping there would be a keychain or strap as they are staples at concerts here in Japan, but no go. I ended up just getting a pamphlet, which also ended up being a big disappointment because all it contained were a bunch of photos, no set list, no interviews, no words of any type whatsoever. Boo.

The concert however was great. Lady Gaga's music is very upbeat and dancable to which is why I like her in the first place. Seats were kinda crap and in the way, way back but they were cheap, so, yeah. I spent most of the concert singing the songs and jumping up and down. I was also greatly amussed when she did her MC parts as I am pretty sure a good 90% of the audience had no clue what she was saying. However, everyone would always yell after she said the words Japan or Tokyo (but that was funny too as the concert was NOT in Tokyo at all) so said words were liberally sprinkled throughout any talking parts.

I did get into a bit of trouble at one point though. During the concert a bunch of people were filming and taking pictures of the show. Like, pretty much everyone, include full on flash pictures. I didn't see any no photo signs or anything so this led me to assume that photos and filming were okay. Apparently not the case as I was yelled at by one of the security guys. However the security people must have been having an off day because I got the warning during the second to last song and had been filming and taking pictures throughout the show (along with everyone else).

Anyway, it was a great night with friends. At the time I got my tickets, I didn't really realize how popular Lady Gaga was. Apparently its really hard to find tickets for her shows in the States. Sorry to everyone I made jealous! Haha. My friends and I finished off the night by hitting up Bubbys, a New York style, limited time, restaurant. What's a limited time restaurant you ask? One that is only open for a year or so before it will close down. Probably explains why it was so packed because Japanese people love limited things way to much.

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posted by am at 10:01 PM | Permalink | 0 comments