Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Japan = SMAP

This is the only equation I know when the word Japan is mentioned.  I will not think of Japan without thinking of SMAP and most especially Kimura Takuya, my impossible dream.

So when SMAP announced their live tour this year, I did not hesitate to call my friend Vic and screamed "they have a concert!!!".  The year has been a hectic one and who cares if I will be doing a lot of twisting and turning to get myself over to Japan again.  As they say in Japan "Gambatte!".

So on Sept. 3, with just a limited amount of yen to my name (I just came back from China a week before), I flew to Tokyo.  The final destination is Osaka where Vic was waiting at our hotel.  Like I always said, Japan is the land of my soul and as soon as I got off the plane, it felt not like home but more like a familiar playground.  The first of my many train rides this trip was taking the Keisei line which will take me to central Tokyo in only 36 minutes!  I was met by Mayo, who I've known for 5 years and is my surrogate at the SMAP Fan Club.  She has warmly adopted me for the night at their Meguro ward home. 

As you see it's a fangirl's home.  Mayo loves Jerry the most. :D

On the morning of Sept 4, I went on my next train ride at the symbol of Japan's technology -> the Shinkansen or Bullet train!  It was my first time to ride the famous Nozomi-san.  As I sat on the train for the 2-hour ride, my excitement was so much that I thought I would break out in song  "you can take a little holiday in the sun, take it easy have some fun" hahaha!

I arrived at Osaka after a 2 1/2 hour ride.  As soon as I dumped my bags at Swissotel Nankai (http://www.swissotel.com/EN/Destinations/Japan/Swissotel%20Nankai/Hotel%20Home/Hotel%20Description), Vic and I immediately ran back out in the scorching sun and headed to our ultimate destination, the Osaka Kyocera Dome. We were awed as we approached the dome and realized its our 3rd dome concert (aside from Fukuoka Yahoo dome and Tokyo dome).  We excitedly went straight to the concert goods area and temporarily lost ourselves in the lines. 

The coveted concert goods stalls


The dome seats about 70,000 people
After a rather strict checking of our ticket source, we were escorted to the nose-bleed section equivalent to 7-storeys from the ground.  It was a comfortable section though as the seats were the special box seats during baseball games.  While waiting for everyone to get in, SMAP movie previews were being shown and their CMs.  Ahhhh!!!  Space Battleship Yamato!  Takuya's upcoming movie in December.  My early morning travel  caught up with me and I fell asleep.  I thought I was waking up to my alarm but realized the sound was a ticking clock on the screen.

The stage and arena.
When the dome was almost filled, a bunch of globe heads came out and mingled with the audience.  Some shook hands, did body bumps, hi-fives and hugs!  I've already read that SMAP was among these globe heads so it was so much more exciting for Vic and I to speculate who the members are.  And of course sour-graped that we were not the lucky ones that had this rare interaction.  This year, one of the nice touches to the concert was the CG effect on audience putting globe heads and faces of SMAP while we wait for the concert to start.  It kept us busy and laughing.

Who could that be?
Then an awesome video of SMAP as astronauts came out signalling the start of "We are SMAP Live 2010".  The opening song was This is Love, their newest single.  Followed by old favorites Shake, Gambarimashou, Dear Woman remixed in a Japanese guitar style.    I missed this!  An awesome production that is truly a manifestation of Japan's technology and attention to details.

The sea of blue and green lights left side of the dome.

 And the right...awesome!
I couldn't remember everything but another favorite is an arrangement of their old song Celery with an african tribal beat..oooh ganbatte iru yo yareru dake...  Tsuyoshi's solo followed then back to group number with Bang Bang Vacance flooding the arena with balloons.  And giving their Chinese fans more excitement with their upcoming Shanghai concerts, SMAP sang their biggest hit Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana in a chinese beat with matching costumes! 

The MC talk was funny too as the guys talked about many male fans this year.  Each member tried to call out the male audience who are their fans.  Next was Nakai's solo.  Vic and I were happy to see him back to his hip humping self doing his tribute Michael Jackson number.  We missed the energetic leader!  Goro's solo was cute because he had a lot of fan interaction with his virtual kisses on the big screen.  By the time Sotto Kyutto was being sung, I was again going back to lalaland. zzzzzz....

I was jerked awake by the beats of Dynamite that segued to Five Respect.  We missed that too!  We love the video playback of their old concert video clips.  Takuya at 18 was as charming as his now almost 38 year old self.  Then Shingo had his solo.  Vic and I had fits of laughter because we did not realize that the solo was in english!! hahaha!

The interlude for costume change were greetings of we are smap by Rain (yes the Korean star!), Lin Chiling (yes, Jerry Yan's ex!), Takeuchi Yuko and many more celebrities.  When they came out again, they were wearing what will be one of my favorite outfits they had in a concert - green trench coats.  They sang Lion Heart and OMG!  the mics stands were glowing orange! :D

When they sang Orenji on the second stage near us, I cried once again.  this song will always remind me that I made it again, that I was part of their music and I saw them live.  A nice new song called Love and Peace segued to Takuya's solo Kimi no ma made which was touching at the beginning and then became extremely sexy.  It's the white loose wifebeater I think.  That's the culprit!  And the toned upper arm muscles! LOL.
My body was hanging on the railings totally forgetting we were 7-storeys up!
There were many more special moments of the concert.  It was almost 4 hours long! There are Korean artists that I love but I don't know if they can do something like this and do it for almost 20 years!  While the superb technology of the finale was winding down, the 2 tops moment of Nakai and Takuya during Aoi Inazuma still lingered in my mind.  And as the final bows were being made, Takuya's silent "thank you" gave Vic and I the resolve to come back for the next ones until the finale of their singing lives.

Mata ne!
Otsukaresama deshita SMAP no minna-san!  It was a great show.  It was all worth it.

Photos were taken by my Blackberry 8900 declared useless for its original purpose while in Japan but was very, very handy up there in the nosebleed section where no one was watching to throw me out of the dome for taking photos.  The rest of the photos will be posted in my facebook page. :D

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Jampacked 2010

How do I squeeze into one post what 2010 has brought me so far?  I know visitors to my blog are disappointed that I have not updated but you will know why in the days to come. 


Five countries, six separate trips.  This coming Friday, 9/17, I will go on my 6th country and 7th trip.  Taipei, Singapore, Hongkong, Mainland China, Japan and Korea.


I still love the color and in fact has added tons more to the collection as I go on my travels.

Fangirl Pursuits

I still am and will always be a fangirl.  In fact, I have made a career out of it!  Not just as a consultant but as a small business owner.

Day Job

Yes, the bread and butter still exists.  The purple-themed office is still around.  The hours have turned from day to night though which is one of the reasons why my brain is already dead by the time 12 midnight comes around and I attempt to write a post. 


I still have my playmate with me through all of these new things.  He manages to nudge me out of bed everyday, feeds me and occasionally drives me to work while I catch some sleep.  I also found time to have great bonding moments with family which I will post about later too.


Gained more! But also lost one very good friend who I am missing especially when I think about the stuff we could have done together with the fangirl business.  Rest in peace Fran.

I will find the energy to post all about the above.  I have a new mantra you see ->  I AM SUPERWOMAN!  I AM SUPERWOMAN! I AM SUPERWOMAN! Hahaha!