Friday, 16 May 2008

Higashi ni Sugoi no Ryokou Monogatari - Day 1 - Part 2

I know it has been quite some time since we looked at the trip to Japan but I hope it will be worth it, since, today we tackle the second half of Day 1, ergo, the 28th of March and X-Japan's "Night of Destruction". However, be it a sadistic streak on my part or a slight mental obsession I have with order, we we will get there via the same route we took on our journey, tired and sleepless though we were, our eyes filled with newfound wonder.

Finally, on Japanese soil! The sign's Japanese
reads" "Miitingu Pointo".

The notorious Japanese vending machines...
No kiosques, no trashcans but there's more than
a couple of these babies every few tens of yards.

A Sakura tree near the airport, the first we saw
in Japan. It really gives you an odd feeling
after having seen it so many times
in anime and Japanese movies...

Tokyo Disneyland in the distance: inside
the yellow marker you can see Sleeping
Beauty's Castle.

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.

Though not 100% certain, this is probably the
115-meter Odaiba Ferris Wheel (in Tokyo
and probably, all of Japan, everything is sort
of bloown up in proportion, be it distance,
height or what have you, so it could be another
BIG but not quite so giant wheel as the one mentioned).

On the road to a little (and much-needed)
rest in our hotel (actually this was an almost 45
minute trajectory from the airport, crossing the
heavily industrial area of suburban Tokyo...).

Yes, this actually a police car! You are under arrest!

First image of everyday Tokyo.

A big (yes, there is also "huge") stone
and a man up for his early jog.

Shinagawa Prince Hotel! Finally!
This a seriously BIG hotel for
Western standards, comprised of 4
Towers, with 39 floors in each
of the high buildings, including
an Aquarium, Galaxy Express 999
ride, shops, internet, you-name-it!

However, we were not to get our much-needed rest just then, as the rooms needed another half-hour to be readied AND there was a bit of a problem with one of the card-keys but we were finally there, so we ground our teeth and bore it. Aside from being up for 36 hours (and counting), we had to get some rest, in order to take the girls to Tokyo Dome, get the reserved tickets etc. for the "Night of Destruction".

Bunnydragon, Usagi and Kyoshiro,
waaaay sleepless!

Usagi-chan, desperate in front of the
room door, waiting for their key to be
fixed (yes, it was THEIR key that
had a problem, hehehe!).

Nya-chan, Usagi-chan and Kame-chan: tired
but frisky! These are our girls!

Finally inside, for a bit of rest and (remote in

...well, you get the idea and I suppose there IS a
redeeming quality in watching your favorite
Japanese drama, as (and where) it is being broadcast,
instead of downloaded (Gokusen 2)...

...oh, and of course, the view
from our rooms (not that the girls
had much use for it in sight of
Kamenashi Kazuya - see previous

Well, we did get a spot of rest and took a mandatory bath (believe me, after roughly 24 hours on the road/air, YES it was mandatory) and got ready for the "Night of Destruction". Now, the devilish way in which we managed to secure some tickets for an X-Japan Reunion concert, taking place at the very date when we would make our life-changing journey, is near-unbelievable. I had been told that the X-Japan tickets had been sold out the very day when they became available (approximately 2 hours later) and there was a lottery being held by J-Rock Revolution, a site promoting modern Japanese music in the West, internationally, for the RIGHT to purchase their tickets online. With nothing to lose, I had entered my name in the lottery and really expecting nothing to happen... Surprise! Not that I really complain about it, but I am not a person who usually wins in lotteries of any sort and it seems that my luck has been building its strength for the monumental gasp it took to grant me access to the tickets. Now, do not get me wrong (especially you X-Japan trueblood fans): I like X-Japan but I am not DYING for them; with a limited number of tickets in hand and Bunnydragon, Kame and Nya "really, really REALLY" chopping their veins for a chance to watch X-Japan live, I decided to pass on the opportunity.

Now, I am not saying this as an example of my high moral, emotional or what-have-you standing but for an entirely different reason: the fact was that the tickets were registered to my name and passport number, so we had to get to Tokyo Dome all together, I had to get the tickets by showing the printed e-tickets and passport, then give them to the girls so they could get inside. On one hand, this gave the rest of us the perfect excuse to visit Tokyo Dome on that spectacular day, on the other hand, well... you will see further on... The concert was supposedly starting at 18:30 Local Time (hereby not mentioned again, we are on Japan time from now on), so naturally we would want to be there an hour earlier to get the tickets without rush, put the girls in line on time etc. Of course, that was because none of us really understood the full scale of the X-Japan phenomenon, none of us having lived it on their home ground... In fact, with various delays, we ended up there around 18:10.

An advertisement at the train station,
announcing the TV broadcast of a brand
new anime, Soul Eater. Priceless!

Interesting fact: the Japanese do not know their own commuting system. Agreed, it has at least 4 times the complexity of the French and English ones (see above) AND Tokyo and the suburbs have roughly the size of Greece but seriously, I was amazed by the level of ignorance concerning anything but their predetermined destinations. I believe that they have a set of destinations where they can get in 30 minutes tops, but have experienced first-hand their complete puzzlement about anything outside their routine. Asking, repeatedly, in Japanese, dozens of people, say, if a destination could be reached by the specific platform we are on, I got the following answers in this order (by the same person): "Yes, of course!" "Wait, no, this is the XXXX line." "Hmm, you know what? in fact I do not know, very sorry." Finally, we turned to the station (information desk/superintendent/master/whatever) and we finally got SOME directions, not always correct. This is one of the many, near-schizoid ambiguities I noticed in Japan: great commuting system, covering each and every area in more than one way and yet great lack of knowledge in its use by the locals. Thank heavens that our hotel was practically on top of a metro/train station (Shinagawa Station in fact).

This is a pachinko parlor, in effect a gambling hall
where you buy cases of small metallic balls ("pachinko",
from the Japanese "sound" for something small and
metallic falling down - "pachin") and drop them
inside gambling machines, whereby gaining (or,
you know, losing) more balls and then exchanging
them for money. It is a variation on the western chips
system, used for the equivalent of our slot

Yes, pachinko parlors are themed after popular
anime, more often than not (in this case, Neon
Genesis Evangelion).

Salary Men and executives after work.

On the road to Tokyo Dome, marmalade vans

...more subtle temptations. We are getting closer...

Closer still...

Yay! We're here!

Now, Tokyo Dome isn't just any old stadium with a capacity of 55000 people, oh no! It is in fact a multi-themed amusement-land, containing its own shopping district, arcades, pachinko parlors, restaurants, coffee-shops, a huge plaza and much more, all centered around the stadium proper. A note on the above picture: these two were not there for the concert, they just dress this way in their every-day lives. With that, a note on Japanese fashion: there ain't any, or rather, it's anything goes, ten times over with chocolate fondue, strawberries and sugar on top. To put it more simply: these two are rather conservative in their clothing...

...and now, what you've really beeen waiting for...

X-Japan Madness

People were predominantly cosplaying as
Hide, in all of his incarnations over the years...

...although there were also quite a few Toshis
(a rather faithful one here) and
Yoshikis scattered around.

Crossing aaaall the way to the other side
of the Tokyo Dome Plaza...

...we found something REALLY interesting,
besides X-Japan, where we could kill off time
while waiting for the girls! Note that I did not
find anything of the sort elsewhere, even
in Akihabara.

The members of J-Rock Revolution, amiable people
all and from every corner of the planet. This is
where I got the official tickets and where they
informed me that, with Greece, that made 42
countries from which people had come for
the concert. Fucking awesome! Thanks for
all the hard work guys and gals!

Now, this is a SAMPLE of the people waiting to get into
Tokyo Dome and yes, we had to weave in and out
in order to reach the J-Rock Revolution booth.
However, I must testify about the unbelievably civilized
manner in which all these fans were waiting to get
inside Tokyo Dome, never pushing, yelling or whatever.
On a funny (in retrospect) note, at this point we lost each
other and had to listen for the only voices yelling in Greek,
to get back together (oh, unless you own a 3G phone,
your cell won't work in Japan!).

The following pics are courtesy of Bunnydragon's cellphone and yes, she risked her life (well, not REALLY but you get the idea) in order to take them, right next to a security member!

The Opening (could be heard as far as 10 blocks away!)...

It must be noted that this concert was quite
eventful for Yoshiki (who kept wreaking havoc
on his drums, as well as himself) as well as
technically, resulting in quite a few breaks and
the concert ending well past 23:00, when it should
have ended at exactly 21:00!

Kame-chan and Nya-chan, finally


Bunnydragon-chan! Arigatou!

This concludes today's post but fear not, for soon, there is the upcoming Part 3, where you will see what happened at the end of the "Night of Destruction", as well as the first part of the Tokyo International Anime Fair!

Signing off,


Read Previous Part

P.S. For those reading locally, let me see no-one missing from tomorrow night's Ordre de Ciel Party, with Japan & Anime Party's Somnium in Tenebris and Mona Risa as guests, all the way from Salonika! You might even see me cosplaying (horror).


Anonymous said...

u no fair, ppl! i learned just today from usagi-doragon about tomorrow's cosplay an' my costume's not ready yet aaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggg

me no likey!!!

(me likey the pics tho...:) sugoi-sugoi)

Speedgrapher said...

Re sy, to exoume anakoinosei pandou, se myspace, forums, what-have you. Get out of depression bad girl and start looking around ye!

Arigatou fur ze comment though. Kissu kissu.

Dragonbunny said...

Fisika k i sinavlia itan monadika apires gefsis k xromata!!! :)
To na vlepis to agapimeno su iaponiko sigrotima LIVE!ine kati asilipto!
Lipame pu perimenate mesa stin vroxi k to krio emas ta trella, alla nomizo oti akoma k apo thn exo plevra tu Tokyo Dome i empiria prepi na itan apistefti!
Aloste ixes k kali parea!
Xerome pu evales tis photo pu evgala apo mese me kindino tis zohs mu :)xi xi
Kali evdomada filaraki, tha ta pume, postare ki alllllla please!
Dragonbunny h Bunnydragon!

Anonymous said...

Let's see... something just doesn't seem right... I know there were four tickets, cause I printed them. I know you did not go to the concert, cause I was there with you and usagi-chan the whole time... Where did the 4th ticket go?


Speedgrapher said...

Well, I never said anything about the number of tickets or indeed, how many people went in or out. I just said who were chopping their veins to go in.

Anonymous said...

yeah, right...

guess I did't read it right...

of cource, why would't you...


kyo said...

I am confused also...the point is ONLY that ONE of the BEST Groups EVER!!!! was performing LIVE at the same day we ARRIVED!!!!Who GAF who was inside or out side the point is THEY WERE INSIDE!!!....WE ARE X.....

Anonymous said...

Sorry for confusing you ^^ YOU can safely ignore my comments. As to who actually gives a fuck, he, it's more than obvious... He knows what I'm talking about, so chill...

This all takes place within a hypothetical conversation, where terms like objective, adult, even converstion it self could have a meaning, through the eyes of two small children...

gee, I'm starting to make absolutelly no sense, so I'd better take off...