The excitement of day 1 of the AKB48 Tokyo Dome concerts had left some rather significant battle bruises on my poor feet. I was in a lot of pain and while I was scheduled to see Station again in Odaiba I was unable to walk properly because my feet were so sore.
Instead I opted to stay back at the hotel and rest up a bit until the soreness subsided. By about 1 PM I was feeling well enough to go out and meet everyone at Odaiba for what I was told was an indie idol festival.
On the way to Odaiba I made a pit stop in Akihabara to pick up a DVD parody of AKB48. I believe I posted a picture of it in one of the earlier recaps so if you know what that is then you know what kind of entertainment that is.
Then on to Odaiba, which was about a 30-minute set of train, rides on various lines. When I got to the outside of Tokyo Transport station all I saw was a large concrete jungle with plenty of empty space. There were some bus stops on the side and vending machines all over the place.
Not exactly what I was expecting to be honest. I could see the Driver City, Palette Town and Mega Web buildings in the distance. I called up Dave to let him know I had arrived and within a few minutes he & Anthony came and took me to the venue of the festival.
It was inside the Mega Web building next to a car show. Inside I could hear an idol group doing their thing. I had no idea who they were but they were definitely singing the standard idol formula music. Before heading to that side of the building I was guided to a Pokemon car. The thing looked pretty cool so I snapped a few pics with my rental phone.
We moved to just outside the car show to a waiting area across from the stage where some idol group was performing. We were there to se BiS (Brand New Idol Society) who were set to perform last. Anthony informed me that I could get a handshake and photo ops with the group. All I had to do was buy 6 CD singles for PPCC.
And that’s exactly what I did. That meant after the mini-concert was over I got to cycle the line 7 times. The things I do for idols. Once whatever group was ahead of BiS was close to being done we all took seats near the front and to the side. Anthony warned us that the fans of this group were a bit rowdy so it was best to keep out of the way.
We had no idea what he meant but we found out soon enough. Once seated Ahmed noticed one of the girls on stage was pretty hot. A dude in the crowd said she was 25 and we considered her “safe” as most idols are not that age and those that are usually retire. And yes, she was very hot.
Anyway, once whatever that group was finished their fan service it was time for BiS. They look like and idol group but their music is much more heavy and rock oriented. What surprised right away is one of the members started doing that whole scream thing where there are all those guttural voice noises.
Their songs are really quite good and I was digging what I was seeing and hearing. Now we all know that all idol groups have their own fan dances and chants and BiS is no different. Thing is, their fans take this shit to another level. I mentioned earlier that Anthony warned us about this very fact.
Because all of a sudden during the second song there was a bum rush to the stage with people knocking over chairs and each other to get to the front. We sat there in amazement as this happened over and over with the fans getting more competitive as the show continued.
Now I thought they were supposed to be moshing in the back where they were all standing but nope. Time and time again they rushed the stage. When one of the members would hold out her microphone to the crowd people would run up to it and fight to see who would get to sing the next line.
It was nuts but it made the show so much more entertaining and in the end I felt I definitely will investigate the BiS discography when I get back home. It also helped that one of their members was drop dead gorgeous as well. Whoever the one in the light green was. Sorry, I suck at matching names to faces when it comes to groups new to me.
After their set a give away where they played janken to find out who would get signed merchandise. Then there was the whole ticketing thing where I cycled the line over again. I didn’t know what to say during the handshake part so I just winged it with mostly successful results.
A lot of the members saw my shirt and kept screaming out “Sashihara!” as I came up to them. Idols being fans of another idol is not so strange and it became an advantage in the photo op line. I had no clue what kind of poses to do. Some of the girls came up with ones to do like “Peace” or “Heart”
While others like the really pretty one wanted to do the Sasshi pose on my shirt. Of course I managed to sneak in a “Gets” and well… A special pose at the end. BiS are much like Station. Really cool chicks. They might have an alternative or strange vibe to their idol-ness but it makes them stand out.
After seeing them perform and meeting the members in person I have a greater appreciation of BiS.
When that was done it was off to Shibuya for some dinner. When we arrived at the Hachiko exit there was some sort of demonstration going on and the place was extremely crowded. I do recall from my last trip that Friday night was not exactly the best time to go but whatever. After taking pics of whatever was going on we made our way the giant crossing that was formerly known as Center-gai. Ahmed informed me that it as renamed as to “Basketball Street” due to some deal with the NBA.
He pointed out that the street sign was changed as well. Damn that sucks. Mass marketing and branding ruin another iconic landmark.
Oh well. Eventually we found a place called Mr. Kebab. It was run by a couple of Turkish ex-pats. It was affordable compared to some of the baller places we’ve been going to in comparison.
Now for the problem I encountered at this place. The narrow and winding stairs are a bitch for my bad knee. I have some shit balance on my left side and given the crazy heat & my weakened state from glistening like an idol I wasn’t exactly confident I would even make it up the stairs.
But I slowly did and survived to make it to my seat. Mr. Kebab makes some good food. After doing a short round of Shibuya it was off to Akihabara and Backstage Pass.
For those who are unaware Backstage Pass is the maid café associated with our overlord and master Tsunku. I am very wary of anything that Tsunku has a hand in these days but I have to say this place was pretty damn cool.
First off, cute girls come up and greet you at the fricking elevator. Two, it was packed full of people. There were so many people that we had to be broken up into two groups. So we kept the native Japanese speakers at each table in case. I ended up with Dave and Anthony.
In order to maximize space we were seated with some other dudes. It wasn’t uncomfortable or anything, but it was kind of strange to compared to what I’m used to in Canada. You usually have to wait for people to clear out then you get a seat. I guess stuff works different in a maid café.
Anyway, we were seated in the stage area where there were 2 maids singing classic Hello! Project songs. While this was going on maids would come up to your table and chat up the customers. You know, how a regular maid café works.
The difference with this one is that you are a producer and the girls are artists. The girls who manage to corrupt you gain your vote and get a better opportunity to be part of the stage performances, single releases and videos. In essence, you are acting as Tsunku’s leathery hand deciding the fate of the girls under your stead.
Anyway, even though I had trepidation about Backstage Pass I was very happy that I went. The talent is actually very top notch with only a few rough ones in the bunch. Also, many of the girls sing and dance better than most Morning Musume auditioners, why no one pulls from this pool of talent is beyond me.
Well Backstage Pass is it’s own group so perhaps there’s no need to steal talent from them to fill in the UFA ranks.
In the end this café was pretty fun and I wouldn’t mind going back again before I leave. After the antics of Backstage Pass it was back to the hotel to rest up for AKB48’s final Tokyo Dome concert.