Japan 2013: We came, We saw, and We can’t feel our lower extremities

Narita Airport

Hopefully you were following the live blog as I documented our journey over the past couple of weeks. If not, I suggest you give that a read first before continuing here.

Keisei Skyliner Ticket

All done? Okay, let’s focus on the idol related stuff first. If you think you are some bad ass master wota who knows all there is to know you are delusional. You, me & everyone else who doesn’t live in Japan are rookies compared to the natives who are exposed to idols every waking moment of their lives. I don’t mean to be a jerk but it’s true once you see idols and their fans in their homeland. Once you’ve been on their home turf it makes all those pity appearances at anime conventions and the like seem rather inconsequential.

If you don’t believe me, get your ass over to Japan & see it for yourself. I’ve written guides on how to plan for these things, it’s up to you to decide to take some of my advice. Should you be lucky enough to attend an idol related event the consider yourself fortunate. A lot of locals & maybe your own friends within the fandom would kill to be in your place. Just leave your piss poor attitude at home & go to whatever you get with an open mind.

SKE48 Concert Ticket


It’s not easy to get tickets to see the concerts of the more popular acts such as those from AKS, Johnny’s, EXILE or even Hello! Project. If you’re into indie idols it’s even harder unless you have the proper resources and/or connections or are willing to pay the higher than average reseller prices. If you luck out on anything be happy about it & go with the flow.

Nagoya Dome Crowd

Also expect to wait in line for a significant amount of time when you attend any idol related event. Yes it sucks and your legs, calves, ankles & feet will scream at you in pain; but in the end it’s worth it if you get a handshake, first dibs at photo cards or whatever the hell you are lining up for. If you don’t like lining up? Too bad, suck it up princess. It’s all part of the game & it’s usually the only option when you choose to participate.

Still don’t like the idea of lining up? Then don’t plan to attend idol events when you go to Japan. That way you have no one to blame but yourself when you bitch about missing out on something.

AnDare Lineup
Try to spot Hiro

That’s about all I have to say about idol related stuff. Now on to more general observations. How about the train? It’s the way to travel & we certainly did a lot of train hopping. Google Maps is a handy tool to help navigate the maze of different lines that are the train system. When you walk in any train station you may notice that everyone is walking diagonally. This really sucks if you’re used to walking in a straight line as you will bump into a lot of people or get cock blocked by the plethora of elderly as you try to reach your destination.

As you stay out later into the evening you may notice that certain train stations get very busy. Akihabara was one such station. If you ever want to experience the joy of being pushed into a train & packed like a sardine then by all means hop aboard when the mad rush stampedes in. It’s actually kind of funny when it happens, unless you are claustrophobic. In that case wait for the next train to arrive.

Getting out of the train requires some brute force. I knocked down a young girl on my way out. It’s expected since all of Japan are trying to get on the same train at once. Collateral damage will happen. A warning if you do get squeezed into a train & you are a male. Try to keep both hands up for fear of some random woman calling you a pervert for brushing up against her or something.

The only thing I didn’t like about the train system is that it’s a fairly shitty way of getting around when you have a lot of luggage. The Keisei Skyliner & Shinkansen are great. There are places to store your bags. The regular train? Not so much. In fact it’s quite the chore to get on the train with any large bag or assortment of bags. Very few stations have elevators & while most have escalators they end up taking you in the wrong direction.

That means you have to drag your luggage around on the stairs. And if you got a lot of bags or some heavy ones it sucks. It’s quite the work out if that is any benefit. The point is pack light & if you buy a lot of shit mail it home. There’s a small expense for mailing home but do it & save yourself the unnecessary agony. Or go baller & take a limo bus or taxi to Narita or Haneda & have comfort in the fact you won’t have to carry your luggage until you get into the airport.


About Greg 1001 Articles
Greg is the creator, administrator, editor, code monkey, overlord and general jack of all trades at Selective Hearing. He can be found lurking among the overseas Asian pop fandom and bumming around Japan every year for some reason or another.