Phillter’s Christmas in Tokyo: Part IV

How are you liking Phillter’s idol experience, amigos? It makes me jealous — I know that I’ll never personally get to take a trip like this. And I know what the punchline — publishing tomorrow! — is going to be, and that makes me jealouser. Anyway, Part I and Part II and Part III are here if you need them.

December 27 brought with it what I thought was going to be a day of recuperation and relaxation. I had plans to go to the Odaiba Onsen Park in Tokyo with the friends who came to Tokyo with me (they are more into anime and partying, and so didn’t come to any of the shows I went to which is totally fine, everyone has their own interests). But after a day of shopping I took a second to look at the park’s tattoo policy, because I have tattoos.

Usually, tattooed persons are not allowed into the public baths in Japan. This history goes back a lot further than I care to explain here, but suffice to say that usually you are a foreigner first, and have tattoos second, so most of the time no one really cares that you have them. As long as they aren’t offensive and you don’t rub them in people’s faces you can get away with not covering them up in the baths. However, the policy for tattoos was very clearly spelled out on the bath’s website, even in English, so I thought it better to just not try. I’ve never been kicked out of somewhere, and I didn’t wanna start that now.

[Maniac: Amateur.]

So we all split up for the night to do our respective things. I went to twitter to see what shows were being advertised tonight on the idol-net, and remembered that Natsumi’s graduation from Disdol was tonight. Well, I now had time, and didn’t want to sit around doing nothing, so I decided to head to Zirco Tokyo in Kabuki-cho, one of the shadier parts of Shinjuku, and see what there was to see.

When I arrived at the venue there was still a lot of time left before any of the bands that I knew went on (Under Beasty was there as well as Disdol), so I settled in and listened to some of the acts I didn’t know. These included a few surprises:

Under Beasty came on following Tears. After listening to them for almost two hours the previous night, the 20 minute set just left me wanting more. But alas, there was no time for another one-man for them tonight.

Following their set, I went into the back room where the bar and merch tables were set up, congratulated them on a good set, bought a ticket for another picture and what felt like a rather lengthy conversation with Ai-tsun (I can’t resist her attitude and her laugh, ok? So sue me!). Since this was a much smaller show fan-wise for them than the one-man last night, I was able to talk to each of them for a small amount of time (a few sentences) before I felt like I was pushing my luck not having bought conversation tickets.

A tip for idol conversations: When time is up, they will signal to you that the conversation is over by waving and saying “bye-bye”. Now, this isn’t a chance to get your last words in, this is a very strong and formulaic way of saying, “You need to leave now, please.”

It took me a few times of going through the motions to get all of the little cues that everyone picks up at these shows and events, so if this helps just one person avoid awkwardly standing there after a conversation, I’ll be thrilled. Just take your stuff, say thanks and bye-bye, and back away from the table. This way everyone stays happy, and you don’t get any more awkward stares than you were already getting anyways.

After Love☆Cha was the main act: Disdol. Since this was Natsumi’s graduation show, glow sticks in her color (yellow) were passed out before the show. These were used to usher in the girls to the stage with a rousing cheer for Natsumi. They sang many songs that seemed to feature her, which was fitting since it would be her last show with them. I have to admit that I don’t know Disdol as well as I feel I should. I like the songs that I have heard, just never gave them a ton of attention before.

During their 40 minute set they stopped a few times to hear from members about when they first met Natsumi, and what Natsumi had for advice for them. We all took a knee during these stories (which grew rather lengthy at one point), before standing up for the final song of the night. Suddenly, the room was filled with yellow balloons, and between the balloons and the lights, it was a sea of yellow. All for the soon to be ex-member of Disdol.

After the final song everyone bowed and walked off stage, with Natsumi staying bowed the longest, bowing again halfway off stage, and genuinely looking like she never wanted to get off of that stage. But eventually she did, and I left to go get my things and head back to my hotel. On the way out I snapped a few shots of the congratulatory bouquets brought by fans and their promotion agency. They were monstrous, floor-to-ceiling balloon and flower arrangements in bright yellow, with notes wishing her luck on her future solo career.

Man, I didn’t get anything like that for my graduation!

With that, I left the venue to head to my hotel for the night, and rest up for the big show tomorrow. I was starting to feel a cold coming on, so I knew I would need whatever sleep I could get.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the biggest and easily the craziest show I’ve been to in Japan!

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