While September was a bit rough at times, I had two very exciting things coming in early October to look forward to.
For those that know me in the slightest, they know that there are a few things that I am insanely passionate about: Sailor Moon and Japanese Music. So when I got the chance to attend events I have only been dreaming about since I was 15? Oh man, you better believe that I took those chances.
My love for Sailor Moon started when I was a kid, watching it on TV when I was about 5 or 6. It stopped airing on TV and I mostly forgot about it for a while, until I started getting back into it thanks to YouTube when I was about 14 or so. I still liked it in the interim, but there wasn't a lot of information about it at my fingertips (that I knew about) and I had no way of re-watching it, except for the few VHS tapes that I had of random episodes. Once I got a hold of YouTube, and got a grip on using the internet in general, all hell broke loose. I spent my spring break one year watching all 200 episodes with subtitles, read all the manga, and soon I also found PGSM and the Musicals through various forums and fan sites.
Since watching the musicals, I've always wanted to see one. But, sadly they were discontinued in the early 2000s and I was certain they would never be back.
But then the 20th anniversary happened, and for the past three years they have done new musicals. I've seen recordings, but I still desperately wanted to see one live. And I got my chance this year! A friend was getting tickets and asked if I wanted to join her. Up until this point I had wanted to go but wasn't sure when and who I would go with, or if I would go alone. So I joined her and one other JET.
It was truly amazing. I had heard that the singing wasn't so good, and these actresses have been hit and miss in the recordings I've seen, but the show I went to was really good. The story itself was great - the dancing and technical aspects were also fantastic. At the end they sang Moonlight Densetsu and all the audience joined in. It was magical.
Flowers for Naoko (creator of Sailor Moon) and her husband (also a manga artist)
All the goodies I got. Would have gotten more but I was poor...
The second exciting thing was attending my first concert in Japan. And it wasn't just any concert. I was able to attend an Ayumi Hamasaki concert - a special fan club show at that!
I started liking Ayu when I was in grade 9 in high school. There was a Japanese exchange student I got to know, and she showed me a CD of hers. It was my first real dive into Japanese music, aside from bits and pieces I had heard on TV or in the few anime I watched. But I fell in love with Ayumi and I've been a big fan ever since. Last year she opened her fan club up worldwide and I finally got to join. And literately days after my arrival I got an email saying that the lottery was open to apply for a ticket to her special fan club concert/tour.
Lots of artists here use a lottery system for concert and show tickets. The basic idea is that you select a show you want, enter your name for however many tickets you want (usually a limit of 2-5), and then if you get selected a month or so later, then you can buy the ticket.
So I entered the lottery, and crossed my fingers. Sure enough, I was able to get tickets to a show in Osaka!
I went alone, because at the time of entering the lottery, I didn't want to select multiple tickets and be stuck buying them, and I wasn't even settled in Kobe yet so I had no idea if anyone would have wanted to join me.
It turned out ok though - because I was an "overseas" fan that won the lottery, I got amazing entry number (no seats, just entry order #s based off the lottery) and I was grouped with other foreigners whom I chatted with a bunch. We ended up about two rows from the stage, which was pretty close once everyone squished forward.
Seeing Ayumi live, in such an intimate setting, was amazing. It was 100x a much more amazing experience than the Sailor Moon musical was. She laughed, joked, chatted, and cried with us. She talked to the audience like we were all friends just hanging out. She sang amazingly, and the set-list included a lot of my favorites.
This picture was actually taken by Ayu's STAFF and posted on the tour blog!
So that was the start of October! I got to see two shows that I've dreamed of seeing since High School. It was the best birthday present to myself that I could ask for.