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Scottish guy goes traveling by himself to the other side of the world. What could possibly go wrong?


 
As many of you have probably figured out by now (because I’m about as subtle as a brick through your front window), I’m finally making the pilgrimage to the holy land…or whatever all you weebs call Tokyo these days. I’ll be there from November 10th and I’m flying back home on the 25th, so pretty much two weeks. I’m staying somewhere in Shinjuku, and that’s as specific as I’m going to get on that front because I don’t want any of you crazy fuckers hunting me down so you can wear my skin as a suit.

So I’m just writing this piece to brag or whatever right? Well, no actually. I figured you guys might be getting a bit sick of constant reviews and would appreciate something different for a change. This will hopefully also serve as an advanced warning that the site might not be as active as it usually is this November. More importantly than that though, I honestly have very little clue of what the fuck I’m doing so maybe some of you Japan experts who are reading this can provide me with some tips or something.

I’m a pretty simple guy when it comes down to it. My main interests are music and professional wrestling, two things that Japan seems to have quite a bit of. The wrestling side of things I think I have pretty well covered thanks to some other online acquaintances I have (yeah, I actually do have other friends) so I’m not too worried about that. It’s the music side of things, as well as some other stuff that I’m going in rather blind on.

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I basically have a list of musical acts I wouldn’t mind seeing, that’s the easy part I guess. I don’t really know how to go about getting tickets for stuff, especially if I’m not in the country before a show sells out or whatever. I understand that there’s ticket machines at most major convenience stores and resellers are also a thing, but if there’s any other stuff I should know about the process then I would really appreciate the heads up. What’s that whole business with drink coupons too?

Apart from music and pro wrestling, I don’t really have anything else planned out right now. I suppose that might be for the best, but I kinda feel like I should probably have some other stuff to do. The typical tourist spots don’t really interest me too much and I already know most of them, so I guess maybe what I’m asking is if there’s any cool places to go that people might not be as familiar with. I sound like a total hipster right now, but if I’m going to a foreign country I’d rather see something that you can’t easily look up on Google Images.

I’d imagine I’ll also be doing a bit of shopping while I’m over there. Akihabara is a given of course, and I’m definitely going to be hitting up places like Tower Records and Disk Union because I’m hopelessly addicted to music over pretty much anything else in my life. Suggestions of cool record stores or places to check out in Akihabara would be appreciated greatly. Honestly, if there’s any cool stores in the greater Tokyo area and I can get to them by train, hook me up with the details.

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Naturally I have every intention of writing some content for the site while I’m in Tokyo. It’s what all the rich kids do when they go a dozen times a year, so when in Rome…err, Tokyo right? Chances are I’m going to have some time where I’ll be short of stuff to do so if anyone wants me to check something out and maybe write about it then I’m more than up for that. As long as you’re not trying to get me to go to a soapland or something. Keep your suggestions classy.

Like I said in the beginning of this blog thingy, I really don’t have any idea what I’m doing. The plan currently is to just get on a plane and see what happens. I’m sure there are people reading this who think that’s insane, but if I draw up a super detailed itinerary then I’ll just stress out about having to do certain things at certain times. At the ripe old age of (almost) 25, I’ve discovered that it’s much easier to just go with the flow.

I’ll probably write a follow-up to this if anyone actually responds with helpful suggestions or advice. Honestly, if you have any advice about any aspect of visiting Tokyo (rail passes, etiquette, food, etc) I’d be extremely grateful if you’d share it with me in the comments of this post. Help me not end up dead in a back alley somewhere yeah?

3 months to go.

About The Author

Just some bam with a keyboard whose opinions you shouldn’t take at all seriously.

  • Mike

    It has begun! You will enjoy it and most things will be a LOT easier than you think. If you’re anything like me, before I went I was terrified I’d miss all my concerts and not get into anything, but it all went well. The one thing I had to do that helped immensely was break out of my shyness and just make mistakes and ask people for help. I quickly learned that Japanese people are, by American standards, enormously accommodating and helpful. Fellow fans are your friend.

    “What’s that whole business with drink coupons too?”

    Basically be ready to shell out 500 yen when you go through the ticket line for either a drink, or a token for a drink. Pretty much every live does this. Some even include it in the ticket price and hand out a token or drink as you go in. Some venues have booze, some just have cokes and water.

    I’m sure we’ll have many discussions leading up to the main event. πŸ™‚

  • Tobi (γƒˆγƒ“)

    You will find it rather easy going to live shows there, even though 99% of people there won’t be able to speak English (Do Scots by the way?)
    Just remember the basics:
    – show ticket
    – Pay for drink ticket (prepare money before to not hold up the line. There are occasions where you have to pay 600 Β₯ instead of 500.)
    – If several groups are performing that day, you have to name your favourite group.

    You should try to use online reservations for tickets. This will reduce the entry fee you have to pay at the venue. Groups who offer these are for example Bellring Girls Heart, JyuJyu or Oyasumi Hologram. By the way, did you get your One Man ticket for OyaHolo yet?

    • Garry MacKenzie

      We Scots do speak English, although some would argue otherwise. Thanks for the info, it really helps out. Haven’t got the OyaHolo ticket yet, but I’m in the process of getting it and a couple other tickets for some stuff I want to see. Should hopefully be sorted out by next week.

  • Tobi (γƒˆγƒ“)

    Now I have some time to comment some further.

    Do you have a wifi SIM for Japan? It is required keeping in touch with Twitter to not miss out on announcements form idol groups (Change in plans, Time of merchandise sale,…) πŸ˜‰ It is also useful in case you get lost or want to use an real-time-app for the metro/train-connections.
    Remember that trains only run until midnight. A ride from one side to the other of Inner Tokyo takes approx. 45 minutes. Take that into account. But don’t worry: Most shows finish in time because of that fact (and idols mostly take the subway as well).

    You should also get yourself an IC-Card, like SUICA. You can get it on train station at Narita airport at the JR counter. It is the magnetic card you can easily reload with money on any train station. It automatically drives the fare from the station, without the hassle of buying a new ticket every time. You can also use it for shopping in the small supermarkets and therefore avoid change money (You will come to hate the 1 Yen coins). Additional fact: VAT isn’t priced out in Japan. So if something is listed with 100 Yen f.e. It will cost you 108 Yen.

    As for places to visit, you should nevertheless go to Odaiba once (the place where TIF was located). I find the area very nice and it has also a lot of shopping and eating locations. Take the Yurikamone Line from Shimbashi. You will LOVE the train ride, especially at night.
    Otherwise I like your take on things and that you don’t plan anything. That is the only decent way for traveling and actually makes you enjoy the moment there. Not sure about any of your tastes. But MAYBE you like the area of Jiyugaoka. It is not far from Shibuya, but has the relaxed feeling of a small town. You could also go for Yutenji and eat in a restaurant run by Bellring Girls Heart ex-member Yuuka πŸ˜‰
    As for record stores with vinyl, I only know a specific HMV in Shibuya that focusses on vinyl. It also has a big Tower Records, so you should check the area out anyway.
    Also if the weather is the same as last years, Tokyo will be rather warm in comparison to European standards, with temperatures easily surpassing 20 degrees at day time.

    You have PASSPO’s outdoor live on 19.11. in your schedule?
    Otherwise for ticket purchases you can try to handle the Loppi machines at LAWSON’S, as many artists will sell there tickets over this platform and provide infos on the L-Code. Don’t worry. It is easier than it looks. Although all in Japanese, it is always the same procedure. Here you can find a nice guide. Just learn the hiragana for your name, but don’t forget to put a space between last name and first name. https://templejapan.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/l-is-for-lawson-loppi-and-love/

    If you have any questions, feel free to write me. Me too will be in Tokyo in the time frame of 27.10. to 21.11. So probably will be able to help out. Anyway that is all that I could think of right now. Hope it is of any use.

    • Garry MacKenzie

      Still need to sort out the data plan for the trip. By the sounds of things I take it you recommend SIM over pocket wifi then? Any particular companies you would recommend?

      Can you maybe explain a bit more the differences between SUICA and IC-Card?

      As for my idol show schedule, currently I have Negicco on the 12th, OyaHolo on the 16th and Passpo on the 19th as things I’m definitely trying to go to, as long as my ticket contact comes through for me. Also looking at Gang Parade on the 13th, but not as sure about that one.

      Thanks for the tips on places to go, etc. I’ll probably try to plan things a little more…properly as the time gets nearer. Definitely making notes though.

      • Tobi (γƒˆγƒ“)

        Hm, I tried out both. Mobile Router have the advantage of being shared by several people and you don’t have to change any settings on your phone.
        Disadvantage though you need to have it near you to use internet. This I found very uncomfy during longer idol lives, if you want to rest somewhere far away from your luggage.
        I therefore decided to use a SIM for my phone now, as I use it for internet and social media only anyway.
        I always ordered via CDJapan. They have a service of either pick up at the airport or you can let it send them to your hotel.
        About other companies I have no experience. Basically you should be fine with either of them. Just take attention of the time frame and the Data limit. I heard that with some provider you have to phone the company to activate the SIM. The shop will do that for you in most cases, but I never dared to find out.

        SUICA is one of the few IC-Cards. The one I use and that I know is also working outside Tokyo. There are also Passmo and the like, but no idea about the differences.

        As naming places to see is difficult I can name you places you should NOT put in your schedule of options:
        – Emperor’s Palace (only if you want to take a look at the Budokan, that is near to it)
        – Ginza (long street with lots of posh shopping opportunities)

        As you are not used to idol fan behaviour, I would recommend you to watch a show first from the sideline or back. Depends on the group though and your pain limit πŸ˜‰
        Btw, have you already decided if you take part in idol events? (cheki shoot, handshake,…)

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