Concert-Going in Japan
* As of 13 Oct 2015, I am locking comments on this post. This blog is first and foremost a travel blog. I really do not wish to answer any more questions on concerts in Japan either through comments or emails. Hope everyone understands. *
The singular reason why this trip was conceived – concert-going in Osaka. I have read such glowing reviews of concert-going in Japan I wanted to take the opportunity to attend one while I still have the desire to. It was not difficult picking a concert: Super Junior was going to perform at Kyocera Dome Osaka (京セラドーム大阪), and thus a trip was planned to coincide with the concert dates.
Securing The Concert Tickets
Securing the concert tickets was really the most tricky part since they are usually not available to people living out of Japan (i.e. you will need to have a mailing address in Japan). In fact, most of their tickets are typically made available to members of their Japanese fan clubs first, followed by a small number released to members of the public thereafter. I stand corrected but from what I understand (at least of Super Junior Japan concert tickets), concert-goers don’t get to choose their seats when they register to buy their tickets. Everyone in the venue pays the same price for their tickets, and everyone goes for balloting. That is to say that a person sitting on the first row pays the same price as another person who sits closest to the rooftop in Tokyo Dome. It’s not a system that will sit well with many people in other parts of the word, but it is one that works in Japan. And one that has worked for many years at that!
For someone who does not have a mailing address in Japan, is not a fan club member, doesn’t have friends or sources to help, the easiest way to source for a ticket is going through a professional ticketing agent who will do the legwork on your behalf. Bear in mind that buying tickets through them does not come cheap but they usually get the job done. There are many websites out there so just google and you should be able to find one relatively easily. Just remember to do some background work to ensure they are not scamming your money. And be mentally prepared that you may have to pay more than twice the original ticket price and still end up seating near the rooftop. It all boils down to luck, and is something nobody can ever guarantee. However, if you wish to be more or less assured that you get a better seat, simply pay more for a fan club as opposed to a general ticket.
There is another cheaper, but much riskier way to secure a ticket – wait till the tickets have been issued, then scour Twitter for ticket offers. For some reason, there were many tickets available for resale about a week before the concert – could be that some of them couldn’t attend the concert at the last minute, they found tickets with better seats and needed to dispose of the ones they were holding on to, or they were simply looking to profit from this right from the start. Through this method, I managed to source for a Day 1 ticket. It was not my intention to attend both days of the concert since my Day 2 concert bought with a ticketing agent cost more than twice the original price, but I just couldn’t let up the chance when I saw this person selling her ticket at the original price on Twitter. Again I have to emphasize that it was a risk I was willing to bear because I had to make payment through PayPal even before I received the ticket. Of course there are ways to tell if this person can be trusted or not: for a start she is very active on Twitter, and she has many friends who were willing to retweet her ticket resale offer so I take these all as telltale signs that she isn’t looking to scam me.
Now, a little more insight into how tickets are allocated following the purchase. Needless to say, fan club members tend to be assigned better seats most of the time. But everyone only receives the physical tickets (and know their exact seat locations) in their mail about 7-10 days before the actual concert day. That is why the ticketing agent will need your hotel address so they can courier the tickets over to you when you arrive in Japan. And this was also why I had to waste half a day (a glorious morning at that!) in the apartment waiting for both my tickets to reach me separately since I was not putting up at a hotel and hence did not have anyone to sign for my packages while I went sightseeing. To be honest, I gladly waited for the tickets – considering that the concert was a day away I felt more secured if I were in possession of my tickets.
Attending a Concert at Kyocera Dome Osaka
Kyocera Dome looks frighteningly big to me, considering that it has a capacity of 50,000 (as opposed to Singapore Indoor Stadium’s 8,000 for Super Show 5). Just looking at the interior seat map trying to locate the generation direction of my seats gave me a massive headache. 😆
Fortunately the entrances and the sections at the stadium were fairly clearly marked so locating my seats on both days did not cause me any grief. I was still very overwhelmed by the sheer cavernous interior that is the Kyocera Dome. Impressed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt then. And as the stadium got more filled by the minute, the wider my eyes went.
But absolutely nothing prepared me for what it would look like when the lights finally went out. Sure, I’ve seen pictures and have a general idea, but to be seated amongst the audience in the sea of blue was such an awesome feeling. Photography and videography were stricted prohibited during the concert so I’ve lifted an official picture off their FB page and loaded it up here so you have an idea of what I’m talking about.
I’ve attended concerts in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Seoul and now Osaka. Given how awesome the pictures of the Japan concerts looked, I was expecting a lot from the Osaka concerts. Perhaps a little too much. Out of the 5 countries I’d been to for concerts, I will segmentise and say that the concert-goers in Singapore, KL and Seoul can potentially end up behaving very unruly – leaving their seats and rushing to the front rows when the singers/idols got near. That’s alright if it doesn’t affect anyone else but in the process of rushing to the front, they push people off their seats and trample all over their belongings. In short, very inconsiderate behaviour that I am honestly not fond of.
Taipei and Osaka concert-goers tend to be a lot more courteous and well-mannered. But in terms of having fun and spontaniety, I will have to say that the Taipei concerts top my personal list. It’s not just me, actually. Apart from the Osaka concerts, the mister was with me for every other overseas concert, and he too agrees the Taipei concerts were the most enjoyable. No prizes for guessing where we will choose to fly to for concerts in the future.
It was very interesting, however, to watch the Japanese concert-goers. On the second day especially, I saw many of them wearing the official merchandise tee to the concert venue. Very fashionably cute, and I enjoyed watching how they matched the big tee to their own fashion styles. Of all the concert-goers I’d ever seen, the Japanese are probably the most creative and fashionable.
Oh yes, another little quirk about the Osaka concert – everyone had seats, even those in the moshpits. But every single one of them (even those not in the moshpits) chose to stand throughout the concert, sitting down only during the short intermissions when we watched videos while Super Junior went backstage to change their costumes. This is a culture I cannot comprehend and I wonder if that is the norm for all concerts in Japan. I was completely drained after standing for almost 4 hours, two nights in a row!
Having attended this concert in Osaka meant I could tick an item off my personal bucket list. Just one more concert to attend at Tokyo Dome (東京ドーム) for the other concert-related item on the list to be ticked off. Apparently Tokyo Dome is even bigger and more impressive than Kyocera Dome so apart from attending a concert, I also really want to watch a baseball match there. Good thing I now know how to secure tickets for concerts and games.