Day 1: Tokyo - Ginza & Kawasaki

Sunday, 6 July 2014

With the concert (ZAQ: First Live 2014) venue opening tonight at five o'clock we thought we'd try and have a bit of an easy day today and slept in until about 8am. 

We had a buffet breakfast at the hotel and then decided to walk to Ikebukuro and catch a train from there down to Ginza.

Land in Ginza is worth more than $100,000 per square metre and is known as high class shopping and entertainment district where you can find all the expensive designer brands. 

Between these shops however there are many more reasonably priced options and we planned to visit UNIQLO as I had went there last year (during a short trip) and found/bought some cool Japanese themed T-shirts. They were much better than the silly ones usually for sale at tourist traps in Japan and Kate wanted to buy some as well.

For some reason shops, in Japan don't open until late morning which is why we walked the one or two kilometres up to Ikebukuro from Mejiro. We also saved a bit on the train. Ikebukuro is another destination where there are many shops and we considered having a look here but as we arrived before the main opening time of 10:00 we ended up just getting the subway.

Upon arriving at Ginza on the other side of Tokyo it was still before 10:00 so most things were still shut. After wandering around we managed to arrive at UNIQLO right at 10:00 only to find that it didn't open until 11:00! Right as we were reading the sign a Japanese man also arrived and exclaimed "What! 11!"(jp) and repeated this to me in indignation.

We decided to have a look around the rest of the area and managed to find a department store. In Japan department stores usually have a floor at the bottom selling heaps of delicious foods- it's hard to describe but portions are small and you can buy as little as one item. Kate got a really delicious fig and custard pudding and I got some baum cake. I like baum cake but I've got to say that Kate's pudding was much more delicious! It was really good!

Eventually 11am came and we went over to UNIQLO.

We spent ages there!

The Ginza branch is one of their largest stores and I actually got completely separated and lost from Kate amongst the twelve floors.

I don't know why this is the only photo I took today
I ended up buying a new wardrobe of five or so new shirts and few pairs of pants and Kate also bought a few things.

After we were done shopping it was well past lunch time and we were both incredibly hungry. This actually worked out pretty well as it meant we could head back to our hotel to get ready and have a big late lunch/early dinner; so we wouldn't have to worry about being hungry tonight.

It can be hard for us to decide what to eat when we're really starving so we had a look to see if we could find our favourite chain restaurant Ōtoya. We'd actually seen one near our hotel last night and ended up deciding to just go there instead of hunting around for another.

It was really hot today as it was well into summer in Japan so I had a shower once we arrived back at the hotel and changed into some fresh clothes. It still wasn't quite yet time so we hung around a bit longer.
I was hoping the trains wouldn't be too crowded but unfortunately it was really packed inside and we had to stand for the whole forty minute journey to Kawasaki station. Some parts were really squishy!

As mentioned earlier we were seeing ZAQ: First Live 2014 at CLUB CITTA which is part of the LA CITTADELLA in Kawasaki. Kawasaki is technically a different city to Tokyo and is even in a different prefecture (Kanagawa) though it was swallowed by greater Tokyo many years ago.

On the way down to the venue we got to have quick look at the area and it was very interesting!

There were lots of cool shops, people busking/singing and even a big fountain that shot water around as part of a timed display.

We found CLUB CITTA without too much trouble and there was already a crowd of people outside standing in different lines. Our tickets were numbered and we were apparently going to go in by number though I couldn't work out what line to stand in. Eventually I ended up asking one of the staff members.

The reason I was confused was that although we were simply 199 and 200, there were several streams of tickets some of which also had letter prefix/suffixes.

Anyway, we really did go in by number order as each ticket was called out one by one!

This took ages, around an hour, even though there were not really that many people. 

Probably about 200-300 total. 

Also, about the crowd. It was mostly guys aged 20-30 years old and there were almost no girls in the lines that got to go in first, I think they were probably fan club tickets. In the more general line, which included us, there were a few more girls including some couples like us, though it was still mainly guys.

Anyway, we got called out towards the end and as we went in we paid another 500yen as a cover charge- probably to pay for the venue. With this we got to choose a drink from little bar near the entrance. The venue does sell alcoholic drinks but not for this show so I got a Calpis and Kate a sugar free Red Bull.

We were told to make sure to go to the toilet straight away by the person who sold us the ticket, and we did, though it didn't seem to be a big deal here.

On our way to the stage we walked past some stands selling merchandise and very expensive glow sticks! About $35 each!

Next there was a little room that had some lockers, seats and bins.

Inside the main room there was a dense crowd of people and a stage, we found some space at the back and before long a thinner crowd of people filled up behind us.

Right at the front there was a special "Ladies" area and said Kate could go stand there if she wanted, though she ended up staying with me- as did most other couples.

There was no warm-up band and ZAQ came out more or less on time after an intro by an alien voice (which she later said was her).

The concert was lots of fun and the songs really catchy and fun!

The crowd was really into it and we regretted not bringing glow sticks as everyone had at least one which they used to wave and beat in time to the music!

Some people were also doing some wotagei moves.

I didn't know all the songs and mainly knew her from Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! I was worried that she wouldn't sing Sparkling Daydream but that was definitely one of the main songs as people went nuts when it came!

Other songs from Chūnibyō included Monochrome Monster and Inside Identity.

ZAQ talked to the crowd from time to time between songs, some things I remember her saying as that the venue was a bit more like a live house, and that she originally never thought she would be singing anime songs as she was classically trained. Because of this a few songs she sung while playing slowly on a piano, one of these was the ED of Nononbiyori which was the show we were currently watching.
Kate bought the top left one

I had no idea ZAQ had written it!

After the last song everyone started chanting "Ankooru" which is "Encore" in Japanese. Larissa thought it was funny to hear this as it's from the English word and sounds English though I pointed out that as it's originally a French word we're probably saying it wrong as well.

The chanting went on for ages!

An encore was obviously planned as the lights stayed off, but it took some time and people were yelling "Encore"(j) for so long, over 10 minutes, it started to become really annoying/painful!

Eventually ZAQ came back on, introduced the band and sang a few more songs!

After the final ong the lights came on and everyone dutifully filed out.

On the way out Kate bought a ZAQ shirt from the merchandise table!

Also at Kawasaki station she got some mochi which became dinner when we arrived back at our hotel.

Tomorrow we'll be exploring more of Tokyo, including Kappabashi and Akihabara.

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