I didn’t spend Valentine’s Day weekend with Mr. J, but rather hopped a bus to Tokyo with some friends to catch a two-day reunion concert of one of my favorite bands that disbanded several years ago. So after giving him his chocolate that morning, off I went!
Little did I know I would be reuniting with some gals I used to run around with 5-10 years ago, too! It was a really fun weekend filled with adventure, great people, old visual kei (Japan’s version of glam rock) throwbacks, and lots goods/cosplayers. What’s more awesome than that?
After our bus pulled into Shibuya Mark City, my friend B and I got off and stopped in for lunch at Bikini Tapa. It’s located right by the bus terminal exit. The place is swanky and they do a great paella or estofado (stewed beef in demi glace sauce) lunch set if you’re hungry, but also offer a variety of delicious tapas of you’re just looking for something light. It really hit the spot!
Then B wanted to visit Mandarake in Shibuya, which I had no trouble navigating us to due to the number of times I’ve been dragged there with friends for their gay doujin (fan made comic) shopping needs. Mandarake sells all kinds of new and used items for vintage-current anime, manga, and idols. It’s the place to go for otaku/wota (anime and manga/idol nerds), and is located in the second basement of the building complex that also houses Animate and a nom paiyaki (pie + taiyaki) cafe on the ground floor.
From there we headed over to Oimachi, where we had reserved adjoining singles at the Ours Inn Hankyu. Since we were only paying a basic rate of like 6,700 yen ($67 USD) each for a weekend/couples day for a room and buffet, I really wasn’t expecting much but it was quite nice! They gave us each complementary V-Day chocolate and early check-in was not a problem. They were also willing to hold our luggage the next day after checkout and let us come back later that night after the concert to pick it up on our way home. The breakfast buffet wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but the variety was good and the staff were all friendly and pleasant.
If you plan on spending the weekend in the Odaiba/Tokyo Teleport/Shin Kiba/Disney Resort area, I definitely recommend booking a room here if you can. It’s also good if you need a decent hotel 30 minutes and a straight train shot away to Haneda. The location/value really can’t be beat. It’s situated right in front of Oimachi Station, and there’s a number of facilities built in to the complex, such as a Family Mart, a Matsumoto Kiyoshi, a Denny’s, a Starbucks, and pretty much any other modern convenience you should need. Just make sure you bring your own razor and tooth brush, as the hotel doesn’t provide complimentary disposables of either.
We had some down time to chill and get ready before heading over to Tokyo Teleport and Zepp Diver City, where the concert was taking place. In my case, that meant whipping out the crapton of glow sticks and bracelets I had bought beforehand at Daiso. Every visual kei band has their own way of doing shows, but Psycho le Cemu’s concerts have always been a cross between a gothic and lolita/cosplay rave and a head banging rock show. They always throw in an amusing comedy skit that ties together the theme of their concert and the band’s growth together.
When we arrived at Tokyo Teleport, we were surprised at how many cosplayers dusted off their old costumes to represent. Because of how the area is situated, most fans and cosplayers stayed around the huge Diver City shopping complex until showtime. Everyone we encountered was really friendly about stopping for pictures, and this group even let us take some purikura (sticky pics) together.
B and I were hoping to get to spend some time hanging around the newly renovated Joyopolis indoor theme park, but the goods lines were pretty crazy and we ended up not having enough time. Next time for sure! But for anyone curious, here’s what I came away with on goods:
We also had plans to meet up with a pal that flew out all the way from Germany, that I hadn’t seen since the last set of reunion lives five years prior. In the middle of all that I was surprised by seeing a girl I used to run around with during my study abroad days in the crowd, and it was cool catching up and seeing how 10 years had and hadn’t changed us. 😉
Even without the best of numbers, we were able to stake out good spots both days. Our group even caught a couple of the signed glowsticks the band threw out, bought a ton of goods, and danced/headbanged our hearts out. The band has some pretty crazy furitsuke, or movements that go along with certain songs. The video below is from their last concert before disbanding. I promise everyone actually plays real instruments when they’re not dancing, and really well that. 😉
The way they did drinks was really nifty and efficient. The band members each selected one, and they were doled out on clips so you could keep yours on you while keeping your hands free. Unless you go to a stadium or arena concert, be prepared to pay 500 yen ($5 USD) for a drink ticket at the door.
The following day the band started a mobile fan club, which keeps me hopeful that maybe this won’t be the last time we’ll see them around.