Lately, I have been having a lot of thoughts about being a foreign Johnnys fan … especially being an eighter. First, let me tell you how these thoughts started:
About a week ago, I was talking to my dad on skype and we were discussing the upcoming concerts that I am going to. He then mentioned how it would be better for me to not buy as much stuff at the concerts as I had before. I asked him why and he explained that he thought that my room was very childish, with concert posters everywhere of my favorite groups and members. I asked him if he thought that I was childish and he said no. He said that my hobby was childish and that he believed that I am very mature for being 21 years old. He said that there were more mature ways of displaying my hobby, though. He suggested investing in more music, because you can listen to it anytime, not concert goods.
In some ways I understand where he was coming from; I had gone overboard with what I bought last year at the Kanjani8 8Uppers concert. I have way too many posters from over the years and I really need to exchange some of them out and sell some goods that I never look at or touch anymore. Also, I buy many goods from other concert tours that I don’t actually go to. From now, on I need to stick to things that I actually love for those tours, like shop photos!
So, all of that lead me to think: What does being an “Eighter” mean? More specifically, what does being a foreign Eighter/ Johnnys fan mean?
All I can say is that it is difficult to explain in words and it means so much to me. I feel this connection to the music that I have never felt before in my life and its just grown stronger with time. Some of my best friends I have met through Johnnys and Kanjani8. We don’t talk just about that, but also many other things that we have found in common. Johnnys and Kanjani8 is just the medium that I found these amazing friends by. One day, maybe, I will meet my future husband or boyfriend through that as well (that might be a long shot ….. )
On the other hand, being a foreign fan has many downsides. The main reason being that we are not Japanese or living in Japan. Its hard for us to get our hands on the merchandise and releases or to go to concerts. Johnnys doesn’t make things easily acessable for foreign fans, though they are starting to make a better attempt lately. Even if we live in Japan, we will still face many of the stereotypes of foreigners, along with some Japanese fans not accepting that there are foreign fans. Just from vlogging, I have gotten some Japanese fans that don’t understand what I try to do for other foreign fans and have had some bad comments directed towards me just because of the fact that I am a foreign fan. Now this isn’t the case for all Japanese fans. Some are ecstatic that there are foreign fans and are happy for their idols because they are becoming internationally known. Others are quite different and want to defend their idols and keep them to the Japanese only. I have encountered both types before.
Another issue for is people from western countries (who are not into Japan) don’t get “fandoms” that much. Its very hard for them to think that collecting idol goods and stuff is normal. In Japan, there are many people who do it. I am not even bad, but my parents judge me based on American standards (which they have every right to do in some ways). My argument is that I am not bad. There people who are even worse than me and I am starting to grow up a bit and finally get the guts to sell the things that I love and I have built a collection of for about 4 years now. I am willing to do some of that for my family and for maturity, but within reason. I will still display concert goods and some posters in my room, but make it a bit more tasteful. Because of this, I am going to sell lots of things that I have at home when I arrive back home in the US.
The last thing is that I want to address for foreign fans is that we never get recognition. We love our idols from across seas, but we will hardly get any recognition. Sometimes its hard for me to think that I have to fly over to Japan to see them in concert or even to bump into them. I have heard so many stories of people bumping into Johnnys here in Japan and I have never once had that happen to me, and this is my 5th time to Japan. I don’t thin that I will be able to properly thank them for what they have given me and other foreign fans. I want to do that someday and I guess that is what my whole blog and video blog is really about, trying to get foreign fans noticed more and to show my appreciation to the guys that I respect and admire.
I guess there will always be that language and culture barrier with the Japanese people. Its very hard for them to look past you being foreign. That is why I want to properly show people that I can learn the language and some culture properly. I know that I will never have it perfect, because I didn’t grown up here, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love Japan any less. I will do my best from now on to achieve this goal!