Memories of Tegomass 4th Live “Tegomass no Seishun”

Tegomass no Seishun was the first tour I went to, and travelled around the country to see, since I started living in Japan. Previously, I had only been to the Kansai Area where I live, or Tokyo and occasionally Nagyoa, which is the closest venue to Kansai. For Tegomass no Seishun, I went to Fukuoka, Osaka, Nagoya, and Yokohama. Each venue was a different experience for me and I wanted to share some of those memories.

Osaka

Osaka was the first leg of the tour and I was able to hit for tickets, despite it being one of the smallest venues of the tour. I hit for the first day, second show so it was one of my first times going to the first day of any Johnny’s concert tour. The day before was presale goods, so I took the train out from Kyoto, where I had been living at the time, in the heavy snow and went to buy goods for me and some other friends. The fondest memory I had was this mother and her son in front of me in line and the boy was just chatting away about Massu the whole time.

The next day, one of my friends came down from Nagoya and we hung out before the show, being at the venue when the first show of the day got out. You could see everyone was in high spirits as they came out and I was so excited when they finally let us into the venue for the second show. I had no idea what the set list was going to be like, so during the concert I got excited when certain songs came on. The venue was so small, so we really could hear Massu and Tegoshi when they sang “Aoi Bench” with out any microphones. I cried at that song, and every other time I heard it when I went to the tour. My first impression of the concert tour was “Wow! Tegomass has grown so much!” I had been to the Mahou tour over 2 years ago, so it was almost like a “Hey! It’s been a while” and “Wow! Look how much we all have grown”.

Yokohama

I went home to America a few days after the Osaka venue for almost a month, and when I came back I was still on Spring break from my MBA program. My friend Rosie from Thailand and I had been planning a trip for this tour since it was announced, so after a brief trip to Hiroshima for sight seeing, I went to Yokohama and met up with Rosie. We were only able to go to 1 of the 4 shows, but this time was a different feeling because it was an arena venue, not a small hall like Osaka.

To be honest, Yokohama was not my favorite show because they seemed too focused on the technicalities versus showing the fans a good time. They were filming at the afternoon show I went to, but I believe that the evening show is what was actually put onto the DVD and the afternoon show was just a dress rehearsal for recording the night show. It was still an amazing show, but I think it was because the last show I had been to was in a small hall where they could give the fans more attention, it was a bit of a change to go to an Arena venue. When I go back and look at the DVD, they did an amazing job at filming this tour though! I am glad they filmed Yokohama.

Fukuoka

After the Yokohama venue, Rosie and I took the Shinkansen 5 hours from Tokyo to Hakata for the next part of the tour. This was my first time to Fukuoka, so I was excited to explore southern Japan a bit! It was the beginning of April, so the Cherry Blossoms had just bloomed in Fukuoka. It was quite warm for the beginning of April and the venue was right by the sea, so we were walking around the pier before the concert. It was so pretty!

My favorite memory was when we were standing around the side of the venue near the pier and we saw a group of girls gathered around looking towards the venue. They would like squeal every few minutes at something and Rosie, my other friend Monica and I, couldn’t figure out why. Eventually after a few times, we figured out it was a soccer ball that popped up every so often over the top of the venue wall. Everyone knows that Tegoshi plays soccer before the concerts, so we all assumed that it was him playing with a few people before the show. Eventually, the security guard began to shoo everyone away.

Fukuoka was my favorite leg of this tour. Tegomass were both in high spirits and the venue itself, Marine Messe Fukuoka, was big, but not huge. You had a good view of the stage and the layout from wherever you were sitting. We went to both days, the first day we were in the 10th row of the stands and the second show we were up towards the back of the stands on the second floor. In both seats you felt involved in the show!

Nagoya

A last minute decision spurred me to go to Nagoya, the last venue for the tour. Nagoya is only a 45 minute Shinkansen ride from Kyoto, so about a week previous, I decided to go, at the invitation of some of my friends who were also going. I met up with some amazing Tegomass/ NEWS fans and we talked for so long about the concert and everything that happened! I stayed at my friend’s place in Nagoya with her other friend and it was basically a whole slumber party in her small apartment with blankets everywhere on the floor! We talked until the late hours of the night and was one of my favorite concert memories to this date.

I ended up in the Arena right near the back stage, and Massu and Tegoshi both came close to me and were singing “Kiss kaeremichi no love song” in front of where I was. My favorite memories of this concert was Massu jumping down from the stage and handing a child one of the sign balls near the back stage.

“See you Next Live” appeared on the screen after the encore at every concert. In Nagoya it held an even more special meaning to me, because it marked the end of my first tour I had traveled for. Tegomass is my favorite concert to see live because of the live music and the band that backs them up. I can see them time and time again and never get bored becauase each time is totally different.

This tour I spent with such a variety of people and made so many memories. A concert is more than just seeing the group live, its connecting with fellow fans who love the same thing as you as well.

To Tegomass and all the people who I met back in February 2014 to April 2014, Thank you. It’s a tour I will never forget.

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Stageplay Report: Masuda Takahisa 「フレンド -今夜此処での一と殷盛り-」 October 12th, 2014

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On October 12th, I had the opportunity to see Masuda Takahisa’s play 「フレンド -今夜此処での一と殷盛り-」two times at the Tokyo Globe Theater! The Tokyo Globe theater located at Shin-Okubo station, one stop away from Shinjuku going towards Ikebukuro station on the JR Yamanote Line. This is only the second time I have ever been to the Globe Theater, the first being for Shige’s play back in April “Naka no Hito” 「中の人」. The first showing of the play started at 1:00pm so my friend and I actually entered about 10 minutes before the first show started and I quickly bought goods and sat down. My seat was on the first floor, Row G on the right side when facing the stage. These seats weren’t bad for the first viewing because I felt like I was inside the play at the end (which I will get into later), even thought it was a bit low to the ground and me being small, sometimes seeing in-between other peoples’ heads in front of me wasn’t fun. Then the play started right at 1pm.

Play Overview

Please note there are spoilers following this, so please be careful if you are going to see the play!

The opening scene begins with Massu’s character helping a drunken person walk along, coming in from the right section of seats near the stage, then up the stage, and barging into a bar late at night when they are closed. Here you also meet the character that will become Massu’s character’s wife later on, Akiko. It then cuts to one of the characters explaining the setting of the play. The setting is a bar/ Izakaya called “Friend” (in Katakana) located near Shibuya Station in Tokyo. He also introduces some of the characters as well and after this the play starts.

The play takes place beginning in Showa Year 5 (1930) and continues through out the years until, I believe, probably between Showa year 17 or 20?(1942-1945) when the bombings of Tokyo happened. It is a “one room” setting play with only one set change towards the end of the play.

As a guide, here are the characters names that I mention here:

Actor’s Name – Character’s Name

Masuda Takahisa: Yasuhara Yoshihiro

Kaname Endo: Nakahara Chuuya (The Poet)

Aimi Satsukawa: Miyaji Akiko (Yasuhara’s Wife)

 

This play is actually based on a true story of a famous Japanese poet named Nakahara Chuuya. He was a famous poet in the early Showa period. Massu’s character, Yasuhara, went to school together in Kyoto with him they are good friends. Nakahara is going through struggles many struggles, including love problems and problems with his attitude and not getting along with people well, which leads to many funny scenes in the play, but also some emotional ones as well. The play has many themes, including friendship, love, and loss. Through the play, Yasuhara evolves as he grows older and he has to choose giving up working with Nakahara on writing and literature and the arts, which he loves, for having a stable job for income because he gets married. This decision comes from the cover that he drew for the author’s book being rejected by the publisher (which he helped get published in the first place) and him getting married as well. This ends up being one of the most emotional scenes in the play because he is rejecting to continue being Nakahara’s “partner”, but explains that he will stay his friend no matter what. This also happens on the day that Yasuhara’s engagement is being official. Other emotional scenes include the girl working at the bar, Akiko (who ends up being Yasuhara’s wife character’s wife), accepting the offer of the owners of the bar to become their daughter, as well as sending off their friends to War and the scene when Yasuhara came back from the funeral of Nakahara.

The play did a good job of blending in comedy with all of the emotional themes, which is why I called it an “emotional roller coaster” after I saw it for the first time. The funniest scene in the play for me was right after the really emotional scene of Akiko accepting the owner’s offer to become their daughter. At the beginning of this scene, Yasuhara is about to enter the bar, but stops when he sees the owners come down the stairs, so he quickly shuts the door and stands outside the bar listening to the whole conversation as it goes on. At the end of the scene, when Akiko accepts the offer to become their daughter, Yasuhara begins to bawl crying and everyone in the shop is confused to where it is coming from, and one of the other characters exits the shop and sees him crying and brings him inside. Massu was adorable and the way that he cried on the lamppost outside the shop was hilarious! I was laughing so hard after crying at the emotional scene before it. Yasuhara was a great combination of adorable and cheerful, but also surprisingly serious at certain points.

The ending of the play was a huge emotional punch. The play had been pretty steady up until about ¾ of the way through. After that it, speed up once the war started until all of a sudden sirens begin to go off. These are sirens during war for when an air-raid bombing is about to begin to warn people to take shelter. Bombs “go off” and then you see Yasuhara stumble out from the back of the theater as the bombings are going on, all covered in soot and dirty and he is searching for his wife. This is the part that you feel like you are in the play, as the play actually moves into the seating area. Yasuhara trips and falls (passing out) then the bombings all of a sudden “stop”. From the right side of the theater, Nakahara’s “ghost” appears and begins talking to Yasuhara and leads him back to Friend, just as he normally used to back in the day. The only catch? Friend is on fire. So this scene is very powerful and eerie as everything is like normal with everyone dead and alive there, but the bar is on fire. The sound effects then stop after showing that it was a gathering of some sort, and everyone begins reciting some poetry together (possibly from Nakahara’s poetry?) and then all of a sudden Yasuhara begins to be pulled back into the “real world”, saying that he can’t die now, as he made a promise Akiko (his wife) when they got engaged that he wouldn’t die as all of her family died in a bad earthquake and she didn’t want to be left alone. Yasuhara gets pulled behind the curtain and the Nakahara recites more of the poetry and exits out the back of the theater. It then turns to Tokyo being in rubble and Yasuhara waking up at Friend in rubble as well. On the right side of the stage you see the figure of someone approach and they take their hood off as she notices Nakahara. It is Akiko and they are finally reunited after the bombings. They have an emotional reunion with her showing some important things that she saved that were important during the play, as well as saying that the owners of the bar are safe. The play ends with them hugging and crying there in the rubble of Friend.

At both performances I was crying so hard at the end of the play that I still hadn’t stopped as the curtain call was going on. Massu’s acting was amazing and this play was such an emotional roller coaster. Tons of people were crying during this play, which really does show that the whole cast, not just Massu, did an amazing job. Even I, who still isn’t totally fluent in Japanese, was moved to tears. I wish that I could understand more of the poetry in this play, but poetry is difficult to understand in any language. There were  also some romantic scenes between Yasuhara and Akiko that were cute as well! There wasn’t any kissing, just hugging, which actually made it even cuter I think.

I also attended the second show that day and that one began at 6pm. I was in Row N towards the right side of the stage again and since it was elevated I had a very clear view of the stage and this was probably a better seat than the one I had at the first show because of that. I was also closer to where Massu entered a few times in the play.

IMG_2628Thank you Massu for an amazing play! It was more than I could ever imagine!

I hope that you all enjoyed this play report! I did my best to convey some highlights of the play without telling everything about it. Please leave any questions or comments down below.

Johnny’s Talk: What To Wear To A Johnny’s Concert/ Event?

One of the hardest things for me to decide on when I go to a Johnny’s concert or event is: What should I wear?

Now, I believe that fashion is very personal to everyone and what he or she chooses to wear is a reflection of who they are. Each person has their own style and what they like to wear and there is no right or wrong thing to wear to Johnny’s concerts! I personally like dresses and skirts and a more mature style of clothing, as well as when I go to Johnny’s concerts I don’t want to draw attention to myself more than I already do by being foreign. Some people like to dress up in cosplay or dress up to draw attention to themselves, so it is all based on personal preference and what you feel comfortable wearing! Even for Japanese fans there is a huge gap between the people who dress “normal” and the people who go all out and cosplay and dress up, so don’t worry too much about it! Fashion in Japan is so wide and varied that you won’t feel bad with whatever you decide to wear. So with all that being said, this post is about how I decide what to wear to a Johnny’s concert and maybe it could give you some ideas yourself on what to were when you go someday! Here are some questions that I ask myself when I go to a concert that help me decide what I will wear:

“What group am I going to see”? I always start out with this question. This is a big factor because each group has a different kind of presence and the fans dress differently and act differently as well. For example, NEWS fans are considered “fashionable” and the group itself has more of a “prince” type of image, so I will pick the overall theme of my clothing based off of that. KAT-TUN on the other hand has more of an edgy rock-like feel to them with darker colors, so I tend to wear darker colors to their concerts and try to be a bit edgier with what I wear, but still stick with my own personal style though. The most out-there group that I normally go to see is Kanjani8, and the way that the fans dress is very much a reflection of the group themselves. It’s always fun to see what Kanjani8 fans will wear to the concerts!

“Who is your favorite member”? Johnny’s groups usually have colors associated to the individual members in the group. An easy way for the fans and for the members themselves to identify whose fan you are is to wear your favorite member’s color to the concert. Sometimes I follow this, but other times I don’t. It all depends on the concert and the group for me, as well as where my seats are. For example, for Tegomassu no Seishun I chose not to wear my favorite member Massu’s yellow color in Fukuoka and Nagoya, but instead wore the green color that the concert goods and the theme of the concert was based off. In Yokohama and Osaka though, I wore Yellow.

What season is it and is the concert/ event outside or inside? This also plays a factor into what clothes I would wear as well. KAT-TUN’s countdown concert I wore dark clothes because it was winter and because they were edgier as well. NEWS’s concerts were inside and outside, so the outside concerts I didn’t dress up as much because it was in the middle of summer and I would be sweating a lot, but the inside concerts I decided to dress up a bit more because I wouldn’t be sweating as much. Also, waiting for goods outside can be a factor as well, so take that into consideration when you are choosing your outfit as well!

Will I be wearing any of the concert goods I am buying? For Kanjani8’s Jyuusai concert, there was a “happi” that they were selling and I wanted to buy it so I decided on the dress that I wore based on that. I thought the happi would look better with a collared dress, so I wore that. Another popular thing to do is to wear the concert T-shirt right after buying it or personalize the concert T-shirt for another show that you will go see in the same tour.

A note on Stage plays: For stage plays, I would recommend toning down what you wear to a concert if you normally cosplay or dress up a lot for these events. With stage plays you have to remember that the Johnny’s guy is only one member of the cast during this play (even thought he may be starring in it) and other people who aren’t Johnny’s fans will more than likely be attending as well for the other cast members who have nothing to do with Johnny’s. The purpose is to enjoy the stage play and support the Johnny’s guy, not for the Johnny’s guy to notice you or to draw attention to yourself, which is different than a concert. With this being said, there is a certain respect for the stage and arts when you go to see stage plays so please try to be respectful of that. The manners for concerts and stage plays are different is all, not that one is better than the other. For the most part, most people I see at stage plays dress normally and I don’t even know they are going to the play unless they are a carrying around a bag from the group that the Johnny’s guy in the play is in. I personally dress like I normally do everyday, but if it’s an evening show I might dress a bit more fancy.

Here are some pictures of what I have worn to past Johnny’s concerts!

Tegomassu no Seishun - Fukuoka

Tegomassu no Seishun – Fukuoka Picture courtesy Monica (blog: the beauty of existence)

Kanjani8 - Jyuusai

Kanjani8 – Jyuusai

Tegomassu no Seishun - Nagoya

Tegomassu no Seishun – Nagoya

Masuda Takahisa Stageplay - Strange Fruits in Osaka

Masuda Takahisa Stageplay: “Strange Fruits” – in Osaka

Was this helpful? What do you normally wear to Johnny’s concerts? Please let me know in the comments below!

Review: Tegomass – “Tegomass no Seishun” テゴマス「テゴマスの青春」Album

“Tegomass no Seishun” is Tegomass’s 4th full length album and also their first album in 2 years and 3 months. The Title of the album basically translates to “Tegomass’s Youth” or “Tegomass’s Adolescence”. This album includes songs produced for them by “The Godspellers” and “DEPAPEPE”. This Album also is the lead in for their tour that started in February, going through the end of this Month, with the same title, “Tegomass no Seishun”.

 

Album Editions

Limited Edition: CD + DVD

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The Limited edition comes with the 12 songs of the album and a 40 minute DVD of the Music Video and Music Video Making of「ヒカリ」”Hikari” . It also comes with a 28 Page Booklet, which includes the lyrics of the songs and photos.

Regular Edition: CD

ImageThe Regular edition comes with the regular 12 songs, plus 2 bonus songs. One of these bonus songs was written by Tegomass themselves called 「月の友達」- “Moon Friend”. It also comes with a 16 page booklet that includes the lyrics and some photos as well.

The Songs

The theme of this album is “Youth” so all the songs for the most part have to do with being youthful, the pains of youth and the joys of youth.

「蒼色ジュブナイル」- “Inexperienced Juvenile”

This song is an upbeat song that kicks of the album very nicely! Tegomass is always good about organizing the songs of their album in a good order. I think this song was a great pick for the first song of the album because it has very Tegomass like sound to the song, which shows off their vocals and harmony and is upbeat, but still has a soft easy-listening quality about it. They also kicked off the tour with this song as well! Its a song about looking back on your youthful days. This is one of my top 5 songs on this album!

「ハルメキ」- “Become like Spring”

This song is another upbeat song about the coming of spring, just like what the song title implies! When I first heard this song, I had a feeling that this would be one of the last songs in the concert because it was an upbeat song that Tegomass tends to end their concerts with before the encore, and they did!  This is also one of my top 5 songs on the album.

「いつかの街」- “Town of Someday”

This next song slows down the pace of the album and really shows off Tegomass’s vocals and harmony.  I can just sit back and listen to this song with my eyes closed and even though This is more of a sad song that is about not seeing your dream anymore and wandering aimlessly not sure what to do, I feel calmed and reassured somehow.  Everyone has had this feeling the past, or may be going through this as well, thus included in the “youth” theme of the album.

「DONUTS」

 The Godspellers wrote this song for Tegomass and it has this old “do-wap” feeling that I love! This also happens to be Massu’s favorite song on the album and his reason for it being that he feels that the Godspellers really knew Tegomass’s style and harmony well and made an amazing song! The funny part of this song is that DONUTS means Vinyl records, not literal donuts. When I was listening to the lyrics at first I was confused until I saw somebody comment it was vinyl records and not real donuts because the lyrics say “I found a black donut in the back of my closet”. This is my favorite song on this album that isn’t a single, the reason being because of that old style music feel and the harmonies in it. The lyrics are also really sweet too!

「ファンタジア」- “Fantasia”

The first thought I had about this song is that I really like the Piano in it. It has a good rhythm that changes a bit with the chorus and I like the build up from the verse into the chorus and then slowing back into the verse again, then ending slowly like the song began. It has a good flow to the song as well! This particular song is a sad love song and I think it fits with the rhythm of the song. This isn’t one of my top picks of this album, but I really like this song when it was performed live!

「タイムマシン」- “Time Machine”

The first time I heard Time Machine I was immediately attached to it. I think the Melody of the song and the instruments are what really attract me to it, as well as the lyrics. This is the one song that I love to play over and over and even though its a sad love song about regrets and not being able to turn back time. It calms me because of the melody and the amazing vocals and harmony. Zopp-san, who writes a lot of songs for Tegomass and NEWS, wrote this song and even replied back to me when I said that I really liked his songs he wrote for the album!

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He said that ”the lyrics were about a Journey, if you can understand that he would be relieved!” This song really was a journey and I loved it, thus making it my favorite song on the album!

「サヨナラにさよなら」- “Goodbye to Goodbye”

I did a review about this single already that you can find HERE. I really enjoy this single a lot and it is my favorite single that is on this album!

「少年~Re:Story~」- “Young Person Re. Story~!”

The main point that I like about this song is the light, rock-like rhythm of the song and the Guitar. Its light and airy and gives of a very vibrant aura.  This is a song about having a dream as a kid, loosing it, but then finding it again and the resolve to keep continuing. The 「もう一回、もう一回」”One more Time, One more time” That is repeated again and again in the song is very encouraging to me and also fits with the theme and the rhythm of the song.

「innocence」

Tegomass always has one “harder rock” song on their album and this was it! I also like the guitars in this song as well and how the rhythm changes from the chorus to the verse.  The rhythm of the song is also very catchy and easy to remember and I tend to hum this song sometimes! I wasn’t attracted to it initially, but after I went to the concert I really enjoyed it a lot and I listen to it a lot more than I used to.

「猫中毒」- “Cat Obsession”

I also did a review on this single, so if you would like to know my thoughts on this song go ahead and click HERE. It is very fun song and very Tegomass like!

「色鮮やかな君が描く明日の絵」- “The Colorful Picture of Tomorrow that you Draw”

What immediately struck me was all the different sounds in this song.  Guitar, Organ/ Keyboard, and also the changing tempos in the song as well. The lyrics are very cute with talking about “Black Magic” and “Yellow dreams”, really conveying the title of the song. It is a very cute and light, upbeat song!

「ヒカリ」- “Light”

This is the main song for this album that Tegomass decided to make this the PV for this time around. This song is a ballad and is very easy listening, but it builds up at the end of the song then slows back down again. The lyrics are very powerful, saying to treasure each day because the same day won’t come back again. I needed to hear this type of song at this point in my life because I am always looking 100 steps in front of me, so it reminds me to just take one day at a time and I don’t have to plan so much. Just enjoy the present more  because you won’t get this day back ever again. I love how Tegomass songs have such amazing meaning!

「きれいごと」- “Beautiful Words”

This is a beautiful song. The guitar is so soft and the vocals are so gentle that I also fell in love with this song as well, the first time I heard it. I really just want to go to bed after listening to this song because it is so soothing and comforting. I normally don’t like ballads, but Tegomass’s vocals really pull me in and make me love their ballads. Besides “Time Machine”,  this song is my next favorite ballad on this album.

「月の友達」- “Moon Friend”

This is the song that Tegomass wrote for this album. On their radio show they held a survey of what type of song they should write and the results came back as an upbeat song. From that, Massu wrote the lyrics and Tegoshi wrote the music with their band director for the Tegomassu tours and it turned out to be a fun upbeat song with strange lyrics about shooting for your dreams! I really like the reoccurring “ooooh yea, ooooh ooooh yea” in the song! Its catchy and I find myself humming this song a lot recently because it makes me motivated and gets my blood pumping when I am waking someplace.

Final Thoughts

Tegomass are now 26 and 27 years old, so they have graduated into their late 20’s, which calls for a more mature album. In the last album that they released, 「テゴマスのまほう」- “Tegomass’s Magic”, they were 24 and 25 years old, so you can tell the difference between the feel of the album right away. They still keep many Tegomass elements, with the sounds of the songs and the style, but you can tell that they bridged the gap from early 20’s into late 20’s. I think this time they chose the theme youth to look back on their youth and bridge the gap from being the “cute duo” to being experienced musicians. . The vocals in this album have improved over all, in my opinion, compared to the last album. All in all, Tegomass was able to  keep the sound that they are known for, but also make it more mature. When I think of Tegomass now I don’t think of them as idols, but I think of them as performers and musicians. This was an amazing album and I hope now that people can look at Tegomass as musicians rather than just Idols from Johnny’s.

 

*DISCLAIMER* I am still learning Japanese and these translations of these song titles,  Japanese content, or any other translations from Japanese aren’t perfect. Please bring to my attention if you think I have any errors.