Taishu-engeki – “Light Theater”

Last night, I had the opportunity to see an taishu-engeki, which translates to “Light Theater” or often called “Theater for the Masses”.

The one that I went to starred Taichi Saotome, who is only 20 years old. The play was divided into 2 parts: a Play and then a Kabuki like dance segment. It started about 6:30 pm and got out about 8:45pm. Apparently, Taishu- engeki is normally like this; divided into a play section and then a dance segment that has nothing to do with the previous segment.

Though I couldn’t understand very well, what I got from the play part of it was that there was this boy who was adopted in by a bad guy who stole this girl. The boy didn’t know that the guy was a bad guy and was tricked into killing the girls real father. He ends up saving the girl and returning the girl to the real mother in the end, but getting killed by the father’s followers for killing him.

The second part of the play was a lot more enjoyable, in my opionion. I really enjoyed the dancing to more popish versions of old style Japanese music.

If you guys have the opportunity to see it, check it out! Apparently, Taichi Saotome is pretty famous for being a onnagata, a specialist in female roles. He was amazing and he came out at the end in the entrance hall dressed up in the full kimono garb. We walked passed him on the way out and he was very beautiful! I think we were the only foreigners there! It was a lot of fun!

Here is a link to Taichi Saotome’s Website: http://www.saotometaichi.com/

Please check it out!

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Johnny’s Talk: What does being an “Eighter” mean?

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!

Diary Post: No Music No Life

Ever since I have entered university, music has become such an important part of my life. It is a way for me to destress. I feel like all of my problems wash away when I listen to music.

Johnnys changed my life. If I didn’t know Johnnys, I would be even more lost than I am right now. Johnnys seems to be the only stable thing in my life right now, though people would even say that isn’t even stable.

The reason I started loving music so much was because of Johnnys. I found Johnnys the summer before I entered university and I really became a fan during the first few months of being a university student. I haven’t looked back since. I listen to Johnnys every day and I love it. People may call it crap and don’t think that they have talent, but that is reletive. I adore all of the boys in the groups that I follow and If I didn’t think they were talented, I wouldn’t adore them. Believe it or not, I am very picky with music and am critical of how people sing.

Now I don’t just listen to Johnnys, but it does take up most of what I do listen to though. I think this is becuas of the extensive fandom behind it, which doesn’t happen in American music too much. I love that abotu the Japanese people, they are not afraid to love a group or band and they give it their all to know what is happening with them.

I also have some american music that I follow (including Glee, the Jonas Brothers, the Black-Eyed Peas, and some others). It is nothing like Johnnys though in the aspect that it doesn’t have a fandom really, not like the Japanese. I also grew up with listening to American Classic Rock because of my father. The Beatles, Kansas, Journey and many many more were always playing in the car when I was with my dad.

How has music influenced your life? It has made my life so much brighter, and I don’t know what I would do without it.

Diary Post: Clothes and December Idol Magazines

Today I went to Shinsaibashi again!

It has become my favorite place in Osaka because of all of the variety of shops and also the Johnnys shop too!

Today’s Shopping trip entailed Shopping, Purikura, and food; my favorite activities!

I shopped at GU and got 2 shorts, 2 tank tops and a sweater.

I shopped at a store called attagirl for a new pair of shoes.

I also went to Tsutaya and bought my idol magazines for December! They all have Sexy Zone on the front of them though.

Its been a really long day for me.

I wish you all a good rest of the weekend!

Lauren