Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Something is going to begin / It will definitely be something good."

Forgive me for being a giddy little fan for a while longer.

As much as I wanted to experience Osaka and Kyoto and Nara, I'll admit that I wouldn't have been motivated enough to take the trip if it weren't for my beloved musical duo, Kinki Kids, having a New Year's countdown concert in Osaka. More than at Christmas, even, I always get very melancholy around midnight on December 31st unless I have something to keep my attention. And this was to be a special concert, not only because it was in their hometown (if I haven't said it already, "kinki" is another name for the Kansai area and not innuendo), not only because Koichi turns 30 on January 1st.

The agency Kinki Kids belong to, Johnny and Associates, holds a New Year's Countdown in Tokyo every year. That's eleven groups, around 60 members, hundreds of songs and dances. It's one of the most complicated concerts, and one of the most entertaining - everyone does odd medleys and covers of each other's songs, and all the behind-the-scenes friendships and rivalries are put under the spotlight. As much as I love that sort of strange camaraderie, I knew Kinki Kids doing their first New Year's by themselves would be even more special. So I and my hard-won ticket went to Osaka.

Kyocera Dome Osaka holds 36,477 people, which is a couple hundred more than the town where I live. It was an extremely exciting experience - I love concerts - but I won't get into all that. The part where you might be interested came during one of their talk MC portions - Kinki is known for talking way too much - when they were suddenly interrupted by a booming voice, "And now, over to Kinki Kids in Osaka!" They'd set up a live feed between Tokyo Dome and Osaka Dome and, I later learned, a few other places. I can't even imagine how difficult that was to set up - the timing and video and sound. It was certainly baffling at midnight, when the big screens showed people and costumes and streamers shooting and balloons falling that were nowhere in our arena. The sound-feed only lasted a few seconds - but then they kept the video playing in Osaka while Kinki Kids made fun of their junior artists dancing and singing until they realized, "Oh... This is probably being recorded."

The main concert is broadcast on TV, and when I came back and found it online I was thrilled to realize part of the concert I was at is now available. K-sensei said she watched part of it, "But I didn't see you!" Well, I was at the very back of 36,477 people. But thanks to the wondrous internet, I can now show you guys how I spent my New Year's Eve.

For reference, I was at the place with two men in white suits and the absolutely enormous bunch of roses:

They do a Kinki medley, including their debut song, and their not-yet-out single, Promise, which I'll definitely buy.

Our concert finished around 1:30. Koichi said, "I thought we were going to connect to Tokyo again but it seems they've already ended." As expected, Kinki talked a lot.

All in all it was pretty much the perfect way to start 2009. I'm going to have to find something really impressive for next New Year's to top this one.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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