I’m still getting used to my new day-to-day schedule, and trying to find time to continue doing the things I love, including writing in this blog. I’ve still got a backlog of posts and it embarrasses me that I still haven’t gotten around to sharing the rest of my Summer 2012 travel posts about Japan, but I promise, they are coming! Hopefully sooner, than later.
I just wanted to take a moment to say, “hello!” and let you readers know that I am still here. I also wanted to share a few things that I’ve been into lately:
Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Saga. I’m on the third book in the series, Xenocide. I flew right through the pages of Ender’s Game — which I highly recommend, and was surprised I had not read sooner. I am excited for the film coming out later this year, and hope it won’t be a disappointing book-to-movie adaptation. Once I finish Xenocide, that will place me at having read 10 books towards my goal of 12 books in 2013. I’m making good progress this year with the 2013 Reading Challenge!
Justin Timberlake. Always have and always will be a big fan of his, but I am especially loving his most recent live performances which include comedic skits with Jimmy Fallon and his amazing mini-concert performance prior to his acceptance of the Video Vanguard award at the 2013 MTV VMAs a couple weeks ago. The second part of his 20/20 Experience drops this month, and I cannot contain the teenage girl inside me who still swoons for him, especially as I’ve heard the second part will run about 74 minutes!
Boccalone’s Brown Sugar Fennel Salame. Seriously — OH. MY. GOD. I’ve passed by Boccalone several times in San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace, but I’ve never had a taste of their offerings until now. This makes for a delicious appetizer or mid-day snack when paired with fresh-baked Acme bread. Mmmm…! Now, if only the weather were warmer, so I could enjoy it with a glass of wine, as well! A taste of the city almost makes me miss working in San Francisco. (I say almost, because, frankly, I couldn’t stand such a long commute!)
And saving the best for last, I cannot put into words how excited I am for Lady Gaga‘s ARTPOP to be released. I’ve heard a sample from her performance at the 2013 iTunes Festival and now I am just salivating for more…! I’ve already dropped some not-so-subtle hints to my DH that her album (and unrelated, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie) are being released just days before my birthday… ;)
In other mundane news… weather has been strange in California. I can’t tell if it’s summer or not, or whether fall is just around the corner or still weeks away. I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer yet but I am looking forward to the family-filled holiday festivities, pumpkin spice lattes, and warm mulled wine.
What are you all looking forward to in the days to come?
A must-buy at any concert in Japan: マフラータオル (scarf towel)
Several weeks ago, I found out that Lady Gaga would begin The Born This Way Ball tour and that she would be touring in Asia and Australia first. There was only one date posted for Japan: a Thursday afternoon in Tokyo (at the Saitama Super Arena). I figured it would be impossible to go since it would be in the middle of the work week. As expected, the concert sold out instantly.
In line for official goods
Two more dates were announced: Saturday and Sunday, May 12-13, but the tickets would go on pre-sale first via lottery. So I entered the lottery, thinking I wouldn’t hit but it didn’t cost me anything to enter, so why not? I was allowed four types of ticket requests, so I worked my way up from the cheapest tickets (9,000 yen or roughly $100 US). Actually, I would’ve preferred the cheapest tickets because these were designated seats in the stadium area. She would be tiny, but visible at least from most angles. I ended up winning on my fourth choice: 14,000 yen tickets in the Arena Standing area. I was much closer than I expected to be, but still in the back. It was my first time to also attend a large-scale concert in the standing area. I didn’t realize my height would be such a disadvantage!! I couldn’t even see the TV screens for the most part, but luckily my husband is surprisingly strong and he was able to lift me up occasionally during my favorite songs so I could catch a glimpse of Lady Gaga, the stage, or the screens. I nearly cried the first time I finally got to see something.
Act I – Escaping
To put it simply, because words could never do it justice: The Born This Way Ball was AMAZING. And I definitely am going to try and go again when I’m back in the US, but I have to wait until the tour dates are announced. It probably won’t be until 2013 because she’s touring through Asia, Austria, and Europe first.
It’s been the spring of live concerts for me. I never really went to concerts in the US — mostly because concerts I wanted to go to were on weekdays when I had school or work, and also because I didn’t really have the money. Another thing that put me off though was that it always seemed really difficult to get tickets. In Japan, it’s a little bit easier because instead of having to go to the ticket office, you can just go to the convenience store, punch a code into a machine, and if you’re lucky the transaction will go through.
I went to two concerts during the spring break: SCANDAL vs. BUDOKAN on 3/28 in Tokyo, and TsuShiMaMiRe SHOCKING ONE MAN TOUR at on 3/31 in Osaka. I wasn’t too worried about getting tickets for TsuShiMaMiRe because they’re more like an indie band, but SCANDAL is really popular right now, and it was at the Nippon Budokan! The tickets went on sale on a Saturday at exactly 10:00 AM, so we went down to our local 7-11 and mingled for a few minutes until the time slot opened up. It was a little sluggish at first and I thought maybe we wouldn’t be able to get tickets, but we did, and in a good location too. We found out later on a fan-site blog that the tickets sold out within the hour.
With Mizue (Drums) of TsuMiMaMiRe at SHOCKING ONE MAN TOUR 2012 at Fandango, Osaka
Anyway, I’m on a bit of a LIVE-streak now and I really want to see a few more concerts before I leave Japan. Some artists are very high in-demand, so sometimes tickets don’t go on sale to the general public (or they do at an even later date, after tickets are already sold to die-hard fans). Lady Gaga is one of these artists. She has three shows for the BORN THIS WAY BALL 2012 at the Saitama Super Arena this May, so I entered the lottery-system for the Saturday evening show. I thought, What are my chances? It’s LADY GAGA, and it’s a LOTTERY system. I am probably not going to get a chance to buy tickets. But, lucky me, I did! And I got good seats too — standing area on the ground. I’m not quite up there being smashed against the catwalk, but I’m not up in the stands either where binoculars would be needed to make out the speck that is Gaga. I’m really excited!