Posted by: wesleysensei | October 20, 2008

From Tokyo to Osato: A Concert Weekend

This weekend started and ended in Osato but it’s what happened in between that matters. See I had to be back in Osato by 9 am on Sunday morning for a school chorus concert but I HAD to experience Ganban Night 08 in Tokyo.

I had planned out my whole trip in terms of train times and knew I could make it back my 9:10 am. I got permission from kyoto-sensei to be a little late and so on Friday after school I head to the train station. What I didn’t account for was a long line for the shinkansen. What I really didn’t expect was there to be no seats on the train I needed. The good news is that here in Japan they let you get a ticket even if there are no available seats. I bought my ticket and headed to the platform to wait for the train and met up with a friend who was coming with me. When the train arrived we boarded and…stood there. We were standing with some other people next to the trash can and by the bathrooms. Modest yes but I needed to make it to Tokyo.

Strangely enough our friends who were meeting us in Tokyo arrived at the same time as us. After a short wait we met up and headed out to find our hostel. K’s House is the name and I recommend it to anyone traveling to Tokyo. What’s crazier than arriving at the station at the same time is that we all ended up in the same room even though we booked at different times! Perfect. That night we met up with some JETs from the D.C. area and went to this dungeon/mad scientist bar in Shibuya. To sum it up: cheap frights, hand cuffs, and drinks in chemistry lab equipment; it was awesome. We ended the night with karaoke and two hours of all you can drink. Eventually–around 5 am–we got to bed after a long taxi ride and an even longer time trying to find the hostel.

The next morning we all were draggin’ our feet and concluded we needed an awesome breakfast. We headed to Denny’s first because it was close and in America it is great for morning afters; however, J-Denny’s is not like A-Denny’s. Here in Japan it is a dinner style restaurant that serves mainly pasta dishes. We didn’t eat there. Instead, Rothgeb and I remembered a place called Tebasa in Harujuku that we ate at last year. We led the group to the place and enjoyed our buffet of pancakes, pizza, and rice dishes. Afterward, we all headed to Yoyogi park-which is very close–and decided to rest.

After a peaceful nap we headed to the shopping and split up. The guys went to a bizarre and the girls went to H and M, some ritzy clothes shop. Rothgeb and I quickly headed to a Lawson’s, got some tall boys, and walked around. Eventually we all met for dinner…at Wendys.

We then headed to a KDDI building and found a bathroom where we could change into our sweet concert outfits. Then, with drinks in hand after another Conbinni (convinient store) stop, we headed to the train.Ganban Night 08 advertised it was in Tokyo but it was really in Chiba, a neighboring prefecture. The train ride was about 30 minutes but provided time to imbibe and listen to rad music. Once at the venue we made one last conbinni stop and headed indoors.

The moment we walked in I knew it was going to be incredible. There were two stages, one in each exhibition hall. By the secondary stage there were food and drink vendors and picnic tables. At either stage there were thousands of people and speakers everywhere. The event started and nine and lasted until about six a.m. We arrived around ten and partied hard for a solid six hours.

The entire show we were at the main stage and saw Basement Jaxx, Vitalic, Justice, and Boys Noise. It was a tie between Basement Jaxx and Boys Noise as for who was the best. The atmosphere of the show was like no other I’ve been to. Everyone was going crazy and the music was captivating. The addition of trippy images added to the effect of the music.

By 4:30 I was worn out and had to rush to make it to the train(s). I actually had to RUN quite a ways to get my ticket and board the 5:02 train from Chiba. In fact, three people from the group didn’t even make it to the train. I felt bad for ditching, but I explained to them that I HAD to make the train or my whole trip would be off.

The 5:02 train was packed with fellow concert goers but luckily I got a seat and caught some shut eye. Once in Tokyo I rushed to the Shinkansen ticket counter to buy my ticket. This time I was in NO mood to stand up for an hour and a half; I bought a reserved seat this time so I could relax and hopefully sleep. Once on the train I was wide awake for some reason. I put on my iPod and drifted in and out the whole trip while reminiscing about the amazing night I had.

When I arrived in Sendai I got my ticket for Atago station and waited for the train. I got on and anxiously waited to get back to town. Once off the train I got in my car and high tailed it back to Osato. As expected I was “late” for the concert but I arrived before the students started singing. However, the entire auditorium was filled by parents and community members. Luckily,my JTE–awesome as usual–saved me a seat right by her.

After an opening ceremony, the concert started and it was heaven. I was hungover, tired, and ready for bed but somehow the students singing woke me right up. When the JTE’s homeroom class got on stage she whispered to me “Quick, I need your help.” I immediately jumped up and said “Sure, what can I do?” She handed me the end of a banner constructed out of A4 sheets of paper. We ran up in front of the stage and held up the banner. I could see through the paper and read the message backwards: ELIMSELIMSELIMS. Man she’s an awesome lady.

The concert ended and after I helped to clean up I headed home. That night I went to bed around 5:30 p.m. with all intention of waking up later for dinner; however, I didn’t awake until 8:00 a.m. the next morning! Thanks to Japan’s great railway system I was able to go from Osato to Tokyo to Osato all in three days and experiencing two of the greatest concerts ever: Ganban Night 08 and Osato Junior High School’s Chorus Concert.

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