For this series, I want to talk to people about their experiences in Japan and get them to share their secret confessions. Be it something crazy they’ve done, a secret or a personal opinion, anything goes. Hear from real people about real stories and the circumstances behind it.
In this post we talk to Sheryl, an office worker from Singapore, about her decision to spend over $1000 to attend the concert of the popular idol group Arashi. Sheryl is not alone, with fans yearly spending large, almost unbelievable amounts of money just to watch their favourite band or group perform. Arashi concerts are infamous for being notoriously difficult to get tickets for, but is it really justified to spend so much just for a 3 hour concert?
B: How much did you spend on the concert ticket?
S: 90,000 yen (this was in July 2011 so ~USD$1135 then). I bought the ticket from an online agent. When I bought the ticket, I did not know where my seat was as Johnny’s (the company that manages Arashi) had not sent out the tickets. But I was very lucky to get an arena seat*.
*A/N: Tickets bought through fan club balloting originally cost 8000 yen. Arena seats are the closest to the stage, thus making them the most lucrative.
B: Why did you decide to spend so much on the ticket? Were there any other additional costs (eg. airfare, accommodation etc.)?
S: I was in Japan for an exchange program at the time their 2011 tour started so I thought since I’m already here and they’re going to start their tour in July, which is very rare, I have to go see them even if it means spending a crazy amount for the concert ticket.
Yes, there were additional costs. I travelled from Fukuoka (where I was having my exchange program) to Osaka via Shinkansen and I stayed at a business hotel in Osaka for 2 nights. The Shinkansen tickets costs about 13,000 yen two-way. As for the hotel, I think it was around 4000 yen in total for 2 nights.
B: Was it worth it?
S: YES DEFINITELY. It was worth it because one, I was really very lucky to get an arena seat so I got to see them up close. Also, I didn’t get to travel out of Fukuoka at that time so their concert in Osaka pushed me to travel. I got to see more of Japan and gained more travelling experiences which have become very helpful for me.
B: Could you briefly tell us about the group, and why you like them?
S: (Arashi) is made up of 5 members and coming from Johnny’s, they sing, they dance and they act. They have two of their own variety shows. I’ve been a fan since end of 2008. I like them because of the chemistry they have with one another, their ability of being unidol-like (for example, putting stockings over their heads and cosplaying Sailormoon), their ability of being not afraid to fail and to be very human-like as they do not put on airs.
B: Would you do it again?
S: Yes I would do it again, without a doubt. Going to Japan for their concert every year has become my yearly goal. One of the members, Jun Matsumoto, once said that he hoped that the group would be able to hold more concerts (perhaps outside of Japan) because they have been making the fans go to them. So he hopes that they will be able to go to the fans instead in the future. I think having this yearly goal of going to Japan has become a motivation for me, especially at work, because I know that I have something to work hard for.
It is also a motivation for me to have the courage again to travel in Japan alone. I find that courage diminishes as one grows older or perhaps is it just me but if they have a tour in Japan, my desire to go Japan alone becomes much stronger. If they do not have concerts in Japan, I doubt (my present self) would travel to and in Japan alone.
B: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
S: I’m not saying that Arashi is the best group out there because I understand that everyone has their own preferences but I hope through this, people (especially those who are not very crazy over idols) will understand why fans can be so “crazy” as to spending lots of money for concerts which they wouldn’t.
Perhaps music truly does have the ability to overcome the language barrier and touch the hearts and minds of people all over the world. There are often stories of bands and music that have saved or changed lives and with such an enormous impact, how can we put a price tag on the concert experience?