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Foreigner attending a Japanese Concert? 2011/1/2 23:56
Hi, I need your opinions on this matter.

I'm a foreigner and I plan to attend a concert in Japan. I found a way to purchase a ticket even though I'm overseas. Upon hearing the news that one of my fave bands will have a concert tour exactly during the time I will be in Japan, I felt so ecstatic and happy because for a foreigner like me, that's like a once in a lifetime opportunity. I didn't even expect they would have a tour exactly around that time!

However, the more I ponder on the matter, the more I realize the difficulties there are and the obstacle for me. Though I have found the way to purchase a ticket, I'm still bothered. As a foreigner, I'm afraid that I will have to go to the concert alone since I don't know anyone who will go to that concert too. Furthermore, I'm afraid that once there, I would appear as a lonesome odd-man out because in addition to being a foreigner, I am not that proficient in the language and I might not understand what the ushers will be announcing (and I'm ALONE at that too! so no one would be there to explain to me what the hell is going on). Of course there is always that risk of traveling, of getting lost, of missing the train especially the concert would end at night. Moreover, I'm not sure about this but someone told me that seats in concerts are randomly assigned. I'm concerned that the seat I will be assigned to may not well be worth the price I paid (is this info true or not?).

Looking at these things, part of me wanted to give up the whole idea of going to the concert. However, I know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I might not be able to go to Japan next time since I will be just going there this time for an exchange program.

What do i do? I need your opinions/suggestions.

Sorry if my dilemma sounds very mundane to you.

thank you!
by lastmockingbird  

. 2011/1/3 15:55
lastmockingbird,

It will really help if you could at least tell us what venue you are going to. And don't worry too much. Whatever that concert is, there is always a fair number of foreign fans attending. I myself have gone to concerts alone all over the world.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

venue 2011/1/3 16:33
venue of the concert will be at Sendai SunPlaza Hall (Miyagi-Ken).

Wow, I admire you for going to concerts alone. I'm just concerned with well, the things I've mentioned above. :(

Hope I can ear your opinion on this since I cannot decide yet. I swore myself that one of my new year resolution would be to try out new things and take risks...but still, there are things to consider.

Looking forward to your response!
by lastmockingbird rate this post as useful

details 2011/1/3 22:31
Hello lastmockingbird,

I also never was at a concert, but if you manage to travel till Sendai alone I think it will no problem for you.

I found the schedule page (jan/feb) of the Sun Hall:
http://www.sendai-sunplaza.com/hall/schedule/index.html
I think there's 1 concert in jan and 3 concerts in feb. The other evant on page are mostly for schools and companys.

For example if your concert will be the ORANGE RANGE than go to the homepage next to the band's name and on the next page you can find that all seats are reserved (全席指定 - zenseki shitei).
by Zoi rate this post as useful

Zoi 2011/1/3 23:50
thanks for the detail. Although the concert I am planning to go to will still be in April/May :)

Have you been to Sendai?
by lastmockingbird rate this post as useful

answer 2011/1/4 00:10
No, but I always went alone to Japan so I understand your feelings and doubts.
If you plan something special in your trip the best option is to gather as much info about the place and route where you're heading to.

Will be your school accomodation in Sendai? If so then you can calculate the route between the Hall and the collage too. Keep in mind that the concert may end at late night. Maybe you have to walk or catch a taxi or the last bus. Check the map!
(The Hall is quite near the train station.)
by Zoi rate this post as useful

. 2011/1/4 00:29
lastmockingbird,

Hi again. First of all, I don't know how you are planning to obtain the ticket, but I hope you're doing this through official and legal procedures. I say this because (A) ticket scalping will eventually support gangster organizations and (B) buying tickets from strangers on the internet come with risks of various sorts.

Secondly, granted that you are obtaining the ticket in a safe way, I'm sure you'll be sorry not going than you'd be sorry going alone. Because the only time I was able to forgive myself for missing such a great opportunity was when I was offered a ticket while I was still too young.

If you are indeed too young, talk to your mom or dad about it and let them decide. Parents always give the right decision.

That said, if you do decide to go, stop being afraid of "appearing as a lonesome odd-man out" because you are one anyway and I see nothing wrong with that. The things you can miss by not knowing the language at a concert is very little, I tell you. You will even be excused of some mistakes, because people spoil you when you're a short-term foreign visitor.

To get to the venue from your home, plan ahead and leave early. Be sure to purchase your return ticket on your way to the venue, because once the concert is over, there will be a huge crowd at the station.

You cannot miss your train unless you are traveling cross-town. Concerts end before 10pm and short distance trains usually run until midnight. If you are traveling cross-town, however, book a safe hotel near the venue.

As for seating, if you are reserving a ticket in advance, you usually cannot request a specific spot. So yes, we do owe the risk of ending up being the relatively "unlucky ones." If you're buying the ticket after it's gone on sale, then you usually can confirm where your seats are located, but popular artists' tickets are most likely to be sold out the day it goes on sale.

If it's an "all-standing" concert, you still have the chance of cleverly getting the ideal spot after entering the venue, but as mentioned, if it's something like the Orange Range concert, all seats will be assigned.

Sendai Sunplaza is a 13 minutes walk from Sendai station. Here is the Sendai Sunplaza seating map.
http://www.sendai-sunplaza.com/hall/data/suplaza-hall.pdf
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2011/1/4 03:44
If you're going to the concert I think you are, then you will indeed look like a lonely silly man. But don't worry, 90% of the other people going will also look like lonely old silly men.

Just buy glowsticks and shout in timing with the other wotas and you'll be fine.
by Nein (guest) rate this post as useful

_ 2011/1/4 10:49
depends on what kind of concert you attend.

When I was in Japan, I made it out to some concerts on my own (I do understand Japanese though) to watch Weezer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park, and Foo Fighters.

This is just my personal opinion but the concerts SUCKED compared to what I got back home. There's just a whole different vibe and atmosphere when it comes to watch a concerts with loads of Japanese folks surrounding you.

I think it'd be a good experience for you to go once but don't overindulge and go to a few concerts without knowing what to expect.
by Psycho Mike (guest) rate this post as useful

Can't decide 2011/1/4 15:04
thank you for the replies guys!

To give more details, I will be traveling via train from Akita to Sendai. According to the JR Website and Hyperdia, travel time would be around 2 1/2 hours with no need to transfer trains. And yes, the venue is relatively near from the Sendai station, walking distance even.

I do think that this might be/will be a learning experience for me as a foreigner going to a Japanese concert alone. The concert will probably start at 6:30pm. Given this, what time would it be safe to expect the concert will end?

As for purchasing the ticket, I have contacted an online Japanese shopping service. The service is open for any Japanese items, overseas fan club memrbership, and of course, concert tickets. Anyone heard of Mukunoki services? or Celca?

Because I simply cannot decide no matter how much I rack my mind, I even thought of just buying the ticket and in case I change my mind or circumstances prevent me from attending the concert, I can just find a way to auction the ticket (I heard this is possible but I still have to research how to do this). Does anyone have an idea?

@Nein, what made you say that 90% will also look like lonely silly old men? haha. Have you been into a concert?

Also, the concert is a J-rock/pop group. So it's expected that majority of the attendees would be teenage boys and girls as well as those in their early/late twenties and surprisingly, with some old folks as well. A mixed crowd of some sort.
by lastmockingbird rate this post as useful

. 2011/1/4 18:11
lastmockingbird,

Hi again.

As I've suggested, concerts will last no later than 10pm, because the laws (or maybe it's by-laws) usually forbid concerts to last that late in the evening unless it's something special. Typically, a pop/rock concert lasts about 2 hours. Sometimes concerts are delayed if the crowd hasn't got in yet (typically, this happens when it's a weekend and everyone can't get there in time after work). But usually a concert scheduled to start at 6:30 will start either right on time or 7:00 the latest. And then they need 2 hours to finish the set list, so if it starts in say 7:00 it will end a bit after 9:00. But again, you should keep in mind that you could end up leaving the venue at 10:15 or so, and also keep in mind that it will take more time to fight your way back to your train because of the crowd.

If you plan to take the 2 hour 10220 yen o/w route back to Akita, you need to leave Senday by 21:44 if it were today's timetable. I suppose you just have to give up the last part of the concert if it doesn't finish in time, or you can just wait around until the first train the next morning. For example, if you catch the 6:00am JR train, you can travel back to Akita in just 4940 yen taking 8 hours.

Auctioning unwanted tickets are commonly done unless you are underaged, but I've never done it. I usually look for a buyer through the grape vein. Always be prepared to risk that ticket price. Also, a good-mannered fan is expected to take no extra charge for selling his/her unwanted ticket.

I also agree that 90% will also look like lonely silly old men unless it's one of those Johnny's junior idol concerts where all the girl fans move in groups.

By the way, I wonder if you've considered making fan friends through concerts, events, fan clubs or websites. It makes your concert-goer life a whole lot more fun and often easier.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Gooooo 2011/1/4 20:02
Go go go to the concert!!!! Im a foreigner living in japan and music is a huge part of my life!! And i wasnt about to change that when i moved to japan, despite not speaking the language well! I have gotten to love so many Japanese indie rock/punk/pop/ska bands and go to see concerts every other week. I am ALWAYS the only foreigner at the indie band concerts, and yea I do feel like I'm the odd one out (I am also probabaly one of the oldest in the place most times too) but that can work in your favour too! I find the Japanese people always wanna talk to me and feels like they appreciate that foreigners are supporting their music too. I haven't gone alone to a concert tho, so I do understand you're feeling there, but my advice is do it! Japanese concerts are so different from home, but a great experience. If it wasn't so far from me I'd offer to come too so you weren't the only odd one there! Go and enjoy it, you will have a blast!!
by Mollii (guest) rate this post as useful

hmmm 2011/1/4 23:28
Thanks again for the replies everyone!

Btw, just want to clarify, @Uco, are the price displayed in Hyperdia for roundtrip already?

When I tried to consider the time, as was detailed by Uco, it seems impossible for me to catch the train going back to Akita and it seems that I cannot also catch the bus from Akita Station to go back to my dorm (since, based on the still-to-be-confirmed bus schedule, the last trip would be at 9:01pm). I really am in a pinch here. I sooo want to go.

You have a point there Uco about making friends through websites however, being a Japanese band, I bet the sites would be in Japanese and since I'm not that proficient in Nihongo, it might be pointless. I've tried posting in the school facebook account on who's going to some concerts in Spring in hopes that someone will go to the same concert however maybe because it's vacation for students at this time, no one's responding. Besides, I don't want to rely on just the slim possibility that someone from the school I'll be staying in Japan will go to the same concert on the same date on the same venue.

I so want to cry now. :(

@Mollii, I really appreciate your encouragement but....deep inside I want to go. But when I try to be logical and take into consideration the abovementioned factors, I'm stuck...

I might sound ridiculous but now, I'm only hoping a miracle would happen...for instance, that I would meet someone who would go to the concert and be friends with me or that the band would add Akita to their tour. However, both, especially the latter, is quite impossible.
by lastmockingbird rate this post as useful

. 2011/1/5 00:23
lastmockingbird,

"@Uco, are the price displayed in Hyperdia for roundtrip already?"

You never told us the date and I'm not sure about what you mean by "already." But the Japanese version of Hyperdia does show the fare for today (somehow the English version does not accept "Sendai" when I type it in). There is no round trip discount since the distance is too short. But by showing your student ID upon purchasing your railway ticket, you can get a 20% discount from the basic fare. The basic fare between Sendai and Akita for today on JR, for example, is 5250 yen one way. You need to add the express fare if you're using express trains like the Komachi.

"When I tried to consider the time, as was detailed by Uco, it seems impossible for me to catch the train going back to Akita"

Can't you leave the venue early in time for the 21:44? Or do the trains end earlier on the date for some reason?

"and it seems that I cannot also catch the bus from Akita Station to go back to my dorm"

I'm not sure how long that bus trip is, but can't you use a taxi?

"I really am in a pinch here. I sooo want to go."

Just book a hotel in Sendai, then. That's the safest and most practical thing to do.

"You have a point there Uco about making friends through websites however, being a Japanese band, I bet the sites would be in Japanese"

Try posting in English, then. I'm sure you'd be happier finding a friend who can read English.

I don't know how old you are, but since you mention a "dorm" I suppose you're at least older than 18. If so, you're practically old enough to do anything an adult can do, and yet you sound like you're trying to find excuses to justify the lack of your courage.

I'm not saying you should go against your will, but everyone is scared to do something for the first time, you know. The first time I ever went to a concert alone was when I was 16, and at 18 I went to a concert in a foreign country alone for the first time. I was certainly the odd gal out, and no one spoke to me except for some German locals who said "Bye" to me after that Brian Ferry concert and I was too shy to start a conversation. But so what? I enjoyed the live music.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Gooooo 2011/1/5 09:21
@Uco I'm presuming you are Japanese, right? It is normal for Japanese to do things alone, such as eat at a restaurant alone, go to concerts alone etc. But its not like that for most westerners....i would NEVER go to a restaurant or concert alone in my own country, it's not normal! So I totally understand where the poster is coming from!

But as Uco said, how bout staying the night on Sendai? Manga cafe is not so expensive. Do some sightseeing while you're there and make the trip worthwhile.

I know it's so much easier to make excuses, but if you really want to see the band, just book ur ticket now! If you're not in japan for a long time this could be your only chance and you'll be kicking yourself if you don't go!
by Mollii (guest) rate this post as useful

.. 2011/1/5 10:10
About the train fare, assuming that 5250 yen is one-way, is it safe to assume that twice that would be the roundtrip?

Also, I am not familiar with how to purchase ticket train in Japan. I plan to purchase, if I do decide to go, at the JR ticket booth at NRT terminal 2. Upon purchasing, will I be given a ticket that applies only to a particular arrival time of the train? Because I think in our country one ticket is valid at any time of the day. Also, at the NRT, can I already buy a train ticket going back to Akita from Sendai?

Can you recommend a "cheap" inn near Sendai Station that accepts foreigners or has a website or e-mail address I can contact? (because rumors has it that some establishments do not accept/welcome foreigners)

"you sound like you're trying to find excuses to justify the lack of your courage."

Yes, I'm a coward and I know that for a fact. But perhaps it is as what @Mollii says. Though I'm not westerner, an Asian in fact, a concert is usually something that should be enjoyed with a buddy or a groups of friends. Whenever there is one, friends would always try to invite others to go with them to the concert. I can't imagine myself attending a concert in my country alone...more so in a foreign land! But both you and @Mollii make a point.

Funny but there came a point when, because I am too indecisive, I thought of letting my decision go according to "chance/luck/fate" whatever you call it. In that I would try to purchase the ticket at NRT tikcetpia and if there's no ticket available, then I won't go but if there is, then that's fate and hence I must go no matter what.

sounds pathetic huh?

by lastmockingbird rate this post as useful

two tickets? 2011/1/5 13:04
Or perhaps I should buy two tickets and then once in Japan, find someone interested to go and I can either sell the ticket to him/her (at the same price of course) or just give the ticket for free as a sign of gratitude?

But I wonder what are the chances of meeting someone who would be willing to go? :(
by lastmockingbird rate this post as useful

. 2011/1/5 13:41
Mollii,

Just to clarify, yes, I am Japanese, and I know that it is as normal and abnormal in Japan as it is in most Western countries to do things alone. That is why they have this sort of slangish prefix in Japanese called "hitori-" and people are surprized every time someone says they do "hitori-yakiniku" or "hitori-karaoke" or what not. And really, I'm the only person among my friends that go to rock concerts alone.

lastmockingbird,

"assuming that 5250 yen is one-way, is it safe to assume that twice that would be the roundtrip?"

If you're taking the same route and same type of trains? Yes, of course. And I repeat that you need to ADD the express fares if you're taking express trains that allow you to be their within 2 hours.

"Also, I am not familiar with how to purchase ticket train in Japan. I plan to purchase, if I do decide to go, at the JR ticket booth at NRT terminal 2."

No problem, as long as the date of the ride is within a month ahead. But I see no reason to buy those tickets to the concert upon your arrival to the country. You can just purchase the ticket when you're riding the train at Akita to go to Sendai. Also, you shouldn't be reserving seats, as there is a risk of missing trains. Again, don't forget to present your student ID if you have one that is official in Japan.

"Upon purchasing, will I be given a ticket that applies only to a particular arrival time of the train?"

If you purchase a reserved seat, yes. You have the option to purchase tickets for the unreserved section that would be valid for any train of the route of that day.

By the way, JR East has an English iformation telephone line.
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/customer_support/infoline.html

"Also, at the NRT, can I already buy a train ticket going back to Akita from Sendai?"

Yes, but again, you have to specify a date of the ride.

I don't know anything about hotels, but JR Infoline can give you some advise, and you always have the option of having coffee at the 24 hour McDonald's Sendai-Higashi-guchi branch (the upper one on the map.)
http://www.mcdonalds.co.jp/shop/map/map.php?strcode=04520

"sounds pathetic huh?"

No, that sounds very practical. In fact, that's what I do all the time. But I hate (?) to say that the train ticket is ALWAYS available. Even reserved seats are most likely to be available. I think it's more practical to say that you should give up if the "concert" ticket is not available. Or to make it easier on you, why not give up if you can't find someone to accompany you?
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

social media 2011/1/5 15:20
Have you considered looking on facebook, livejournal, or other social media sites with fan communities for your band? You'll be more likely to find more fans there, and probably some who live in Japan might be attending the same show- more likely than you would on the school site anyway, since you can't really know if anyone at your school likes the same band. If the artist you're going to see if popular enough, there will undoubtably be other foreign fans there.

Also, I second the idea of staying over in Sendai after. It's a neat city, and there are plenty of places near the station/concert hall I'm sure- search for sendai youth hostel if you need cheaper options.

I go to concerts alone all the time (indies and majors)- I would never miss seeing an artist I love just because my friends are busy/poor/not interested. You will definitely regret it if you don't go!
by Vita (guest) rate this post as useful

! 2011/1/5 19:28
Uco ''You can just purchase the ticket when you're riding the train at Akita to go to Sendai. Also, you shouldn't be reserving seats, as there is a risk of missing trains.''

I thought of buying the train tickets at NRT which is roughly a month before departure because the departure date, May 7, comes after the last day of Golden Week which is, I guess, is May 5 and hence I thought it's safe to assume that May 7 will still be so crowded due to the aftermath of the ong holidays. Please enlighten me if this is not true because I also plan to stay at an inn for a night and if this is Golden Week, then I guess my chances of finding a room would be slim.

And I can't imagine myself spending the night at McDo. So maybe an inn would be a better idea. It's a matter of finding one.

To my utter surprise, my mom allowed me to go eventhough she knows I will be traveling and attending the concert alone. O.O

Maybe I have to explain to her a little bit more because I'm afraid that she was just having a good mood when I told her hahaha!

@Vita, thank you for the encouragement!very inspiring. you too Uco!

I just contacted the online shopping service and inquired if I can purchase a ticket through them they replied once and I Sent them another inquiry for follow up questions and they haven't replied and it's been two days.

I'm getting anxious. Maybe the heavens got tired of my indecisiveness that it's no longer allowing me to purchase the ticket and hence attend the concert.

Call it ridiculous but I swore to myself that if the shopping service won't send a message come Monday, maybe it's a ''sign'' that I should not go anymore.

PS: @UCO, I never thought you are a native Japanese! sugoii! :D
by lastmockingbird rate this post as useful

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