My First J-Pop Concert – Kalafina Arena Live at Kobe

September 10, 2016. I attended my very first live concert…my very first J-Pop concert…and my very first Kalafina concert. So many firsts for one splendid evening!

Years ago, I fell in love with a song called Hoshikuzu, by the composer Kajiura Yuki and sung by FictionJunction. I had been watching anime for years before that, but this one song was so beautiful and so ethereal, that I wanted to understand what they were singing about by myself and not rely on lyrics I find. Sounds fleeting a motive, but it was what gave me the final push towards enrolling in Japanese classes, something I’ve been thinking about for a while but never taking the final step.

Yuki Kajiura would go on to form the group, Kalafina, who would sing some of the best songs I’ve ever come across and I’ve followed them and all their songs from the very beginning.

To be able to listen to them live was a wish that had always felt too much like a dream. But listening to the song, Hoshikuzu, starting to learn Japanese and falling in love with that infuriating and exquisite language brought me to Japan.

恋しくて切なくて眠れない夜の星屑の集め方僕等は知ってる
We know how to collect the stardust from a yearning, lonely and sleepless night

I’m in Japan. Now what? I had absolutely no idea how to go about getting tickets. Fortunately, I found the links to the Lawson ticketing site on the Miyano Mamoru Blog (ugh not able to get tickets for Mamo-chan T_T….but I digress). It took me a good 2 hours to figure out that full-kanji website and then figure out all the weird and extremely complicated ways to get tickets. Anyway, lottery entered and amazingly I won tickets to the concert in Kobe. The next immediate problem was figuring out that machine which issues tickets and try not to think about how am I going to get myself to Kobe when I can barely figure out the subway route into the city. Somehow, I figured out the machine (thank goodness for the ever-patient Japanese) and pay and what I get is a ‘payment confirmation slip’. I have to do the whole thing again for the tickets soon. Ugh. 2 weeks later, process repeated and I actually have the tickets in my hand.

I got myself to Kobe on time..whew! The day of the concert! Finally! The plan was to go to some places in Kobe in the morning, eat Kobe beef for lunch and then head to the concert area. It was a good plan but the only problem was I couldn’t concentrate on anything except the concert. It is not something that I could’ve explained. I’ve waited, longed, years for this. The next time I have a concert in the evening, I’m going to find a good cafe, plug in my iPod and listen to songs till it is time to go to the concert!

I got to the concert hall an hour and half before the ‘doors open’ time and made a beeline to the goods area and what do I find? Half the things ‘sold out’. Ugh. I really need to step up my fangirl-mode in this gloriously obsessed country. Damn, I love this place. Still, I managed to get most of what I wanted, so I’m very happy! I have actual, exclusive live concert goods *faints*

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There didn’t seem to be any lines for entry but I really wasn’t worried. This was Japan, they’ll do it in an orderly fashion anyway. And I was quite right. The guides led us not only past the ticket gates in orderly rows but to the actual doors of the hall and if needed, to our seats. In my seat now and woah this hall is huge (and my friend pointed out, like an upturned boat)!! My seat was in the arena (not the stands) which was quite far away from the stage but right in the middle of the crowd which was amazing!

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哀しみも切なさも星屑に変える
Sadness and loneliness turns into stardust

6:00pm. The lights turn off except for the ones around the stage which slowly turn a beautiful deep purple, suffusing the whole hall (this made me ridiculously happy as I love purple and it reminds of Hitagi and Sin-chan *_*). Keiko came on to the stage in a brilliant, colourful, shiny kimono and started singing Areruya with no accompanying music. Her voice. Goodness. Nothing really compares to hearing them live, does it. Her voice was so beautiful and smooth and it was such a perfect start. Very soon, Wakana and Hikaru (yay Hikaru!!!) came on too!

I should have made a note of the songs they sang in order but I just couldn’t do anything except cheer and sing along. It was such a complete and overwhelming feeling to be in that arena. But I remember the best moments! Storia was so good and I didn’t expect them to sing Yami no Uta but it has such a fierce beat and it sounded brilliant. The new song, Blaze, was great too. Some of my favourite moments was when they sang Red Moon. I love that song so much, it is so dramatic and tragic. The whole arena being suffused with this blood red light during the rising crescendo of the finale of the song was surreal. I was so happy when they sang Hikari no Senritsu during the encore. It is not such a famous song, but it is my most favourite song, has beautiful and hopeful lyrics and it is my pick-me-up song. I love to sing that song at the top of my voice whenever I’m feeling a bit down!

THE MOMENT of the concert was when they sang Magia. When the haunting beginning started, it felt like an electric shock had run through me. This is the most perfect, surreal and mind-blowing song coupled with one of the most amazing stories ever told. With the crazily jumping lights and the rising and falling music with the perfect lyrics, it was absolutely mind-blowing to be there to hear it! (also all the MadoHomu feels ;_;). Almost all the songs having an anime background made the experience so much more emotional and complete for me as I kept remembering the anime scenes and endings!

The only thing I missed was wishing that they had sung Heavenly Blue too.

The concert was 2 hours non-stop followed by an 15 min encore. The girls were so cute during the breaks talking about their hobbies etc. Hikaru especially was running around the stage a lot and was so cute!! She spent a good 5 mins talking about the tote bag that they designed for the concert and it was so ridiculously cute. (Yes, I bought the tote bag, Hikaru-san..yey). When they came out for the encore, they came out in the middle of the arena and very close to me!! Woooo!! There was a lot of confetti at that time, though it didn’t fall anywhere near me and I had to scramble to get one off the floor before they swept it all away >.< (oh the things we do :P). It makes the best sort of souvenir though.

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(I bet you thought it would be a tiny piece of confetti :D)

My first live was amazing and overwhelming and absolutely wonderful. I loved the live music, the lights, the sounds, the atmosphere and being surrounded by so many people who love the same things as I do. I can’t wait to go to more live shows (yikes, now here is a costly hobby XD)!

Next goal: The Kalafina Christmas Concert!! YEY!!

懐かしい夜の星空の輝きが今もまだ残る……
The sparkle of the stardust from that nostalgic night
Still remains…

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