I just got back from Osaka. Well, I was there during the time of the concert but didn't attend it. As I always say, Arashi concert experience isn't something you can buy with money, sadly. It's not enough to have willingness and ability to pay - you need some other things as well. Oh well... I guess something cannot be helped.
However, I did get a chance to walk around the Kyocera dome during those days. Also got a chance to be in line - in rain and wind - for concert goods. It's a little strange experience. There are a few things I would like to make notes. Something that kind of leave an impression on me. I guess I will just list them here.
First, a while ago, that news on Ohno's having a live-in girlfriend left me with an unexpected reaction. Funnily, I felt a bit unsettle about the news at first. I always expect Arashi member to have a secret girlfriend/partner hidden somewhere, seriously. But when it came to actually hearing the news, I was totally taken by surprise and a bit unprepared. This is really weird. I think I would feel happier if it were Aiba or Nino... but when it's Ohno... well, my reaction was just strange. My sister joked that I probably actually like Oh-chan a lot more than I let on. LoL Personally, I think it's just the matter of expectation. The person in Ohno's news was rather entertainment industry-like, I was clearly wrong to presume something else.
Not that it really mattered. I ended up feeling sorry for Ohno having to apologize to Arashi's fans for the news. I did not get it. What's the problem about someone as likable like Ohno having a girlfriend? I seriously did not understand. -- That is until I went to Osaka and lined up in the queue for concert goods at 8 AM on the first day of concert. There were soooooo many people there - like in thousands - What the hell?!?, it's not even the start time of the goods sale yet - the sale would begin at 9 AM. I was completely surprised. And then it rained. And it's quite cold (in the 10s, i think). But people were just waiting in the line patiently. The line moved quite slowly and I ended up being there for over two hours. All the while admiring and being in awe to the level of dedication these fans had for Arashi (me does not really count - i was in line for the experience and the calendars - and I intended to buy A LOT of stuffs. In other words, my transaction cost per item was pretty low.) Right then, I kind of understand why Ohno cannot have a girlfriend, even if the majority of fans say it's OK, as long as there are a few percentages that opposes to the idea - for whatever reason. Even someone as cold and unsentimental like me, I would not have the heart to hurt their feelings knowing that these people care for you this much. And I am not even actually on the receiving end of these streams of loves, cares and well-wishes. Surely I cannot begin to comprehend the level of gratitude Arashi is supposed to be feeling for their supporters. How can they do anything to disappoint these people?
That's also the time when I seriously felt sorry for Arashi. Poor guys. Because people love you so much, you are never going to be free to do a lot of things. Also, you are expected to be and to do a lots of things you may or may not want. Love always comes with expectation - be it an explicit expectation like no gf, no bad behaviors, or a seemingly unconstrained expectation like please be happy (personally, I think being happy is harder than other specific requirements.) Is this why Ohno wanted to quit before? It must be overwhelming.
Of course, I am not saying it's entirely a bad thing. There are very few who get a chance to stand on the receiving end of these highly dedicate supporters. I understand it's really fortunate, something to be cherish, appreciate and gratified. Yet, I have a rather normal and carefree life - I cannot imagine surviving in that situation - how constrained a person must feel... and all that burden.. Oh no..
I guess I am happy, very happy for Arashi. But also, poor guys. I really wish them all the happiness they can get, I really do.
That leads to something from their current tour I want to mention. I have been reading fan reports here and there. One thing that rather stood out, is that there are some really worrisome issues during this concert. First is Aiba's and Jun's solo. I guess I do understand that they want the show to be wonderful. It does look really exciting and spectacular - Aiba hanging on the fabric robe doing whatever yoga-ish thing he did (climbing up the robe and such) and Jun running and jumping Parkour style - but it looks like something that would give me a heart-attack. Especially when I saw a photo of one of Jun's jump, I almost fainted. My god... do you really REALLY need to do that?!? I was genuinely concerned. Of course, I really do appreciate their intentions, especially Jun's, to make the concert as awesome as possible. But seriously, you are giving us a heart attack. >_<
Ohno and Jun said some strange stuffs during MCs. Ohno was saying something about not being able to show all the faces, ie. his true feelings, and Jun was mentioning about his haters (poor Jun, I guess he did try so hard to make himself likable - see how he changes so much in ni Shiyagare). Really, they did not sound very happy. And that seemed to unsettle the fans. Back to what I said earlier, poor them.
It's Japanese Idols, huh? I guess there is so much I need to learn from such an unfamiliar concept.