Bump of Chicken: Willpolis 2014

There were so many things to explain in the last post that the actual concert had to be left out. I’ll talk about it in three main parts again.

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My Bump of Chicken concert ticket, printed out from 7-11. Should I hide the price? Doesn’t matter, it was worth it (haha).

First, I have to mention that I was a little behind on the music for this concert. I loved Bump of Chicken’s last album, “Cosmonaut”–I’ve listened to it over and over. I was so happy when they sang, “Letters to an Astronaut,” which is one of their songs from that album.

With their new album, “RAY,” I knew some songs that they’d released videos for, like Niji wo Matsu Hito (People who wait for the rainbow), and Firefly, but I was so behind that I bought the album only a week before the concert, and just listened to it every day so I’d know any new song they played. I felt so much less committed than the other fans, like my friend, who knew the song “Danny”  that they’d played in small venues before they got big, and which they played at the concert. However, I really should get some points for all the times I’ve listened to Cosmonaut.

1. WRISTBANDS

I talked a lot about the towels and the shirt, but more than the towel or the shirt, I loved the wristbands!

When we came in, after security looked at our bags, we were each handed a different colored wristband. At first, it just looks like a regular wristband, but they all light up, and they’re switched on and off by a computer in back somewhere. When the band started to play a song, we all looked down as our wristbands lit up, and it was a pretty amazing moment, with the room was glowing with everyone’s different colored wristbands. (They’re also a good substitute for cell phones, since you’re not allowed to have them out during the concert so that you don’t take videos.)

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My wristband after the concert, before we were out of range and the lights went out.

2. THE STORYLINE

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Remember the blimp?

The blimp from the Bump of Chicken truck was part of the storyline for the concert! The concert was themed after a couple of explorers (or maybe just one) seeking “Will Polis,” which I think was a hidden city full of people of light (I think that’s what the “wills” are referring to–like souls, kind of). They showed the story as an animation on huge screens during the first song, before the band had even come on stage, while playing “Will” in the background. It was like watching a cutscene from Final Fantasy, and that’s all it took for me to fall completely in love with the concert before the band had even come out (haha). I can’t explain exactly how the story went, because I couldn’t catch it all in Japanese, but it was pretty amazing to watch–especially when they find the city.

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This is the CD and insert that I bought the week before the concert. It had illustrations or comics on several pages, depicting things that went on during the “opening scene” for the concert. It’s written in another language, I think French, which I’m sure most of us don’t understand, so I thought they must be trying to be secretive and make us think about what the story means…

3) THE BAND and the CONCERT

The band came down from the stage at one point and played on a much smaller stage that was set up in the back of the room. They introduced the members and joked around, and I tuned out for a few seconds and forgot to listen, as I realized I was understanding what they said and laughing along with everyone else. I realized how surreal it was, coming from knowing no Japanese and wanting so badly to understand everything in high school.

When you live in Japan and you’re studying Japanese, you can go through culture shock, feeling like you don’t fit in and feeling sad about that. (Okay. Maybe that’s just me.) I don’t know if it was when they were talking to their fans or when everyone was singing together, but I decided that it doesn’t really matter if I struggle to follow conversations sometimes, or if I make mistakes and get misunderstood. I wrote in my journal that I want to press forward and not give up, “and be misunderstood only when my thought process naturally doesn’t make sense, not when my Japanese doesn’t.”

At the end of the concert, they put up a message for us, and since the performance was over, everyone pulled out their phones and cameras and started snapping pictures before security started shooing us away. Here was their message to us!

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