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  • Aozora de Aishiteru (July 27)

    Event Aozora de Aishiteru
    Mariko Kouda Special Summer Live 97
    Location Yomiuri Land
    Date 1997.07.27
    Time ??
    GuestsKouda Mariko (Ԣĥޥ)
    Cost ??
    • Event report Joe Petrow, 1997.07.27

    I suffered greatly at last night's Kouda Mariko concert; sitting in the rain for several hours, wearing wet clothes for a couple more, wrecking my socks, my fingernails, and most everything in my backpack, and now I think I'm coming down with something. In other words, I wanted to do it all again!

    First, I had to raise money, since I was broke. So I took a bunch of old CD's and doujinshi, and hocked them at K-Books. With about 8500 yen and a much lighter load, I headed off to Yomiuri Land.

    I knew I could get a seat on the grass seats waaay in the back for 4500 yen, but I decided to press my luck and try for something better with a scalper. It wasn't hard to spot a seedy looking guy waiting right outside the station. Our conversation went something like this:

    Joe: You got Kouda Mariko tickets?
    Man: Yeah, good ones.
    Joe: How much?
    Man: How much you willing to pay?
    Joe: How much you want?
    Man: They're good seats...I'll sell them for 10000.
    Joe: I only have 7000.
    Man: They're good seats.
    Joe: I only have 7000.
    Man: Alright, 7000.

    So I figure we both won in this situation, since I got the tickets for less than he wanted, and he would have probably been willing to sell them for less than 7000.

    Since I was by myself, I was able to get a better seat than last time, tenth row off to the right, probably half the distance to the stage that I was before. I calulated I had about enough money to get a Coke, so that had to do for my souvenir for the day (I have 40 yen left until tomorrow..)

    About an hour before show time the guy next to me came and introduced himself. He was a hearty brand of "blue collar otaku", the kind of which I hadn't really associated with much before. He wore sandals, camaflouge pants, and a sleeveless denim jacket with no shirt, and a sort of crew cut hair style. We talked over the next hour, and I found out he didn't finish high school, and was some sort of manual laborer. But he was a huge Kouda Mariko fan, and spoke glowingly of the hope she gives, and what a great selfless person she was. When we talked about my favorites, I told him about being a Hisakawa Aya fan, and how I liked her ever since seeing Aa Megamisama. He then turned around and showed me the back of his jacket, which had a big hand drawing of Belldandy, with a "Belldandy's Angels" label. He said that Inoue Kikuko was probably tied with Mariko as his favorite, and talked long and loud about what a great person she was too. It's amazing to see the true power that seiyuu, and idols in general have over some people here. In the Western world, people find religion to ease their pain; here, they find idol singers.

    There are lots more cameras than last night, and I soon realize that they are filming this concert for a TV special, that will be on WOWOW BS-5 on August 15th (23:00-24:00) It may have been my imagination, but the camera seemed to be pointed on me a lot of times, so maybe I'll make the broadcast.

    Right at 6:15pm again, the concert begins. It's rather cloudy, with some strange looking clouds flying by at high speed, but unlike last night it never rains, and there are actually patches of clear sky to be found. Kouda Mariko starts her set just like last night; I don't think a blizzard could affect that woman's outward mood. My blue-collar otaku neighbor is the polar opposite of Hitoshi, possibly the loudest, most obnoxious fan there. He got Mariko's (or "Marime", as her apparent pet name goes...) attention on several occasions ("MARIME KIREI!!", "KOUDA-SAN AISHITERU!", etc...), so I'm sure she saw me there too.

    Maybe I'll do an event report someday, but for now I'll just sum it up by saying that all the songs were exactly the same as last time, but without the rain, everything came off a lot better. The funniest moment was when a roadie tried to run out to get something, but slipped, slid, and knocked a big light off the stage! Fortunately Mariko and the band covered pretty well, keeping the fans attention while all that was getting taken care of.

    Mariko let her guard down a little more this time, but didn't suffer any major breakdowns. She said concerts felt like a wedding ceremony to her, then trailed off saying something about how she wouldn't be having one anytime soon (to which my neighbor shouted "GAMBARE! FIGHT-O!") She also made the strange comment that having a concert outdoors as opposed to in a hall made her feel like everyone was closer to her.

    As she did last night, she announced some of her upcoming projects. Her 6th single "Kaze ga Tomaranai" comes out on September 3rd, and then on September 25th (I think), she releases her 4th album titled...(wait for it...) "Nande datteba" Why is that the title? "Datte nande datteba dakara!" Of course. Oh, she also announced a concert for sometime this winter.

    Anyway, if anything did go wrong during this concert (other than roadie mishaps) I couldn't tell. By the encore, the blue-collar otaku had a river of tears streaming down his face, and she certainly had the crowd wrapped around her finger. I once thought she wasn't a very emotional person like Aya, but I was wrong. She just has much better control of her emotions. She's not going to break down and cry during a song, but she will give at least 100% at all times, and put on her best face for her fans at all times no matter how she feels.

    While Kouda Mariko doesn't send me sailing down my own river of tears, she is a very talented artist, who puts on a great show, and probably has a permanent #4 spot in my rankings. I look forward to seeing her again in the winter.

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