On Cons, Japan, IDOLM@STER

Rather than the usual newsletter I just want to throw this out there to organize some thoughts and info. It’s also an update on my personal leisure time as whatever they’re called, for however much left that I have spent not on family or work-related things. Or watching anime–I guess I am in the middle of a Made in Abyss marathon.

To segue from that, I’m trying to catch a glimpse of Mariya Ise at Otakon 2022, down at o’ Washington DC. Consider this an open jiao if you catch me. Maybe try me at the “official” off-venue rave? Since Aniparty is there.

Otakon is throwing a big k-pop show on Friday and a music affair on Sunday, with Kaoru Wada back in town with his musician friends like Yuki Hayashi (who was at AnimeNYC last November). There’s also a rock act Saturday. The busy weekend probably got a lot going on that I’m not even aware of. I looked at their Guidebook just now and there is conflict city all Saturday. It is terrible honestly.

I am also trying to figure out how to go to Japan, now that it’s open to some tourists, plus people who can apply and get an entry certificate to get a visa. Everybody needs a visa to go to Japan now, besides people who can “re-entry” and other citizen-types. Yes, it makes going to Japan a lot more expensive and a lot more difficult, if just the fact that going as a tourist means registration and monitoring, plus nobody knows what happens if you actually catch COVID (or rather, besides mandatory quarantine and tour cancellation). For people going to concerts this is a brand new world. It’s possibly also a fleeting situation since you never know if another variant will occur and rewrite the rules like how Omicron did during Delta’s reign last winter.

The answer that I figured out thus far is that you can do a private tour. It’s doable, it isn’t cheap, but it’s feasible. So I’m going to try to do one and see how it is and let you guys know. I can say for sure it’s “not the answer” anyone is looking for already, but it is a solution to some problems one person may have. If you have a lot of money that you want to burn, this may be it if you can also physically endure the “tourist in Japan” part as that’s mandatory. For people who just want to go to a lot of lives and stay nerdy in between concerts, this is not it, because again, you need to do tours. If you want to just hole in your hotel room, this is not it. If you want to enjoy Japan frugally, this is not it. If you want to meet friends, this probably is not it unless your friends are not picky about you being a part of a monitored tour and can adopt to your schedule. Furthermore, I’m not even sure if this is kosher by the terms of the tourist agreement set by the Japanese government. Sort of just going based on what I was told here.

There are a lot of risky “downsides” as well given that the high level of operational standard required for foreign tourists in Japan. It’s got extra chance of tour cancellation and forced quarantine, for example. It’s not really “fun” and really the tourist program Japan put in place is just to save face as a G7 country still practicing its xenophobic isolation policies in the name of COVID prevention.

This is really for people who absolutely need to go to Japan for that One Thing. Like, to segue nicely into the next topic, the next “Master of Idol World” or as the announce has it, a five-brand concert next February at Tokyo Dome. On the bright side it is for sure they will stream it and probably even do theatrical live viewings overseas (in HK/TW/KR). But, yeah, I really want to go. I also really want to go to the Million Live show next January. This is gonna be rough.

So yeah, it is suboptimal, to use a nice word, but such is the state of things. As the latest variant of Omicron rages, cons are back. It’s timely and it’s got various levels of risk, but it is what we got in this post-COVID world.

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