Tokyo 7th Sisters 1st Anniversary Live 15'→34'~H-A-J-I-M-A-L-I-V-E-!!~ took place on the 31st of May at Zepp TOKYO. Hopefully you had the chance to read our introduction to Tokyo 7th Sisters. If not, you can find it here. I do recommend you give it a quick glance to familiarise yourself with the performers.
As mentioned in the intro, fallingcirno and myself were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the live. We didn't see or hear any other gaijin at the venue, so we were probably the only ones. As such, we wanted to take this chance to document not only the live itself, but also the process and preparation that went in as a reference for newer shihainin.
Most of this post is going to be boring for experienced eventers. Feel free to skip through or skip it entirely.
Nowadays, ticketing for these kinds of lives is handled via a number of rounds of lottery, followed by general sales. Of course, T7S was no exception. The Play Guide (this is the lottery system, essentially), was CN Play Guide, which isn't as well known as some other ones, and there were two rounds of lotteries (first for premium tickets, then regular tickets) followed by regular sales.
The way lotteries work for these events is you apply for a certain number (usually between 1 and 4) of tickets, and then once entries close and results are generated, you find out whether you won or not. Sometimes, you may need to purchase something (e.g. a CD) to get a serial code that you use to apply, but in this case, applications were free for all.
During the application, you also specify your payment method and collection method. Most play guides allow you to pay via a variety of means, including credit card, bank transfer, and conbini payment. For us foreigners, bank transfer is out of picture. Credit card is great if you have one, but not all systems will accept foreign cards. Conbini payment is the most friendly because you can ask any person in Japan to go to a conbini and make the payment on your behalf as long as they have the necessary codes (if you win, you'll usually get emailed a serial code). Collection can be done via delivery or also via conbini. Take a guess as to which is most foreigner-friendly.
Luckily for us, we had a group of fellow shihainins who entered the lottery along with us for tickets, so we were able to snag two premium tickets for the both of us.
This trip was actually my first weekender to Japan, so it was a bit nerve-wracking for me. My preparation for the live didn't deviate too much from standard live preparation, with the exception that I had to pack for a weekend trip too.
For starters, one of the first things you should do before attending a live is to revise the songs. For 2 or so weeks before the live, the T7S songs were basically the only thing I had on my playlist. The first full album wasn't released until just over a week before the live, and a few of the songs in that were new to me, so that revision was definitely needed.
After learning the songs, you should learn the calls. Calls and furi are kind of a voluntary crowd participation in songs. You don't have to do them or know them, but if you do, it's a whole new experience. Instead of being an observer to the live, you feel more like a part of it. There are a number of English guides about calls already, like this good iDOLM@STER related one written by SeraphP. The basic calls and furis are quite common across different idol franchises, although individual songs may have specific calls, so you can learn them from anywhere.
For T7S, the calls for songs were not and still are not formally decided, but the base rhythm is quite easy to catch and follow along with once you are there and you're already familiar with common idol song furis and calls. In future, once calls have been decided, there may also be people who will make and distribute (usually for free) a call book, which is essentially a guidebook containing all the relevant
If you're familiar with any other idol show, be it iM@S, LoveLive!, Aikatsu!, PriPara or anything else, there are well-established calls for their songs already. Pick one you're familiar with, look the calls, get a feel for how they sync up with the rhythm and beat. You can always copy what the guy in front of you is doing, if all else fails.
Now, if you follow our expert advice and do calls and furis at the live, you're going to find that it's actually very exhausting. Make sure you train your stamina a bit before the live. You can do this by just doing the calls to a live video (blu-ray or whatever), or going jogging and then pumping some weights. Most of the work is done by your arms, but you will be jumping too, so you can't only train your arms.
On the day of the live, you also want to make sure you get plenty of fluids to drink and a couple of bites to eat so you don't pass out. This time, the live was at Zepp Tokyo, which charges a 500 yen drink fee upon entry (this is clearly advertised on ticketing sites). As it's name implies, you get a drink, but it's usually a somewhat small bottle. It's strongly advised that you bring your own drink(s) into the venue, and eat before you even enter the venue.
The final thing to pay attention to is your gear. By gear, I mean the stuff you're wearing, bringing, or equipping to the live. A live is a good chance for you to show off your swag and how much of a nerd you are. Wear any related T-shirt you have, bring all your can badges, keychains, etc.
Well, you can if you want, but you don't have to. It's actually more practical to come in something easy to move. I prefer to wear a T-shirt and cargo shorts in summer or trousers in colder weather.
You do want to have a penlight or two though, otherwise you're not going to be able to do calls. It's usually also a good idea to have a muffler towel. Some songs (not T7S ones yet) are designated as "towel songs" and their furis consist of swinging and waving your towel around. Penlights were briefly mentioned in SeraphP's post, and this all ties quite nicely into the next section.
I mentioned earlier that there may be call books distributed at lives. This time, as calls had not been finalised, there wasn't one, but instead there was this free unofficial doujin which was a live guide for beginners. The right is a page describing what you want to bring to a live. It was published by @akonichin and @hoshinoouka.
Finally, this is strictly optional, but you might want to consider bringing some kind of name card. This is from the iDOLM@STER Producer culture of exchanging business cards, but it has been adopted into a lot of other fandoms due to the fact that it's actually quite handy to be able to exchange contact details by exchanging a small card. This is what my card looks like:
支配人名刺出来ました！ pic.twitter.com/wnFk5iYQr6— 【平均的】southrop (@southro_p) May 27, 2015
Live Goods (Buppan)
At most lives nowadays, it is common for goods for the artist to be sold before the live. This is known as buppan (物販), which translates to "goods sales". Depending on the scale of the live, "before" can vary from months before to hours before. For lives for franchises as big as iM@S and LoveLive!, they hold online pre-sales months before the live actually starts, but they also always have sales on the days of the live.
In the case of T7S, buppan happened on the day of the live. The staff were actually rather unorganised in announcing this, and waited until the last week before actually announcing the details. Even then, they omitted the starting time and only announced that until very late Friday night (Japan time), by which time I was already on the plane to Japan.
In any case, at buppan, it's common to see goods like T-shirts, penlights, muffler towels, a live pamphlet, and some trinkets. There may or may not also be a kuji (lottery/lucky draw). The items that were sold at the T7S buppan are detailed here.
This fits in perfectly with my previous section on Gear, because it means you can buy your swag there and then on the day! Don't have a T7S T-shirt? No problem! Pick one up! Same for that T7S penlight! You get the idea.
Anyway, that was a really brief run down on preparing for a live that I hope will be useful to people who haven't been to one before. If you do have any further questions, feel free to ask on Twitter or in the comments here.
Look forward to the actual Live report!