It’s been just over four years since I’ve discovered Japanese music. A life changing event no doubt about it, but I’ve already told that story. The following is instead, a short about my latest trip to Japan. It’s just about Thanksgiving and so it’s time for my annual pilgrimage. I almost didn’t make it out here this year, but the calling from my second home was too strong.

First on tap for this trip was a train ride to Osaka, to see one of my favorite groups, Tokyo Jihen. “Discovery,” well that’s the name of their 2011 tour. As some may recall, this isn’t my first time seeing Shiina and crew, as I saw them on tour last year. This go ’round however, I felt more prepared than I was last time and what can I say, the Incidents didn’t dissapoint.

Got to the concert hall a few hours early after a bit of sightseeing; not too early though I guess, as they already had things setup to where you could buy goods. I had taken a little bit of a peak online to see what types of things they’d be selling, but actually seeing all of it, I was a bit overwhelmed. It’s not that there was a lot more than there was last time, but there was a lot of variety. In any case, I just grabbed a couple of flags, a t-shirt and a keychain.

Tokyo Jihen Discover Tour Flag

Tokyo Jihen Discover Tour Flag

The flags are bright green, with Tokyo Jihen’s logo on them they really stand out. As with last time there would be much flag waving; it’s simple, yet a fun way to be involved with the others attending the concert, at the same time involved with what is happening on stage.

After buying my goods I was approached by a girl who was handing out cards, with an apple and a date on them. 2011/11/25. A note on the card indicated that that was Shiina Ringo’s birthday. Didn’t know that was coming up, so, Happy Birthday! Anyway, I was asked to write a message on the card, which I did; a mix of English and Japanese as I usually do when I fill out things like that. I like being involved with little things like that.

A couple hours of waiting and the doors opened up. My seats were decent enough and I had a pretty good, clear view of the stage. The stage was setup a bit larger than I remember they used for their last tour, and for good reason. I’d say that they were a lot more dynamic and there was a lot more movement on stage this time. This concert had a lot more energy I think.

Things opened up with a big screen where there was some animated, almost meteor like things crashing down. The screen was setup so that you could see behind it, quite clearly, but at the same time the things projected onto it were pretty clear too. So as these things are crashing down, Tokyo Jihem come out and start playing their first tune.

The music selection was awesome. You can’t go wrong with much of their songs anyway, but I feel that the setlist here was pretty great. There were a couple of songs I hadn’t heard before. I think one or two of them, from what I read, were new songs from Shiina. Anyway, just a few songs I wanted to being attention to. Himitsu for DJ – Awesome! The part in particular that I’m talking about is from Ukigumo, the guitarist’s rap. There was a screen brought up behind him, and stairs illuminated showing his name as he and their pianist came down front and rapped a bit about his guitar. After which Ukigumo climbed up the stairs and gave his little guitar solo. The energy and how it was all set up was just great. The audience was really into it too.

The last two songs I wanted to make mention of were during the encore. Gunjou Biyori, one of my favorite songs. It was a little, remixed I guess. This version was interesting, but not so different that it still was unejoyable. After that they played Atarashii Bunmeikaika, another one of my favorites. It was a great song to end the concert on with a lot of energy and cheers. It’s like things ended with the old (Gunjou) and the new (Atarashii), a great selection.

One final note is on the costume changes. There were what, three or four changes from what I can recall. Seemed like many more than the one that they had during their last tour. The costumes were great, and one that stood out was Shiina’s Native American looking headdress she was wearing towards the end.

Overall, great show; awesome show. While their last tour was great, this one seemed to have taken that greatness and made many more improvements to produce a much better show. I had fun and look forward to whatever Shiina Ringo and Tokyo Jihen have in store for us in the future.

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