Japan expo : Yoshiki Hayashi + VAMPS

Friday, 7 August 2015

Today i'm sharing my first ever experience at an anime convention.
As a teenager, it was my dream to someday set foot at the Japan Expo convention in Paris and to experience its energy.

My expectations were quit low compared to what I saw.


I was fascinated by the amount of themes, to see so many people gathered together to share similar hobbies such as: anime, drawing, japanese culture, japanese music and of course cosplay.

Cosplay is the art of dressing as an anime/non anime character, artist and sometimes even creatures.
I was a joy to see all those smiling faces of people having fun in their own way without being judged or considered as a "loser" or"ridiculous".

I went to several arcades and it was honestly difficult to decide what to buy or see first.
However, I have tried to squeeze my journey with the following:

-There were several arcades with goodies, items, cosplay furniture, wigs, it was almost impossible for me to decide what to take since there were so many.
-Scenes were broadcasting new games, live drawings from japanese artists and even interviewing singers for the joy of all J-music fans.
-Although it's cute a huge place, there are enough arcades to get informed on where to go, plus the map that is offered at the entrance. It is quite simple, the roads are composed of carpets with several colours, which makes it easier to know if you're going the right way.
-There is enough security, nurse rooms, resting areas outside and Inside in case you're tired or feeling unwell.  I went on a saturday, which is one of the busiest day of the 4 journeys.

Concerts + Meeting Yoshiki  Hayashi:

Hitomi Kuroishi performing: innocent days
I waited for Yoshiki's appearance. The hall was incredibly huge and I was stunned when the host declared that we were at least 15.000 people in that one hall of Japan Expo. I have never been in such a crowded place and it felt quite impressive to see that huge public.
He then announced to my greatest surprise that Hitomi Kuroishi was going to perform in the next minutes.
I wasn't aware of her show on the program but it was a mega bonus for me.
She is one the female japanese singers that I enjoy the most for her unique voice and songs.  Her tracks can be heard in the anime : Code Geass ( one of my favourite animes ). The lyrics are sometimes in an unknown language but it brings a touch of uniqueness and fictional atmosphere.

Afterwards, Yoshiki Hayashi made his entrance to announce the upcoming release of X-Japan's new album + concert in London on the 12march 2016 at the London Wembley Arena.
Needless to say that I was overjoyed as it had been a wish since I was a teenager. While the band had seperated, I secretly hoped that they would come back together and that I would get the chance to live such concert.

After that, I left the concert hall, just as I was about to head for the VAMPS concert and wait with the fans,  I received a message that Yoshiki san was giving an interview at a short distance from where I was. I ran and looked on the map, and searched until I finally stumbled on him, a few feets away from me. Seeing someone, that I've been supporting for so long, and that has brought so much happiness with his work, in front of me and so close is always an odd feeling that I can not explain with words. I trembled, holding the flowers in my hands and watched as he stood there talking with the journalists.
There were some lovely fans next to me, smiling at my emotional state and when he was done, he walked to us, I seized my chance and approached him to hand him the flowers. He took them with a huge smile and thanked me. I had a few moments with him and to feel his touch made me realise that I wasn't dreaming.

VAMPS performing Revolution

Seeing him just made me happier and I waved him good-bye before rushing back to my friends who were waiting for me for VAMPS concert. We managed again to reach the front row. Japan Expo was the best chance for the band to acquire a new public, it turns out the stage was much fuller compared to the previous bands which made the fun much greater.

Songs of the new album had been played including my favourite: Vampire's love and also from the previous album such as : Revolution, Devil side, Sex Blood Rock'N'Roll... Even though it was a show case, I was very happy to relive this concert with the same people I had met in Paris at Olympia.
VAMPS had gained all the attention for their live performance, their energy, and the close bond they had with fans. From all over the world, they had come to see them and at each evening, it always started with the greeting : "Tadaima!" and "Okaeri!"

Tadaima is usually used when the person announces that he's back (home ), and Okaeri is the response to the greeting.

At each concert, it feels like this, like a huge family gathering to live great moments.
The same applies for Japan Expo if you think about it. It's a huge and friendly gathering of creative people, from all ages, from teenagers to sometimes business men/women, who seize these 4days to be who they are.

One of the advice I might give you about the convention, be sure to bring some snacks and water if you don't wish to spend on expensive meals. Some of the goods can also be quite expensive, keep in mind that a good 200 euros could be sufficient.

Hopefully my review was just enough to give you an idea about Japan Expo. I hope you will have just as much fun as I had if you go there.

See you soon.

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