A little over three and a half months ago, I found myself lying awake in the middle of the night in a hotel room on the other side of the planet with an aching feeling in my chest. Perhaps it was excess adrenaline from a long night of concerting or the full speed run to the station to get away from the incoming typhoon, but it was a feeling that didn’t go away until I finally fell asleep hours later from exhaustion. That night was the night of the final domestic concert of Toyama Nao’s first live tour and it was in every sense of the word, incredible.
This concert tour of hers, of which I was lucky to attend three nights, was – and this is no exaggeration – what most of this year was meant to lead up to for me. At the start of the year, with my graduation all but formalized, I wanted to decide on an area of focus for all the free time I now had. There were many paths that I contemplated splitting my time on but the two items that I eventually distilled the choices to were: studying Japanese and improving my writing through my blog. I bounced between these two for a couple months into the year before deciding that I really needed to focus on one. This was also the point at which the possibility of seeing my favorite seiyuu and singer live in concert fell into view. I figured that if I could get these tickets and somehow find myself in Japan this year, I should probably try and improve my Japanese. And so, I focused on my self-studies and the probability of new activity on the blog fell close to zero.
As you might be able to tell, I did manage to get those tickets and I did improve my Japanese (but only slightly). And then, I found myself traveling once again through a country I love to bits, but this time alone. Traveling alone is an interesting experience but the infrequent loneliness I felt was something that I would have liked to have done without. But I digress.
These three nights of concerts were the absolute highlights of my trip and although I was feeling some major monetary regret in the weeks leading up to the trip, I can now say that those regrets have long since disappeared. Naobou was every bit the incredibly charismatic, funny, and charming individual that I imagined her to be. Every odd joke, the banter with her beloved band, and her unrelenting love for her dancers was just so very Naobou and it was wonderful to see. I’m no stranger to the passionate atmosphere of a concert hall but the final day’s performance was filled with strangers that I really felt close to by the very end. These were all people that loved the songs, the goofy band, the amazing dancers, Naobou herself of course, and each other – for we all shared in the same niche love for a thing.
One of my favorite things about the trip was that I was able to meet and befriend a couple of these folk through some coincidental happenstance. Everyone that I got to meet was friendly and enthusiastic and I really wish I found more time to hang out with them.
In all likelihood, that sleepless night was a result of a burning desire to let something out – to sing the praises of this amazing thing that I got to experience, to just talk for hours about all the things that I loved about it, and to give my gratitude to everyone involved in creating such an unforgettable event. A couple years back, I didn’t consider myself a passionate fan by any measure and I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to be one. Passion was embarrassing. Passion made you stand out and with years of habitual meekness and hiding, it was an unnatural thing for me to be. But oh, how things have changed over such a short amount of time. It’s hard for me to say for sure but I think I might just be there now.
Right before the final song, Naobou asked us to remember this place of our collective happiness and to never forget this night we shared together. No matter what tomorrow may bring and no matter which road your life may take, this was a place that we found joy in celebrating what we love together – so keep this night in your memory so that you can take it with you as you move forward. This was as much as I gathered at least (with a little embellishment) but the heart of it was there. I don’t think that what I felt that night will ever quite leave me, even long after all the memories fade. It’s the best thing that I could ever have asked for on this spontaneous trip of a lifetime.
If you’ve made it to this point in the post, thank you very much for sitting through this incredibly self-indulgent trip down memory lane of mine. I’ll try to keep these contained within the twelve days if possible. Also, thanks to anyone still keeping up with little old me even with this year of inactivity. This may change in the new year but we’ll have to wait and see.
Happy holidays and thanks for reading,
This is my final post of twelve that I’ve written as part of this year’s 12 Days of Anime. Please do check out all other amazing writers that are participating in this year’s event here.