This was… strange at first, to say the least. Aside from pretty stressful – and not only because the bloody heels would not stay in place. First I had to get to the ANA Intercontinental on the subway. Roppongi itchome, which is the corresponding station, is beyond huge and I have bad memories of getting lost there. Fortunately I’ve learnt to read about exits by now and was able to actually exit from a rightish one (read: the one marked ANA Intercontinental, which is actually not the closest one. Because reasons).
Anyways. ANA Intercontinental Tokyo is a super posh hotel in the middle of Roppongi which also hosts events. In this case, Gackt’s party. I was attending the evening show, without any clue of what may or may not happen.
The dress code was “appropriate for weddings” but in the end it would have done with “formal”, and I needn’t have stressed as much about it. I was right to stress about entrance, as once again, I was “to receive my ticket at the venue”. Problem: to get to the venue you had to show your ticket.
There was a very nice man blocking the stairs and asking for tickets. I tried to explain that I was to collect my ticket downstairs, and he walked down with me to double-check. After a few minutes, and digging the zen desk emails out, I was allowed to remain downstairs and then proceed to Reception when it opened. The throne from Setsugekka the previous day was there, but the line was immense. Foolish of me, I thought I might be able to get to it after the event.
To one side goods were on sale, because it’s not a Gackt event if he cannot get all your money. To the other were the flowers. At the end of the waiting area there were the costumes used the day before, although no pictures allowed, sorry. I still don’t understand how he was able to move with all the plastic in the outfit for the first part.
Finally reception opened and we could register. This involved, in my case, checking that it was me with my emails, passport and Lovers ID card, and receiving my ticket. It was then stamped. The stamp proved that I was who I said I was (the stamp was a cute gakuchi). The local fans only had to show proof of identity to get their tickets stamped. I was on table 18, seat 3.
The previous party finished about 40 minutes late and we went in with almost an hour delay. The room was pretty huge, with round tables of about 8-10 people and a waiter per table. All very fancy. The menu, the ticket with our name printed on it, and the present were waiting for us.
The first part of the event was a super fancy dinner with an entree, soup, fish (salmon), meat (beef) and chocolate dessert and coffee. The Orchestra DVD played in the background. I was seating next to two obnoxious girls , but to the other side there was a cool Israeli woman with whom I could strike up conversation.
At around 20.15 maybe, we were done with food and the guests of honour arrived. The MC, whose name escapes me, did a joking introduction trying to sing ‘One More Kiss’ with disastrous result. Then he called over the dancers first, then the bandmembers and then Gackt himself. They all crossed the whole salon, but Gackt was the only one who needed ‘bodyguards’ even if some girls even fell trying to get to some dancers.
He was wearing a black suit with a shirt and a black tie with a silvery cross. Thankfully the perm was gone but he had some kind of weird toupee on his hair. He was wearing short boots and sunglasses. The rest of the crew was in different levels of suits. And seriously, You has become illegal. He DOES look that young from up close 0.0
Once they were all on stage they played a drinking game, with Gackt’s wine, playing on it being very strong. I’m still not sure whether it was intentional or not, but the waiter bringing the glasses out was out ahead of time and he was made to drink too. Then they dipped the wine on someone’s eyes because Gackt is such an evil being.
After the drinking game was over, there was a short video of Gackt abusing Yousuke, which seems to be one of his new favourite things in the world. Afterwards, they played some card game, which has a name in several languages and all of them escaped me. In Japanese I think they called it “Obaba”. In the game you discard pairs of cards until everything in the hand is gone. But there is a wild card and the person who keeps this is the winner. You have to get cards from other people to make pairs and discard the cards.
They also had several jokers, among them the one named ‘Daiso’. The person who had the wild card had to give it to the person who claimed Daiso. Another option was to make the next person give you a card, or to have someone get cards from someone else instead of the corresponding partner. All quite weird.
The first game was Takumi, Yuki, Chacha and Val. Chacha and Val were tied for 6 rounds until Val won. The second round was Gackt, You, Yousuke and Val again (by the way, Val still had no voice). Then we placed a bet per table. If the table got the winner right, each person would get a postcard. Then among all the winners, they would raffle the cute cat gakuchi.
My table chose Val for some weird reason, and of course we did not win, because Gackt came out victorious.
When the card game was over the winning tables got their postcards and then they had to stand up and turn away from the stage. Gackt would count to five and show a number with his fingers. The people would have to choose a number with their fingers too as he was counting. The ones who did not get the number right were out. The game ran twice as the first time nobody won. The second time, one round was down to two participants so Gackt asked them if they wanted to keep a gakuchi each. They both accepted and got to receive the plush from him and shake his hand.
After this we watched a video of the bandmembers and dancers sitting some kind of test to find the greatest ‘vaka’ in the staff. While they started, for some reason though Gackt and Takumi were somewhere else and went in late. Gackt had three drinks and two phones on his table because… He’s Gackt I guess, and finished first.
In the party we got to review some of the best wrong answers, even if some of them made perfect sense. Some examples were naming a picture of Obama, whom Chacha named ‘Madoka’ (I guess this makes sense as the whole venue agreed?), identifying a Petri dish (they asked the audience who knew what that was. About half of them raised hands) or translating from English. Chacha answered “21” to the question “century” and someone else named Exile members when they had to translate that. Fun.
In the end, Gackt was the best one and dance Yuki was crowned the Greatest ‘vaka’ (there was a pun here with LVL = Last Visual Live or something ‘Vaka’ something). This involved him taking off his jacket and shirt, and the rest of the dancers taking off his trousers in order to dump a cape and a crown on him. The was much screaming involved, which once again made the whole dressing up a bit strange. By this time it was way past 23.00 – the party was supposed to end at 21.30. Whoops? This arose another problem – last trains. Some people would have to leave before the party finished if they wanted to get home. I was one of them (T^T).
I still got to see how Gackt blew his candles and we sang ‘Happy Basuday Dear Gakuto’ at the top of our lungs, of course, because it is just what you do for parties. Then Gackt gave a little speech.
He thanked the band and the fans and it was also very lovely. Then were the video messages then with Golden Bomber’s Sho first, Daigo next… And I’m told Hyde and Yoshiki later, because I had to run for my last train. I considered staying but a taxi home (besides, my keys were in a coin locker in the station. Lesson Learnt) was too expensive and I had no idea of where to find a karaoke, nor could I afford an night at the hotel. The party was over at 23.15, four minutes after my train had already departed. Pout.
Balance. I don’t think I’d do it again, and as one in a lifetime experience, it was great, albeit the stress of the first part. The Overseas Fanclub status still has to be smoothed over, but it was all in good fun, and I was happy I got so close to the stage. But damnit Gackt, train awareness, please, so that next time that is not going to happen I can stay till the end!