If you thought this year’s Tokyo Idol Festival was crazy with 138 groups performing over 2 days in Odaiba, @JAM EXPO which was taken place in August 31 was equally overwhelming with 100 groups performing as well as a mini sports festival in one day! With seven stages tightly packed into Yokohama Arena on an unseasonably cool day, accessing your favorite idols was considerably easier. However, for a fan of many different idol groups, how to see all the groups that they want to see, was an issue just as it was with TIF. Even if you could justify skipping a few groups you already saw at TIF, there were still several dozen groups to choose from!
In addition to the seven stages, there were the meet and greet areas on the 1st and 3rd floors, talk stage on the 2nd floor, and the mini sports festival on the 4th floor. As if that weren’t enough, with so many idols concentrated in one arena, it seemed as if every few seconds a group of them would walk by on their way to and from the various appointments they had during the day. If you weren’t paying attention, Lovely★Doll, Sakura Gakuin, or Tsuribit could have been walking right past you before you realized it. Just remember that fans in Japan are polite and do not go out of their way to bother those that they are fans of.
It was pretty impressive to see the diverse mix of fans assembled for @JAM EXPO. While there were the conspicuous legions of UPUPGIRLS (KARI), Sakura Gakuin, PASSPO☆, Babyraids, SUPER☆GiRLS, Tokyo Girls’ Style, and Dempagumi.inc fans, quite a few could seen walking around showing their support for the lesser known rural groups as well. We met a young fan that came all the way from Nagoya who couldn’t stop grinning when he showed us that he got all the members of Yamaguchi Kessei Gakuen to sign his “I am Idol” shirt. It seemed like regardless of who was on stage, there were several dozen fans at the front of the stage who knew all the lyrics to the songs along with the correct “furi copy” and appropriate call and responses. During CAMOUFLAGE’s Grape Stage performance, several fans got on each other’s shoulders and copied the 4-person lift being performed on stage verbatim!
As far as some interesting pieces of news from the events go: Sakura Gakuin welcomed back Yui and Moa after their whirlwind tour of Europe and the US with Babymetal. Pla2me unveiled another song “Too Misery”. JKT48 sang “Heavy Rotation” in Japanese and taught the audience a few greetings in Indonesian. As mentioned earlier, there were seven stages plus the talk area and the sports festival so stay tuned as we are still getting all of our reports in order.
Festivities came to an end in the main arena with a performance of the @JAM EXPO 2014 theme song “Yume no Suna ~ a theme of @JAM~” by the @JAM Allstars 2014: Risa Aizawa (Dempagumi.inc), Hitomi Arai (Tokyo Girls Style), Mari Takahashi (Dorothy Little Happy), Mariya Suzuki (Cheeky Parade), and Azusa Sekine (UPUPGIRLS KAKKO KARI). It was truly a day filled with many emotions, memories, and sweat to mark the end of summer.
If you weren’t able to make it this year, or even watch the live stream, do all you can to make sure you are here at the next @JAM event! Even though this was the largest venue that @JAM EXPO was held at, the Kiwi and Pineapple Stages were practically bursting at the seams for every performance, which will likely prompt the organizers to look for an even bigger place for next year.
Written by Okkun