Saturday, June 12, 2010

The UnsraW Ticket Saga

The UnsraW ticket saga... What a saga it was. As the Ticket Ninja, I've had my share of triumphs and my share of fails... but I've never been flat-out told "no, you can't go to a show." I've never allowed it.

The saga began with me finding the band UnsraW in the first place. I found them only, like... a couple weeks ago. I have various tests to decide whether or not to pursue a band musically. UnsraW passed one of my tests. I listened to everything while doing homework, then put the band away. The next day, throughout the day, I would randomly get pieces of UnsraW songs stuck in my head. Hmm? I went back and listened through everything again and realized they were totally fucking awesome. Of course, my brain immediately goes "you should see them in concert!" I looked online only to discover... the band was only going to play a few shows in the next few months, and one of those was on a day I'd probably see Dir en grey. The other show was... already on sale. Aw, fuck.

I checked Lawson. Sold out. I checked Ticket Pia. Sold out. I checked e+. Sold out. Fuuuuuck. See, the problem is that UnsraW isn't just appearing at an event with lots and lots of annoying bands. The show is a two-man (UnsraW and Sel'm) so of course people want to see it. Two-mans and one-mans are the best! Well, okay, I told myself... this doesn't mean it's over. You can fight this.

The first thing I did was consult my friend Caroline for advice. She recommended checking Like an Edison (which I was already planning to do) and also to try Zeal Link. And Mixi. I went on Mixi (the Japanese MySpace) and saw that there was, in fact, a girl selling two tickets to the show... and they were A tickets! I sent her a quick message asking for help and... without even messaging me, she sold them to someone else. FUCK.

Suddenly, I was filled with a near-psychotic rage. Previously, Caroline asked me why the hell I was trying so hard to get tickets for UnsraW. She's an UnsraW fan too, but it's not like they do anything more insane or amazing on stage than anybody else. But you know what it is? It's the thrill of the chase. Chasing tickets to concerts is excitingly frustrating. I'm usually a very passive person and I let the people around me do whatever the hell they want but... if there's one thing I can't handle, it's flat-out being told NO. If there's something I want, I'll fight for it until it kills me. Especially in this case. I realized that, if I didn't get a ticket to this show, I wouldn't be seeing UnsraW at all (which later turned out to be untrue, but just go with it for now). Being blocked from a concert... it was making me crazy.

I put up my own desperate plea on Mixi for tickets on the UnraW page, and I even joined the Sel'm page just so I could ask for tickets there as well. The next day, at school, I asked Ashley if she wanted to go ticket-hunting with me after class. She hadn't really heard any UnsraW, and her only opinion on them was that vocalist Yuuki has a terrible singing voice but he makes some pretty crazy noises. Still, they seemed worth checking out, and Ashley agreed to join me on my mission.

After class, we went to Like an Edison in Shinjuku (but not before stopping off for pasta, lol). We got to Like an Edison and, as expected, they didn't have any tickets. It appears the store wasn't selling tickets for that particular show in the first place. "Okay" I told myself. "Don't give up. Don't let it get to you." I also tried to find the venue itself (Wild Side Tokyo) but was unable to find it, even with the directions from the cashier at Like an Edison. Feeling rather discouraged, we pressed on anyways. Our next job was to go to Zeal Link in Shibuya (even though it probably wouldn't have our tickets either). Zeal Link was considered a place more likely to have tickets because UnsraW is more affiliated with Zeal Link and not Like an Edison. We hopped the train to Shibuya and began our hunt... except we had no idea where Zeal Link was other than a painfully crude map I'd drawn of it.

Ashley and I chatted as we hunted, and I tried to make sense of why I wanted these tickets so fucking bad. I mean, there were the obvious things... it would make me insane if there was a band I wanted to see and was unable to see before leaving the country. Being told no makes me crazy. Up till then, I hadn't failed a single show I wanted to see. But it was more than that... I simply couldn't quit until I knew I had absolutely done my best. This might sound really crazy, but one of the things that kept me hunting was thinking about vocalist Yuuki. Yuuki has only been back on stage within the year because, prior to that, he was gravely ill with a rare strain of pneumonia. He was out of commission for a year. That guy didn't give up on life, why should I give up on seeing him in person? If someone can trudge through a terrible illness, I can trudge through ticket-hunting. I wasn't going to give up until the show fucking started.

Easier said than done. Zeal Link proved impossible to find. Ashley and I went absolutely everywhere... we toured Shibuya... but the location constantly alluded us. We went up sketchy side streets, weird roads... Zeal Link didn't seem to exist. We even passed the Chelsea Hotel from the VAJRA one-man I recently blogged about. Still, we just couldn't find it. After a good hour and a half of wandering around Shibuya under the burning sun, we suddenly realized it was hopeless. In a fit of rage, I threw my poorly drawn map onto the litter-less street as hard as I could and walked over it. Failed... we fucking failed...

Anyways, at that point Ashley needed to get to Shibuya O-EAST for a Kagrra, concert. We stopped off for some Baskin Robbins to reward ourselves for our efforts, and they had the most amazing new flavor called Thirty-one Love: lime/mint ice cream with lemon marshmallows. And they were having a special... buy two scoops and get a third free! Normally, this would have appeased me but, at that point my brain had blown a fuse. Ashley and I took our ice cream towards Shibuya O-EAST and I just ate in a state of conscious coma. I felt numb with defeat. At the venue, I felt hatred for every person I saw. All those people with their shiny tickets looking so happy... curse them all! I waited around with Ashley until her ticket number was called, then we parted ways and I headed home to stew.

Strange note but... on the way to the station, I think I saw Karyu from D'espairsRay. I mean, it sure looked like Karyu (super tall, lanky, big nose, angular eyes, long brunette hair). If it was Karyu, he was stomping around very purposefully. He was walking really fast with a strangely determined look on his face. I don't know where he was going, though, and he brushed past me unnoticed.

Anyways, while riding the train home, I got a text from Ashley who was still waiting around in the venue for the Kagrra, show to start. Do you know what her text tells me? Are you ready for this one? In the flyers handed to her before the show there was a pamphlet for Zeal Link... with an explanatory map of how to get there...

You know, I don't even think I could feel at that point. My brain snapped another fuse. I mean, it had to be a big joke, right? I decided I was going to get to Zeal Link the next day for sure, even though I was sure they wouldn't even have what I wanted. By now, this hunt had nothing to do with UnsraW and everything to do with winning. Seeing UnsraW live... sure it would be great and all but, no... this was my pride at stake.

The next day comes, Ashley and I plow through a history midterm we weren't prepared for, and around 5:00 we head back to Shibuya to tackle Zeal Link. Even with the map we found ourselves rather lost, but at least now we had something to go by. Eventually, we found ourselves back at the Chelsea Hotel. After another wrong turn, we returned to the Chelsea Hotel only to realize something... Do you guys remember in the VAJRA one-man post I mentioned how we all waited in line outside the Chelsea Hotel on a side street where cars kept flying by and nearly killing all of us? The road was so bad that Nesting Girl chased a car while shaking a rice ball at it. Well, you guessed it... Zeal Link was up that road. Oh, the irony. I truly believe someone above was playing a big joke on us with this UnsraW thing. Even walking up and down that road we couldn't find Zeal Link. Eventually I spotted it tucked behind some other buildings. It was down a filthy, ghetto side street and up a flight of rickety stairs. Once inside, however, it was like another version of Like an Edison. What a relief. I stared at the case of tickets and, you guessed it, no UnsraW. Sigh. I asked the guy working there if they had the tickets and he seemed confused that I didn't see any. He was like "Really? We don't have any tickets for UnsraW?" I think his confusion stemmed from the fact that UnsraW is affiliated with Zeal Link and does comment DVDs for them and stuff. If anyone would have the tickets it would be Zeal Link. The guy looked through the case with me and found nothing. Still looking baffled, he asked what venue the show was at. I told him Wild Side Tokyo. At that, the man became sympathetic. "Oh... I don't think we sell tickets for that venue..." he told me.

Of course you don't.

Ashley and I sighed and looked around the store a little. I found a magazine with pictures of UnsraW live. There was Yuuki, screaming his brains out as usual. Oh, Yuuki... I failed, I thought to myself. But at least we found Zeal Link. That was something of an accomplishment in and of itself. Before we left the building, Ashley pointed out something rather amusing to me... hanging on the wall was a long, white piece of paper with calligraphy on it... signed by Gara of MERRY. Hahaha, that's pretty funny, I have to admit. Must be from back when Gara didn't talk and only drew his MCs during shows. So at least Ashley and I left the building laughing about something.

Okay, so now what...

Well, there was one more option. It's something I refer to as "taking it to the doors." Remember how I said I wasn't going to give up until the show fucking started? I meant that literally. Sometimes, venues keep tickets around as "at door" tickets. They're not reliable because there's only a few and other people want them too but... sometimes, if you're early enough or time it just right, you can get those tickets as a last resort. But before I decided to waste my time doing that, I decided to contact the venue itself and find out if at door tickets were even a feasible option. I sent the staff of Wild Side an e-mail explaining that the show was sold out and asking if arriving at the venue that day might get me a ticket. I received an e-mail back from a man telling me he had received my order, and I could take a number to the venue and exchange it for a ticket the day of the show. Wait... what? Still reeling with disbelief, I e-mailed him back and asked him to confirm that this would really get me a ticket. And, if so, could I have two?

He said yes! I now had two reservation numbers and two tickets being held for me at the venue. The man warned me that I could only get in after everyone else with those tickets but, well... I already knew that, obviously. What mattered was... I won. I fucking won.

I've checked UnsraW's official website and, sure enough, under the information for the show it says "thank you SOLD OUT." It makes me so nervous... I hope the reserved ticket thing isn't a lie. I hope they don't just laugh at me when I get there and go "just kidding!" I've printed out the man's e-mails as proof. I have to get into that show... I must!

I guess we'll find out tomorrow if it all worked out... here's to hoping!

If it does work out, UnsraW will be my 30th concert in Japan! Whoohoo!


  1. can't say nothing else except wow :D!

  2. AND wow for Karyu O___O