It’s very strange that this conversation will happen today when Arashi released the goods for the LOVE concert tour.
Colleague: “The company is offering a limited stock options to employees. You can buy as many as XXX stocks for only XXX. You want to buy?”
Me: “Uh no. I’m buying stocks today from Johnny Kitagawa.”
Colleague: “Huh? A Japanese company?”
Me: “Yes… um… nevermind.”
Since 2006, I have been buying “stocks” from Johnny’s, stocks being concert goods. I’ve always bought the shirt except for the BEAUTIFUL WORLD tour (I found it too plain and unimaginative). No regrets.
Then in 2007, I was in Tokyo when they did their TIME tour and while I couldn’t get tickets (even at a time that it was still possible to buy it at Lawson’s I think), I went to Yokohama to buy the goods. It’s really different when you’re buying it online from a seller and when you’re right there with the goods right in front of you. I ended up buying not only the shirt but the jumbo uchiwas of all five (that I had to handcarry because I didn’t want them to be squished in my luggage), a cute mug that I haven’t used until now, a phone strap (not used either), pamphlet and god knows what else.
Buying goods is serious business when it comes to fans. It’s easy to just want to buy everything because these goods are really meant for the fangirl market and there’s some fangirl psychology at work in there.
But I have learned since then and it’s really different strokes for different folks or fans. There are the serious collectors and there are those, like me, who just go for specific merchandise. Let’s take a look at this tour’s goodies:
(All photos from Naver Japan)
Uchiwas – How many uchiwas do I need? I live in a tropical country and the summer months are torture but for sure, I’d get weird glances if I haul an uchiwa out for use with the giant face of, say, Matsumoto Jun, there.
Photos – I’m not really a big fan of collecting photos and I prefer them digital, no worries on preserving them properly. I won’t even mind if JE would sell photos for download in the future, and I think in an increasingly digital world, this is a worthy consideration.
Bags/pouches – I am very tempted to buy the LOVE tour edition. The colors–subdued, also boring–are exactly my taste. But… but… but just how many bags do I need?
Ribbon – A new invention by JE’s merch designers. Will go perfectly with those Christmas gifts maybe. The logo is cute though.
Penlight – These things are actually very useful. I once used a Jay Chou penlight when there was a sudden power interruption. But not this LOVE edition. I wish I bought the one with the Arashi kanji before.
Shirt – This, I can’t say no to. It’s the only concert merchandise that I’ve been buying consistently. Even if this tour’s edition is fugly. It’s the first time they have used a photo for their shirt and as some said on Twitter, it seems they didn’t have time to come up with a design and ended up with this… monstrosity. It’s not really that bad. It just reminds me of those American rock band shirts that you can buy at nightmarkets. The thing with Arashi’s concert shirts, they do not give that mass-market feel or that common look. And I do wear them, they’re my favorite weekend wear and over the years they have improved on the fabric (I like Arafes ’13 the best) but what’s with this? Having said, that, I’m still buying it.
Pamphlet – I’m buying mainly for the New York photos. I like behind-the-scenes and seeing Arashi out of their TV shows or stages, in ordinary clothes (and yet still manage to have that special we’re-celebrities-aura).
This is one of those rare times that I’m buying more than the shirt. There goes my money, Johnny-san, happy to do business with you! If only my colleague knows where my money went instead, but company shares are still more expensive than Arashi merchandise. Who said you can’t buy happiness? I just did. You?
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