19th August 2014: Change of plans {Japan, summer 2014}

My day in Kansai was yet another carefully laid out plan, only darkened by a 90% chance of rain in Nara, where I was going to head out in the afternoon. Morning in Fushimi Inari Taisha, afternoon in Nara, maybe heading to Osaka in the evening to eat takoyaki in Namba. However, just before heading off I checked my emails only to find one by D****e telling me about an even which was going to happen in Tokyo that evening – a VAMPS’ secret live.

Hyde had been mentioning a ‘secret’ with a number code which turned out to be the event that was being organised, timing up with the release of VAMPS’ latest single. Having discarded trying for their interviews in Osaka on the 21st. It was a tough decision, because it meant losing one hotel night – coming back to Kyoto would be a rough 5 hours the day before, and that night would be impossible.

In the end, knowing that whatever I chose I would be missing out on something I really wanted to do, I decided to go with what could not be repeated – the VAMPS concert.

That still left me morning and eawrly afternoon in Kyoto [京都], so I dashed towards Fushimi Inari Taisha [伏見稲荷大社]. I was rather amused to find that some torii were under repair. I spent two hours in the Inari Forest and Mountain, but once again I did not make it to the top – it was just too hot. I did walk along some forgotten paths and was alone for a good 40 minutes or so, which was amazing. One day I have to try this either at dawn or in winter.

The Senbontorii - a row of hundreds of torii one after the other creating a sort of tunnel. Also, the main building of Fushimi Inari behind the giant vermillion torii

Before heading back to Tokyo I wanted to do something else, so I headed up to Kiyomizudera [清水寺], the Temple of Pure water, which was sadly being renovated. Never the less, I could come in and see most of the gardens and Pagoda and stand on the balcony. There were dozens of wind-bells and despite the rumble of people it was magical.

The main entrance to the temple, and a view of the main building from the side, where you can see that it hangs from the mountain.

After that I went back to the hotel, showered, changed and headed off to Odaiba [お台場] to the VAMPS Mezamashi Secret live, an event that the band had organised to introduce two new songs. It turned out to be a seven-song mini concert, and the first time I ever listened to what became one of my favourite VAMPS’ songs, The Jolly Roger.

The Mezamashi secret live stage. It shows the band's promo picture and the time, 19:40. The stage is lit in red, and there are flags with the band's logo, a Jolly Roger.