I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Maison book girl in Brighton (2018.05.18)

When my boyfriend started getting into the alternative idol scene, one of the first groups I remember him showing me was Maison book girl. Before I knew it, I already had several of their songs in my phone in heavy rotation everyday, as I went from home to college and back.

The group, formed in 2014, is composed by 4 girls: Megumi Koshouji, the leader (part of the original formation of BiS - probably the most well-known alternative idol group ever), Aoi Yagawa, Yui Inoue and Rin Wada. Their producer, Kenta Sakurai, is also the composer and arranger of the songs. Their arrangements use similar sets of sounds, which match the overall minimalist image of Bukuga (as they're affectionately known), but the key to their uniqueness is the composition, which gives each tune its flavor.

Bukuga soon became one of my favorite modern idol and J-pop acts, as well as my boyfriend's, and as soon as we knew they were performing in the United Kingdom, we started planning a trip - to Brighton, the first date confirmed and the one more suitable to our schedules. This would be my first time leaving Portugal, my first live idol act, and an unforgettable experience.

Brighton Station

Our schedules left us with only two days to spare for our trip, so we landed in Luton before lunch and grabbed something to eat before heading to Brighton by train (a two-hour trip). We didn't really look up much about the place; we essentially knew it was a beachside destination with a pier. But it proved to be a very interesting and especially lively place, with a big Asian community and an active alternative music scene. The concert we were watching was part of a bigger festival, The Great Escape, with venues all over the city.

After checking into the hotel, we had some spare time. It went by really fast, since among other things, we had to go get our festival wristband and enter in the venue (The Arch nightclub, right in front of the beach) soon enough to catch a good spot.

From @maisonbookgirl on Twitter

We managed to see Maison book girl enter the venue, and we were positively surprised by how cuter they look in person, rather than in the pictures and videos we were used to see. And I got really embarrassed, lol. It's hard to admit, but it was the first time I really got into my head that the idols I see through a phone or computer screen are real people.

We got really nice spots, right at the front, but the venue didn't seem too packed, though I stopped paying attention a while before the live started. There were a few dedicated Japanese fans by our side, but zero wota dances or yells, understandingly. Bukuga's style makes them feel like they're not your usual idol group, but somehow they are.

The live started at 8pm and lasted 30 minutes. Besides the songs featured in their first UK single, bath room and karma (which opened and finished the show, respectively), they featured some other songs, such as lost age (covered by J-Canuck around the time they visited Canada) and faithlessness, the one I started this post with. There were short talk segments, where we heard the girls speak some English, and that allowed them some rest. (Being a person with little physical ability, I admire idols' well-maintained skills to simultaneously dance and sing for long periods of time.) The lightning complemented the experience, making for a great performance.

As for me... I was just there, almost standing still, smiling so much my cheeks hurt, and singing everything I knew by heart. I think that right until the end, I was trying to remind myself that that sight was reality, looking at my boyfriend and watching him enjoy it as much as I was. Until a few weeks ago, I thought seeing idols live was almost like daydreaming, that it wouldn't happen this soon.

I felt like in that venue, we were one of the "elites" that were there for them because we were their longtime fans. And the girls acknowledged that - I know they did.

The following act was Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, so I'm still tagging her in this post. Maybe some people will get mad that we didn't give her as much attention as Bukuga, lol, but we do like her, and we watched some of the concert, but from a further spot. The nightclub was tightly packed after we came back from buying merchandise. She sang her most famous hits, and the public was definitely as "decora" colorful as expected from your usual Kyary fan.

Pamyurin from a distance

Concerning Maison book girl, there were no pictures allowed with the fans. We were saddened, but still greatly satisfied for the amazing performance. But, it didn't end there. I won't disclose what happened since it concerns the girls' privacy. I'll just say destiny gave us two more chance encounters that night, which completed our experience.

One of the views from the pier

We had to leave the following day, but managed to plan things well enough to have some free time. That allowed us to walk by the beautiful Brighton Pier, some of the main streets, and calmly have lunch before heading back to Luton Airport and subsequently to Lisbon.

The blues have been quite tough on me since I boarded the plane home. It's proof that it was an excellent experience, but I'm sure it won't be the last. I became more passionate for Bukuga and modern idols in general than before... Way more. Also, I'll keep an eye wider open to J-pop performances in Europe, which I hope will increase in number in the future.


  1. Hello, Joana.

    A round of applause for you for your article on you and your boyfriend's most excellent adventure in England. It's good to hear that some of these alternative aidoru groups are making the trips over to Europe and eastern North America and not just to East Asia and the West Coast.

    It's not all that often that we can get event coverage on the blog so it's all the more appreciated when we get reports from folks like yourself and Noelle. Many thanks!

    1. Hello, J-Canuck!

      Thank you very much for your feedback. I'm glad to contribute with my own personal experiences to the blog.

      The blues are starting to be replaced by the hope of repeating this kind of experience. I hope I can attend more events, especially in Europe, since they're more affordable. Until then, I'll keep posting about J-Pop, especially the "Plus" side :)


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