While I was studying abroad in Japan, I had the chance to go to the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards in Saitama Super Arena, and must I say, it was one of the best concerts I been too! I won’t be explaining too much about how I bought the tickets and the process since I explained it in my other blog post called How to buy Kpop concert tickets in Japan. Be sure to check out that blog post if you’re interested in knowing how to get concert tickets in Japan! MAMA Awards in Japan is definitely something you should check out if you happen to be in Japan in December!
MAMA’s ticket process was annoying since there were many lottery periods, and the tickets were more wanted than the other concerts I have gone to previously. The whole process was through ticket pia. During these periods, you had to apply for tickets and it is completely random if you get tickets or not. 3 of us tried the first round, and only one person was successful, but that meant that we one of the first ones who were accepted to the concert. This was basically pre-sale and for every round that passes, (I think MAMA Awards in Japan had 3 pre-sales) the seats got farther and farther back, but the prices were all the same. Even the seats that were all the way up still paid the same amount as me, who was front row.
The arena itself was in Saitama which is about a 45-minute train ride from Central Tokyo and is the prefecture above Tokyo. As soon as we arrived there were so many young girls and also so many fansites! These fansites were selling banners and photobooks, but because it is technically illegal, police were constantly roaming around the area to stop them. That didn’t stop any of the fansites though. This was my first big concert in Japan so everything was so new to me. Of course, I have been to a lot of concerts back in New York, but concert culture in Japan was definitely different and much more hardcore than in NYC. I was also surprised to see how long the merch line was! I never saw a line that long just for merch and it seemed like the wait time was over an hour just for it!
I had no idea that there were going to be so many fansites selling banners, so the day before, I made my own handcrafted Bae Jinyoung sign. This just really shows how extra I am. I did end up buying a Bae Jinyoung sign and just switched from both my sign and the other one throughout the concert. My sign isn’t the nicest, but I put my heart into it so I was proud of it.
Because we got the premium tickets which included red carpet access, I was actually the 139th person who was let in, they call the numbers by increments of 5 and checks the tickets to make sure you have the right number. The order is dependent on when the tickets were bought. The earlier you get the tickets, the better the number is!
Once getting in, it was a huge space and you were free to go where ever you wanted. Nothing was saying where the artists would be and it was just a huge pit, so we just had to guess where we should go for the best view. Japan is super strict with cameras during events so we weren’t allowed to have our phones or camera out during the red carpet, but we were right by where the press took all their photos. Even though our view was blocked by them, there were like spaces in which we were able to see the idols very closely. I just wish that this was a bit more organized.
We weren’t that close to the main stage to where the interview was held but it was better than anything, and while looking back on the official video, I spotted my sign. I didn’t want to block everyone else so I just occasionally put the sign up and down. Is it just me or can you see Jinyoung looking at my sign?
Once the red carpet was over, we were directed right over to our seat in the actual arena. The stadium was huge! It was 3 floors of seating and there were huge sections on the 1st floor and because the stage wasn’t the normal traditional stage and there was also a second stage in the back. Because everyone already had seats assigned, it was much more calmer and relaxed.
When we arrived, we couldn’t believe how close we were to the stage. We just kept following the numbers stated on the tickets and noticed we kept on going closer and closer to the stage. On every seat there was a light stick thing that was connected to Bluetooth that controlled the colors, so that was pretty cool. Everyone also had their own fandom’s lightsticks to represent their favorite groups. I currently dont have any light sticks, but Amazon has many official ones! I was also so close to staff so even though I wanted to record stuff, I couldn’t really do so, due to fear.
I was able to see so many different groups like BTS, IZ*ONE, MAMAMOO, Monsta X, NU’EST W, Stray Kids, TWICE, Wanna One. Wanna One was my main reason for going. They are my ult group and this was one of their last few performances before disbanding so it was pretty emotional for wannables like me.
This was also one of Izone’s first performances and I also really like them so it was so great I was already able to watch them perform and even though they just debuted, their stage presence was so good!
Talking about stage presence, Stray Kids was so amazing. I have seen them multiple times, and yet, everytime I see them, I just want to see them again. You can really tell that they enjoy being on stage and they really know how to get the whole audience pumped.
I was there to see Hwasa’s iconic stage in her red bodysuit. And let me tell you the whole crowd was SILENT. They were all so shook. BTS was the last performance, after maybe 2 hours and once they came on, everyone got up and started screaming. I can tell that probably 75% of the people were there just for BTS. A girl next to me was so quiet and calm throughout the whole concert, but when BTS came on, it was the most emotions I saw from her all day.
Even though we were super close I kinda wished I was in the seats that were elevated because the stage is so big, I couldn’t t really see what was happening on the left side of the stage and I couldn’t really properly see the dances. I definitely was lucky I was so close and I am super grateful for it.
Towards the encore, wanna one was a moment where all the idols took out cameras and recorded them self and the crowd. Can you spot me?
I had such an amazing time, and if you have the chance and the money, I definitely recommend going if you love k-pop and want to go to something as iconic as the MAMA Awards in Japan!
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Some Useful Sources when traveling to Japan:
My Japan posts: Pennyless Travels Japan posts
My kpop posts: Kpop Posts!
Youtube Channel: Just Coneys Corner
Food/Travel Instagram: @coneystravel
General Tourism information: Japan Travel Website
Airport pickup pocket wifi: 4G WiFi pocket wifi
Fun and Discounted admissions for travel in Tokyo:Klook.com