Celebrating 2012 at the Vocaloid Fan Party
posted on 12.29.12 at 02:07 PM EST by (@orokana_yume)
An attendee's account of the Vocaloid's year-end event.

Hi everyone, it’s Roland again.

I hope you had a great Christmas and are enjoying the year’s last week. I certainly am, especially since this time of the year is usually spent way different here in Shin-Nakano, Tokyo than it is back home in Europe.

Like last week, when I found out that there was a bonenkai (year-end party: usually each company or university club hosts one during the last week of December) for Vocaloid on December 23 in Taito, Tokyo in Ueno district. Naturally, I ceased the opportunity. But finding the venue was a pain as Ueno has a lot of hotels (many dedicated to “love”), and even by utilizing my map reading skills, I arrived a half-hour late. But it wasn’t a big deal—the DJ was still spinning records.

The venue was a bit small for all the guests (fans, producers, and Vocaloid staff), and it got really hot quite fast. It didn’t bother me—the party had tabenomihodai (all you can eat and drink) for 1,000 yen, or about $11.64 USD (I received a 50 percent discount because I know the German event coordinator of Mirai no Neiro, the most famous international Vocaloid fan program). (Another note: the tickets cost 2,000 yen, which included tabenomihodai. I ended up paying 1,000 yen total.)

Upon entering, I was greeted warmly and heartily by Masaki-san, the event organizer. Because I was late, getting into conversations was quite difficult, but fortunately the Japanese are very friendly and communicative, so it wasn’t long before they began conversation with me. I was also sticking out like a sore thumb since I was the only Caucasian foreigner besides Mark-san, an American Pixiv back-end programmer, and I’m quite tall to boot (187 cm). I met a handful of interesting, passionate Vocaloid fans, as the photographic evidence of my business card collection on that eve proves quite convincingly.

I was really surprised to meet Tony Wang, who works for PlayStation, which is my dream job. I also enjoyed a nice chat with Mihara Ryutaro, a lecturer and former employee at Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), where he was focused on Cool Japan.

Seeing the passion of like-minded individuals is always encouraging, but that room was burning with passion. It was quite unlike anything I’d witnessed in Japan yet. The room was filled with cute cosplayers who, among their costume-dressing skills, could also sing, as they firmly demonstrated in the guys versus gals karaoke contest running all evening long. Photos of the event can be seen by examining the Twitter hashtag #vocabou.

It was a great event filled with very talented and passionate people. Listening to Vocaloid fans of all age groups performing their favorite Vocaloid tracks was an awesome experience. That alone was worth the price of admission. I am genuinely looking forward to the next Vocaloid event in January. I love the Japanese community and hope that our own German Mirai no Neiro (Sound of the Future) can grow that big and spread the awesomeness that is Vocaloid beyond the bounds of the converted.

I can highly recommend the next party to any fan or person who wants to know what the fuss is all about. But please keep in mind that spots for the parties are limited and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration can be completed conveniently via Twitter, as you’re expected to have an account anyway when visiting such an event.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your winter holidays. Have a blessed last week of this year and a happy new year.

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  • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

    Thanks for editing and publishing it, Sal. You rock =)

    Enjoy the last days of this year, guys. See you next year.

    • Locksus

      Thanks for the article, ro! I hope you had fun!

      By the way, if the Japanese think you’re tall, I wonder what they’d think about my height :I You know, approximately 2 meters :I

      Oh, and are the Japanese as xenophobic as I’ve heard?

      • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

        Nah, it was my own remark as I stand out in Europe as well. Nobody made any comments on my height as foreigners are quite common in Tokyo after all. The xenophobia-rumor is probably the biggest exaggeration I’ve ever heard. Since my arrival in this gorgeous country in September I have not encountered even one Japanese citizen who is xenophobic.
        Quite the contrary, everybody is very nice to me here. You’ll find that service (restaurants, offices etc.) is by far the best worldwide here and that the Japanese as a people are lovely.

    • Kobracon

      Great article, Ro. I hope you accomplish your dream and work with Sony one day. Mine is to one day work with Platinum Games. AND they are based in OSAKA! I love Osaka and their accent XD

      • Kobracon

        What the….is someone spamming the down vote button on everyone??

        • http://gematsu.com/ Zero

          It seems that way. I’m not sure if it’s the same person, no way we can monitor that as far as I know. Sorry. =/

      • z_merquise

        Oh hey! I’m a huge Platinum Games fan! I really wish that you can work with them someday.

        • Kobracon

          Me too! First obstacle is to get fluent in Jap. Thats honestly all I need so far if their recruitment page is to be believed XD

          Grr….Kanji…

          • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

            I wish you from the depth of my heart that you can accomplish your dream. Platinum are the best Japanese developer right now and they own the action genre. I for once can’t wait to finally visit Osaka in February. Seconding your thoughts on the language. Kansai-ben is hot! And Kanji are really the toughest part of Japanese mastery, 頑張ってね!

            • Kobracon

              Gah Kanji! Dammit, when in doubt, use detective skills!

              Hmm…judging by the context of the sentence and the fact that it ends with ‘-ttene!’, one could infer that you said ‘Ganbattene!’. If that is true, then thanks ^_^

              • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

                yup, exactly what I typed ;)
                there are reading-plug-ins for Japanese available for Firefox and Chrome (Rikai-chan and Rikai-kun respectively). They are tremendously helpful if you wanna save time by not looking each unknown Kanji up individually.

                • Kobracon

                  OMG that would help alot, arigatou gozaimasu!

                  Incidentally, do you know of any good games that happen to have Furigana? Aside from Level-5 games.

                  • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

                    Usually games intended for children (CERO A) and heavily story-driven ones have Furigana. That’s what Level-5 specialize in. Their games are charming, however, so even big kids like yours truly can fully enjoy and appreciate them. The majority of my Japanese Vita games, however, do not. Time Travelers, a dark Level-5 VN, does include Furigana. Even the majority of JRPGs on PS3 does not.

                    VNs are always a safe bet to include Furigana but it’s difficult to import them as they’re a niche genre.

                    My Japanese teacher in Germany uses to say “Real life does not feature Furigana” and he’s way too right. I’m afraid there are not many games including Furigana. My advice: you better brush up on your listening comprehension skills, mate ^^.

                    • Kobracon

                      I know….Just thought it’d be a more entertaining way to both learn kanji and still enjoy a good game

                    • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

                      That’s why I play lots of VNs, their stories are quite well written and most have solid artworks. My favorite studios employ some of the talented illustrators to boot, so they’re even easy on the eye.
                      Still shocked how much Japanese you never learn from games or school but by socializing with Japanese friends.

                    • Kobracon

                      So there are alot of VNs with Furigana?

                    • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

                      Ah, shimatta, I always mix up Furigana with “Full voice acting”. Those are basically Furigana to me, as I hear how the terms are pronounced while reading the Kanji in the text box. I’m sorry for having confused you.

                      The Furigana statement still mainly applies to VNs aimed at younger gamers, sorry. Furigana are really freakin’ rare in games, VNs or not.

      • http://twitter.com/RaiuLyn Raiu

        Osaka and their accent… lol…. xD

        Good luck on getting a job at Platinum Games… I know learning Japanese is a pain in the butt as well.. D:

    • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

      Thanks for your comments, guys, and a Happy New Year!
      2013 could be the most awesome year in gaming ever.

  • Kazziyan

    Great read. :D I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a Vocaloid fan party. I should check this out.

    • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

      If you follow the key people linked in the article on twitter you will find out more. Googling should also yield some results. In fact there’s another event in January. It’s being organized by the Tokyo branch of Mirai no Neiro.

  • xMCXx

    I don’t know anything about Vocaloid, other than that Hatsune Miku is a thing.
    Sounds like a good time, though. xD

    • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

      Miku-chan is a Diva, probably the only virtual Diva worldwide ;)

      • http://twitter.com/RaiuLyn Raiu

        Which came out on top, beaten Korean singers in the Olympic singer wishlist hence the Miku youtube flagging fiasco happened…

  • http://twitter.com/RaiuLyn Raiu

    Well… I never expected people like them(Tony, Mihara, etc) to visit fan parties…

    This made me feel bad for not attending it… :(

    • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

      日本の方ですか。
      Yea, I was surprised as well. Proves that nobody can resist Miku’s (or in my case Yukari’s) charms. Still, it was a well-mannered party after all. Good food and beverages, cute cosplayers, passionate fans and awesome music.

  • http://gematsu.com/ Zero

    Nice read. Thanks for the report @ro_kurorai:disqus .

    Thanks for posting it Mister Sal mister.

    • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

      You’re welcome, glad you enjoyed it.
      Sal always does an exemplary editing job!

  • PrinceHeir

    awesome event!

    • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

      It was loads of fun and the attendees and organizers are really nice fellas.

  • KurisuMakise

    Perfect way to rein in the end of the year. Thanks Ro~!

    • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

      Thanks, I had a blast, indeed.

  • KingOptimusOrigins111

    2012 sucked, 2013 is going to own 2012 in gaming, movies, smartphones, tablets, & more.

    • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

      I fail to recognize the connection to the event but I do believe that 2013 will be a blast. If it’s PS3’s last year before the successor is released I could not ask for better swan-songs than Last of Us, Beyond: Two Souls and FFvXIII. Then there’s some small insignificant open-world game, Grand something ^^.

      Let’s not forget about Ni no Kuni, all the amazing Vita games (most of them Japan-exclusive, I’m afraid) and one of my most anticipated games ever: MGR:R. Platinum own the action genre!

      • KingOptimusOrigins111

        LMFAO!!!! at the disagrees. Yeah I read the article it sounded like a lot of fun. Wish I could go.

        • 浪黒雷 (ro-kurorai)

          You should cease the opportunity if you’re in Tokyo next December, it’s an awesome event.