<br><br>May 23, 2002 @ 10:28 pm <br>Just got back from the New York-Tokyo Music Festival symposium held at the Japan Society in downtown NYC. It went quite well for the most part. There was at least 120-150 people who attended. Mostly young japanese, chinese, korean, black, white and filipino kids. The panel consisted of Archie Meguro (moderator), Kumi Koda, Nobukazu Takemura, DJ Spooky and the lovely, BoA spent at least 35 minutes discussing about collaborations between American and Japanese artists, their future outlook and plans. They also played each artists latest work, music videos from Kumi, BoA and Nobukazu, though DJ Spooky had some minor audio-connection problems, he was able to play his latest wierd-souding piece with a japanese enka singer in the lead singing about recycling, sounded jibberish, accompanied by some african drums. Heh, very interesting indeed. Despite the time constrains, I was fortunate to ask them a question; regarding how MP3 music, MPEG-2 and DivX video formats through high-speed internet access have become more popular among fans who difficulty obtaining imported music and how expensive the CD's and DVD's are. Archie Meguro who works for Avex Japan and Kumi Koda answered my question well. I was disappointed Nobukazu, DJ Spooky and BoA didn't bother, but no big deal. I was able to snap some shots of all 4 artists from where I was sitting. I couldn't help snapping at least 10+ shots of BoA, I have to admit, she's very cute. Still can't believe she's only 15. Very young, popular for being known as the 1st korean to be successful as a singer in Japan. At the end of the show, she had to be quickly escorted out, perhaps because the soon to be disappointed fans were lining up like ants waiting to take turns and ask for an autograph or snap a photo. <br><br>May 25, 2002 @ 1:00 am <br>Just got back from the concert at the South Street Seaport Atrium. It was a very interesting night. I got in around 8:00 pm went through the back left-wing stairwell of the South Street Seaport main building. When I got to the 2nd floor, I didn't know I was about to catch a glimpse of BoA, having her photos taken by a bunch of lucky fans and media people. Just so I could get a good look at her, I approached one of the japanese concert crew who was standing just a few steps from where BoA was sitting and ask, pretending as if I didn't know what time the concert would start. He politely replied, "ohhhh, i think it will be starting at 9:00 o'clock". I went around to spend some time taking snapshots of the manhattan bridge view. Around 8:45 pm, I noticed a group of cute japanese girls, I suppose escorted by their lucky boyfriends going up the 4th floor. I knew they were going to the Atrium to watch the live concert. I followed them up the stairwell. Much to my surprise, when I got to the 4th floor lobby, i noticed it was packed with young japanese, korean, chinese, filipino and american people, mostly were having a bottle of beer, socializing. I was like, whoa! lotta sexy girls tonight. Everyone seemed to be getting along pretty well. Some were already drunk, heh. I went in the Atrium and found AK or was it Sheelee performing with a bunch of japanese dancers. I saw a few people with funky hairstyle and skimpy clothes. this guy looked like the lead singer of "The Gospellers", that thick afro-style hair, heh. Not sure if it was a wig though. I took some snapshots and then the music stopped. They were now finalizing the stage, lighting and video camera setup. A bunch of media people were there. At around 9:30 pm, some japanese gal, I guess she was with the management made the request over the PA system that all video cameras and photography equipment, with the exception of those who have legit press pass have to be put away. I was surprised and disappointed, because I wanted to take at least 2 full rolls of shots of BoA, Kumi Koda and Mayu Kitaki. They made the 2nd warning that the concert would have to be stopped if and when someone pulls out their camera, but out of respect, I put my camera away. As expected, some fans refused to listen, so a few minutes later they made announcement that everyone had to and make one line to get checked. The managment wanted all camera equipment of the fans to be put away. It was around 10:15 pm, when everyone finally got back in. At around 10:20, DJ Riddler, the MC came out and made the announcement that the concert was about to start and kept reiterating that "...ALL photographic and video camera equipment must be put away...". The concert kicked off at around 10:30pm with Mayu Kitaki. She was wearing a white shirt with thick light-teal stripes. performing her hit single "Do you Remember Me". As I remember it was the theme song of one of my favorite Takako Tokiwa dorama. She went on to her next jazzy-song and thereafter, paused to tell the fans she was glad to be part of the concert and she loves New York! Fans started to scream once again, and some brought in chairs to have a better look. Around 10:45, after singing 3rd song which had a very happy melody to it, she then introduced members of her band, 2 guitar players and one fat guy with a funky, afro-hair in charge of the turn-table. She then said "...goodbye and thanks for coming!..." <br><br>They had a short 15-minute intermission, giving fans a chance to chat, meet and ask for an autograph with Mayu Kitaki. Her latest cd was also available for purchase. At around 11:00, DJ Riddler came out and introduced one of Japan's rising stars and super model, Kumi Koda. Along with her were 2 male dancers she performed her first song. She paused and said a bunch of japanese words and "I love New York!" and that energized the fans, who were jumping and screaming, well at least the ones closest to the stage. She's very energetic. To me, she's like Ayumi Hamasaki on R&B music. She went on to perform her 2nd song whom she dedicated to her mother. She said, she will always be greatful to her for her support and encouragement to never to give up on her desires and aspirations as a singer. During the chorus of that song, tears flowed down her eyes and she almost cried. I was surprised but sympathetic. It seems her mother, was dear and meant a lot to her. She wiped her eyes, and went on to perform her 3rd song where she danced even more. Towards the middle of her 4th song, the lovely BoA came in did a duet with her. It was amazing. Again, I still can't believe a 15 year old like her could sing so well, and not to mention, IN japanese. BoA wore a black, sleevless shirt with word "Angel" in the center. At this time, people started to push in towards the stage. More fans brought in chairs to stand on and started to scream, BoA!!!! BoA!!!! Wooooooooo!!!!! BoA!!!!. One guy on my back who was standing on a chair screamed BoA!!!! Aishiteru!!!!. I'm like, whoa, this guy is desperate, heh. After the duet, at around 11:25pm or so, DJ Riddler came out and introduced BoA, as Japan's current #1 singer. He made more compliments including her being a tri-lingual. For those of you who don't know, BoA is from South Korea. She went to Japan, made a successful start at an early age. She speaks Korean, Japanese and English very well. At any rate, She went ahead to perform her hit single, "Listen To My Heart" with 4 female dancers. She wore a red hat, where she later oddly threw towards the back of the stage. She aimed wrong, I guess, hehe. After that song, at around 11:45 or so DJ Riddler came out and screamed "GIVE IT UP FOR BoA!!!!!". She said waved and said goodbye, looking back to her fans who were jumping and screaming like crazy. The 2nd intermission started while they prepared the stage for the DJ performances including Nobukazu Takemura, DJ Spooky and Kaori. I figured I might as well leave since I wasn't much into DJ stuff. I made sure I bought myself a X-Large festival t-shirt from one of the boothes setup in the back, and went home.