Another end of the year, I’m sitting at my PC at 6.30pm on 31st December wondering, if I wanted to do this why did I wait until 5 hours before the new year to do this lol. In any case I’m trying not to break my trend of doing this every year, so I need to do this.
Again, another pretty eventful year made to look uneventful by the lack of activity due to laziness. Below is the summary of my events of the year.
April – National Cheerleading Competition
So yup, for the 5th year running I headed down to Downtown East again to shoot NUS Alpha Verve for their cheerleading competition. Once again outdoing their performance from the previous year, they bagged 5 trophies, including 2 for their team performance. I’m getting way too used to watching them win, and their energy post-performance and after winning is always great to experience. Plus watching their coach unexpectedly perform for the first time in 4 years is always a bonus.
And as an added bonus, my bro of 10 years also got me to shoot for his team Wildcards as well, so I finally kind of got official access to their performance. It helps that Alpha and Wildcard performances completely didn’t clash so I could get to shoot both without worrying about having to rush off to catch the other team. After a couple of years of disappointing performances they finally upped their game and landed the big one. I have no idea why the Wildcards photos came out shitty though, which was basically the biggest and only regret of the whole event.
April – Nepal Trip
In a much needed departure from my usual, I decided to ditch Japan for my first trip of the year to head to Nepal instead, making this the first non-Japan trip in nearly 5 years and the first since I started working. Spending time in a less fortunate country that is still recovering from an earthquake really helped me to appreciate what we have over here. And bonus mention to all the kids I encountered there, who are just so darn cute bugging me to take their photo when they see me holding a huge ass camera strolling through their neighbourhood.
October – Japan Round 4
And of course this is yet another year where I went to Japan, though I finally ditched Tokyo for the southern island of Kyushu instead, basing myself in Fukuoka and exploring a number of nearby (and not so nearby) prefectures. So many things seen, done and experienced this time, including a traditional light festival in Hakata, shrine hopping across prefectures, steaming hot springs in Beppu, an abundance of ramen including a fantastic one in Kurume City, amateur wrestling in the rain, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Oh yeah, and not to mention my obligatory concert experience which completes my grand slam of full concerts of my top 4 artistes. Can’t wait for my next trip already.
November – AFA
Once again my yearly affair with AFA continues, only just barely due to a company trip that weekend so I had to take a day off that Friday just to make it, continuing my streak of having made it to every AFA I can remember so far (I got my first camera in 2011, and my Facebook records date back to then, but I do have memories of going back in my army/JC days). This is my first time going on a Friday, and AFA on a Friday is a pretty different experience. It’s less crowded, but on the other hand it also means less cosplayers for me to shoot compared to what I remember on weekends. Still, it’s nice not to have cluttered backgrounds filled with people milling around, and despite just attending for one day I got some pretty decent photos. I kinda regret spending the $15 to go in though, as I don’t watch much anime anymore the content inside barely piques my interest nowadays.
I’m always at my happiest shooting music, and this year was a pretty good year for concert photography for me, including getting the chance to shoot some relatively big names in Japan’s music industry. First up was the Sakura Matsuri at Gardens by the Bay back in March, featuring the likes of Mika Kobayashi, Luna Haruna, Mashiro Ayano, GARNiDELiA and May’n. It’s a rare chance that I’d get to shoot Japanese singers just like that, and in the anisong industry these artistes are as mainstream as it gets. Plenty of fantastic photos from those 2 days.
Next up is Music Matters, a yearly music festival featuring musicians from all over the world, which I haven’t attended in a few years. This one was a huge task, as I made the decision to camp throughout the event for both days, and I ended the event extremely tired but extremely satisfied having captured some fantastic photos of no less than 16 artistes in almost 12 hours of live music. Some of those music were fantastic as well which is always a great bonus. I can’t really appreciate the electronic type of music, but it’s easy to sell me rock music and there were some absolutely great bands up there.
As far as mainstream goes it doesn’t get any more mainstream than this last one. Have to thank my friend for this for inviting to this year’s F1 event, and in the process getting to shoot one of Japan’s biggest bands, Sekai no Owari. It was a painful wait, cramping with the bunch of Japanese who decided to plop themselves in front of us 20cm away from the stage, and I ended the night with numb legs not being able to walk for 10 minutes, but the photos that came out are fantastic, not to mention the wonderful music as well, totally worth the pain and trouble. Really lucky to have the chance to shoot them, and 100% will do it again.
And yup, that’s 2018 summarized in 8 paragraphs, completed in 4 hours, pretty fast for my standard. As I’m typing this I’m looking back at my 2017 summary. The closing paragraphs wishes that I’d get more motivation to do some shoots this year, which obviously didn’t happen, and I’m kinda past the stage of wishing that I did. Still, I do wish I’d get more chances to shoot some concerts, thoroughly enjoyed myself through those 3 events. As the sun sets upon 2018 like the sun set above in Fukuoka, let’s hope next year brings me more free concerts that I can shoot. Happy new year to everyone!