New Ticketing System and Call For Feedback

Last summer, when we posted our first open letter to Fish Tank regarding their handling of Foreign Policy, a number of y'all expressed your doubts that Fish Tank would pay any attention to our recommendations. In fact, some of y'all even suggested they'd be angry about it and punish us for it, because apparently, some of y'all believe that Fish Tank hates foreigners so much that they don't even want to touch your cold, hard cash, let alone your cootie-infested gaijin skin.

Sorry, fans, but we got the last laugh! The proof has now flown shrieking out of the pudding like a flock of four and twenty blackbirds.

As regular readers may recall, we made two main suggestions to Fish Tank in our letter:

1. Make legal access Buck-Tick's music more easily and cheaply available to foreign fans by providing digital downloads on international digital music platforms such as iTunes.

2. Make it worth it for foreign fans to join Fish Tank by providing an English language version of the Fish Tank newsletter.

And as y'all may have noticed, Buck-Tick's management adopted both suggestions in short order, at least partially, by

1. Putting Buck-Tick's new releases up for international digital download on iTunes, and putting a portion of the band's back catalog on Spotify

2. Setting up an English language version of Fish Tank Web, if the gobbledygook therein can be dubbed "English language," which is debatable.

Anyhow, we'd love to crow in triumph over the fact that not only do they clearly read our blog and/or pay attention to feedback from our readers, they actually took our advice and did something smart for once, instead of remaining obstinately devoted to inefficient and unprofitable business practices as is so common in the corporate world here.


Since the new site is still an un-navigable shambles of Google Translate word salad, seems like its time for another round of constructive feedback. Therefore, we would like to call upon all of you to write to Fish Tank with the following suggestions for improvement.

1. The English on the Fish Tank site is so bad as to be borderline unreadable. Bad English makes Fish Tank look unprofessional and untrustworthy. They need their English to be checked by a native speaker, pronto. Not only that, but the formatting is awful.

2. The English-language version of the Fish Tank site doesn't contain the same information as the Japanese site. For one thing, there is no English language information about tickets to the Fish Tanker's Only tour. Plenty of foreign fans have attended Buck-Tick tours in the past, so how is this fair? The English and Japanese sites should have the same content.

3. Fish Tank members who are foreign residents of Japan are required to register their names in katakana, despite the fact that the "gaijin cards" foreign residents are required by Japanese law to carry at all times must bear the resident's passport name - that is to say, the name in Roman letters, not in katakana. It's almost as if Fish Tank thinks that if you live in Japan, that means you must be Japanese. This is a profoundly ignorant and xenophobic assumption that's also totally out of touch with reality (there are actually a lot of foreigners living in Japan, including some of y'all). Let's gently encourage them to act a little less like angry, old-fashioned, racist grandmas.

4. Apparently Fish Tank locks your location so you can't change your country of residence, which is ridiculous. People move. Some people move to Japan from overseas. The old system accounted for that, so why is the new system so rigid?

5. Though there's no English language info about tour tickets, on the Japanese ticket info page, it says that foreign members of Fish Tank can't apply for paper tickets, they can only apply for digital tickets. However, none of the complex info about the digital ticketing system is available in English.

6. Please, please, please encourage Fish Tank not to do away with paper tickets, and to continue to allow overseas members to purchase paper tickets. Some people don't have smartphones. Some people who have their smartphones don't want to bring them to gigs. The option of digital ticketing might be nice for some fans, but doing away with the paper ticket option would pose a severe inconvenience to some people depending on their circumstances and it would be really nice if that didn't happen.

7. The ticket trade fees are outrageous profiteering and should be scrapped. It's not as if these tickets aren't already expensive to begin with.

8. It's very difficult to figure out how to send feedback. The FAQ doesn't remotely begin to cover all the issues. The feedback form should be linked in a more obvious place.

9. Anything you've had trouble with that isn't on this list.

Of course, you don't all have to include all these suggestions in your feedback, and certainly, please use your own words and don't copy and paste text from this blog, or we fear that next thing we know, the Fish Tank Police will show up at our house in the middle of the night to clap us in irons and drag us away kicking and screaming. But if past experience is anything to judge by, they are actually reading your letters and taking your suggestions into consideration, albeit in a slightly clueless fashion. The more letters they get from you, the more likely they are to act on your suggestions. So please, write to them as soon as you can. For we swear to you that as long as we draw breath, we shall not allow the noble English language to suffer such ignominious persecution at the hands of Buck-Tickistani bureaucrats. If they want your money, give them to know that they must woo you with words of honey, and not the mechanical clanking of robots. Mr. Sakurai himself probably writes better English than the gibberish spattering their site at the moment, and if they're not aware that they should be ashamed of that fact, then it's our job to make them aware.

To send feedback, go to the Buck-Tick homepage, scroll down to the bottom, and click the "Contact" button, which will take you to the Fish Tank site FAQ. Click on any of the FAQ questions and scroll down to the bottom, where you will see a line that says "If the above examples do not resolve your issue, please inquire through the link below." Click the "contact" link and fill out the questionnaire form. Feel no need to write in Japanese. Writing in English or in your native language will impress upon them that they have a lot of fans in different countries around the world and they need to improve their multi-lingual support accordingly. Make them feel ashamed of themselves for being so provincial, when the band members themselves know cool words like "Iconoclasm."


Oh, but what's this about a digital ticketing system?

For the upcoming tour, Fish Tank members will be able to purchase either digital tickets or paper tickets. The main differences are as follows:

Paper Tickets: These are exactly what we're used to, though they're now unavailable to foreign members of Fish Tank. They'll be sent out three weeks before the show, as usual. They will be tradeable under the new ticket trading system but if you trade them in, they'll be converted to digital tickets (more on that in a bit).

Digital Tickets: This is the only ticketing option open to foreign Fish Tank members, because apparently, Fish Tank hates you after all. If you don't like it, write to Fish Tank and complain, by all means. The digital tickets will be issued to your smartphone via the EMTG app two weeks before the show, and if you buy multiple tickets, your phone will display all the tickets for your party members, though it also looks like it's possible to digitally distribute them to other people with the app (however, there's no detailed info on this). The digital tickets will be tradeable under the new ticket trading system. 

The service fees for the digital tickets are cheaper, but don't be fooled - this is just to sucker you into buying them so you won't be able to resell them later and you'll be forced to use their system. Buyers of digital tickets will also receive commemorative dummy paper tickets that they can save as mementoes, while feeling sanctimoniously superior that they contributed to a system in which evil resellers of paper tickets may be legally hung, drawn, quartered, and fed to the crows. 

Oh yeah, and digital tickets are ONLY available on smartphones, not on feature phones, tablets, or computers, which means that if you're a foreign member of Fish Tank without a smart phone, you're fucked. If this applies to you, you should definitely write to Fish Tank and complain. Also, if you have an iPhone, you need it to be SMS-compatible in order to use the EMTG app.

All of this is annoying, but at least Fish Tank have now instituted a system where fans can legally trade tickets if they become unable to attend a show at the last minute... that ought to be a good thing, right? Well, maybe. Under the ticket trading system, fans will only be able to resell their tickets for the original price, so nobody will be able to charge you an arm and a leg for good seats - however, the trading system is also a lottery system, meaning that you can't decide who you resell your tickets to, and you can't choose whether you get good seats, because Fish Tank really, really want to make sure that you always get shitty seats in the back and will never be able to see the stage, ever. Paper tickets can be submitted for ticket trades up to one week before the date of the show, while digital tickets will be tradeable until noon on the day of the show.

HOWEVER, they will still take your money! Fans who wish to trade tickets will be required to pay a whole 600 yen per ticket to list their tickets on the trading system, while fans who bid on traded tickets will be required to pay a further 300 yen per ticket. This would make sense if it covered shipping fees for paper tickets, but it doesn't! All paper tickets submitted to the system will be converted into digital tickets, just to punish people without smartphones and force them to pay lots of extra money to mobile phone companies! Somebody tell me, does EMTG have a secret backdoor deal with SoftBank or Docomo?

Seems to us that charging fees for digital tickets is just a way for EMTG to get rich off you while pretending that they don't like ticket scalping. Perhaps they're trying to cut back on fans trading again and again in hopes of getting better seats, but good luck, guys - fans on resale sites sometimes pay more than 50000 yen for front-row tickets. Do you really think a measly 600 yen is going to stop them?

The site claims that "resale of tickets by third parties has caused a great deal of trouble at concerts." While that may be true for some artists, it's certainly not true for Buck-Tick. Why? Because the ticketing system already pretty much prevents people from buying mountains of tickets in order to scalp them. Some unscrupulous fans may buy extra tickets in small quantities in order to make money off resales, but we're talking a few dozen tickets per show, at the very most. Is that really worth getting this upset over?

Furthermore, the advantage of ticket resales is that they allow people to get tickets to shows that have already sold out, without having to be members of Fish Tank in order to do it. Yeah, it's a little shitty that fans resell tickets for higher than the original price in order to make a buck, but since it only takes place on such a small scale, again, is it really worth freaking out to this degree? 

No matter what the website says, the fact is that in most cases, ticket resellers and resale sites hide their identifying information well enough that ticket resales cannot be traced. Venue staff don't check the names on tickets at the door - nor should they, since buying tickets for your friends is still perfectly legal under their rules (and why shouldn't it be?) In a few cases, people who purchased resale tickets were denied entrance to the venue, but ultimately, isn't this hurting Buck-Tick more than letting them in? After all, if people wanted to see B-T so badly that they were willing to buy resale tickets, chances are, they're big fans, so what does banning them from a concert actually accomplish except making everyone feel a little less welcome?

If resales were widespread enough to the point that fans who wanted to obtain tickets through normally sanctioned sales were unable to get tickets because the tickets were all going to resellers, that would be a problem in need of a solution. However, in the case of Buck-Tick, almost all the tickets are bought by Fish Tank members, and since Fish Tank only allows members to register under their real, legal names, it's impossible for one person to have two Fish Tank memberships, so anyone wanting to use a Fish Tank membership for scalping purposes would have to either be a bona-fide fan putting his/her membership on the line for the purpose of making a little extra money reselling tickets (which is, in actuality, a pain-in-the-ass and not very lucrative business venture), or a non-BT fan who nonetheless decided to spend 6000 yen on a Fish Tank membership for the sole purpose of scalping B-T tickets... and maybe there are some people like this, but there clearly aren't very many, because Buck-Tick just aren't that famous anymore. They have a limited fanbase, so opportunity to make money off them is limited. For professional scalpers, going after more popular artists like idols and the like is a lot more attractive, because there are a lot more potential buyers and therefore a lot more money to be made.

For the most part, people who resell Buck-Tick tickets are either fans who became unable to attend shows, or fans who got together with their friends and applied for two sets of tickets, either to have a better chance of getting good seats, or to have a better chance to just win tickets at all. And it's understandable that people want to do this, since oftentimes, the allocation of good seats and of tickets in general doesn't appear to be fair. It's hard to tell exactly what the bias in the system is, but certain people seem to win a lot more than other people, which is something all long-time Fish Tank members have noticed. If Fish Tank want people to trust in the fairness of the system, they have to ensure that the system is fair in the first place, and that, they're not doing. 

Also, a lot of the people who resell their tickets for the reasons stated above resell them for the original price, which shouldn't be a problem, but for some reason, the Buck-Tick management even freak out about ticket resales in cases where the ticket is being re-sold for the original price, or less than the original price, which proves that it's not about preventing unscrupulous fans from profiteering off Buck-Tick's popularity, it's simply about control.

To which we say: chill the fuck out, Buck-Tick's management. Stop making the fans feel like criminals, when all they want to do is get tickets to see the goddamn band.

The bottom line: this system is probably a setup for a totalitarian takeover. Resales do happen in Buck-Tickistan, but not to the extent that they pose an actual problem, and limiting foreign Fish Tank members to digital tickets implies that foreigners are the source of the resales, which they certainly aren't. Why? Because as many of y'all know, in most cases, to buy tickets through a Japanese ticket seller, you have to be physically present in Japan and/or in possession of a Japanese credit card. If foreigners have ended up buying Buck-Tick resale tickets, it's only because they haven't been able to access tickets in any other way. Therefore, definitely feel free to complain that foreign fans are being forced into digital ticketing only. In fact, depending on how people's data plans work, there's some question of whether foreign fans will be able to use the EMTG app on their non-Japanese data plans while in Japan, which would defeat the entire purpose. And again, please complain about the ticket trade fees, since they seem to serve no purpose other than to opportunistically bilk fans for their cash, which is exactly what the "no resales" policy is supposed to prevent.

We believe in y'all. Together, we are strong! Go out there and tell them just exactly how full of shit they are. We know they're listening.


  1. Thank you Cayce for your report,
    I'm disappointed by the news that "paper tickets" are unvailable to foreign fans ,I don't possess a smartphone and it annoys me to buy one only for one purpose :(
    Does the managment wants foreign fans to walk on bare foot for them (T^T) .BTW where are those informations displayed in the Japanese pages ?(I'm afraid to not be able to read them clearly though)

    Thank you :)

    1. I strongly encourage you to write to the management and tell them that it's unfair to require foreign fans to own smart phones just to get tickets, because it really is unfair.

      The information about the digital ticket is on the Japanese version of the FT website, when you click to the page about the Fish Tank Only tour announcement, then click the link at the bottom. The whole thing is a confusing mess.

  2. I did send 2 contact forms :people please note that you must write a short message otherwise the system won't send it (It must be planned for kanjis)
    Thank you Cayce I found the (cruel) information :)
    I guess the only accepted foreigners are Bengal and Scottish fold cats.



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