27.10.22

Buck-Tickets

Hey, y'all. We're very sorry we've been so lax with the blogging... our personal life circumstances continue to be very tough and it's been difficult to find the time and energy to update. However, there's something a lot of you have been asking about, that we want to address: namely, tickets to B-T shows.

So, what's up with the tickets?

Now that Japan is finally reopening borders to tourists, a lot of y'all are wanting to come to Japan to see B-T live... and we have some very bad news for you about that, for which we sincerely apologize, though if we had our druthers it wouldn't be this way.

The news is this. Since 2020, Buck-Tick's management have instituted a ticketing system whereby you can only purchase e-tickets via your smartphone. The tickets are non-transferrable, meaning that if you buy a ticket, you can't gift it to anyone else, even if you become unable to attend the show. It goes without saying that the tickets can't be resold, either. This frustrating system was ostensibly introduced to prevent ticket scalping, but ticket scalping was in fact never a major problem with Buck-Tick shows. This reasoning feels a whole lot more like a glib excuse for mass surveillance.

How so? Well, not only do you have to register all your own personal information, but if you buy more than one ticket, you are required to enter the name, birthday, and other info about your plus one. Not only that, but in order to claim your tickets, you are first required to register an account on TixPlus, the extremely dodgy, shitty excremental, incompetent company that currently manages B-T's fanclub and ticketing (blame Victor for this one). You then need to download the TixPlus app - but you also need to download the official Buck-Tick app, because, though TixPlus administrates the ticketing, all B-T concert tickets, whether you get them through Fish Tank (Buck-Tick's official fan club), Love & Media Portable (Buck-Tick's official mobile subscription service) or general sales, I repeat, all Buck-Tickets can only be accessed through the Buck-Tick official app. Last time we checked, this app wasn't available to overseas fans, but if this has changed, please post a comment and let us know.

Once you download those apps, you also have to register a photo of your face on their facial recognition software, because apparently posting really shitty poopy, ugly selfies on a buggy app that doesn't work somehow prevents Covid (!?). Don't ask us why. At the concerts we've attended since this system was instituted, the venue staff have barely glanced at the photos. Oh, and it doesn't help that the facial recognition algorithm is so bad that there's a long line for the tech support booth before every show. The only plus side: the tech support people are the only people in this whole shebang who've actually been professional and helpful.

We don't blame y'all for not knowing this stuff, because the wall of text of disclaimers, rules, etc. that you have to scroll through before even applying to buy a ticket now amounts to at least 20 solid A4 pages in point 12 font. This is not an exaggeration, we actually measured it ourselves. Does anyone read this shit, you ask? Even people fluent in Japanese don't want to read 20 fucking pages of disclaimers just to buy a concert ticket! The disclaimer bullshit horse manure used to be around 1-2 pages, tops! Where did this shit poop come from all of a sudden? Well, kids, we don't have an answer, but we did read through all that garbage, last year, when we first tried to get a ticket under the new system and the app didn't work, and then the facial recognition didn't work... and then at the 35th Anniversary shows at Yokohama Arena the app didn't work again... and we had to stand in line for the tech support booth outside the venue in a rather long line of fans who were in the same fucking copulating pickle. 

Apps: kill them with fire, please. We politely tell them to piss urinate the hell underworld off.

Edit: something one of our lovely commenters brought up that we neglected to mention: if you uninstall and reinstall the Buck-Tick app more than once, you will become unable to use the app. This is supposedly to prevent fraud but seems in practice to be for giving fans headaches, toothaches and buttaches. However, the latest problem we had with the app was solved by a tech support official at the venue uninstalling and reinstalling the app in an official capacity. Basically, you can trust the tech support people (though since we have a Japanese phone we can't vouch for what happens with overseas phones). 

About the delay in two-step verification codes: DO contact Fish Tank and TixPlus about this. You paid for that Fish Tank membership. They owe you. Sure they suck at their jobs, but they are still obligated to fix the issue. In Japanese business, the customer is supposed to be always right.

Anyhow, the real kicker here for overseas fans is that the Japanese ticketing services, Ticket Pia and Lawson Ticket, only allow you to register on their service if you have a Japanese address AND a Japanese mobile phone number starting with the digits 070, 080, or 090. Furthermore, the phone number you register when you buy the tickets is the ONLY phone number through which you can claim your tickets - it's prohibited to buy tickets from a different phone than the one you intend to use at the concert. You have to physically bring your phone to the concert and present your e-ticket as displayed on your phone screen to the venue staff. We made several enquiries with Ticket Pia about this and they confirmed, in a maddeningly obnoxious fashion, that "Ticket Pia is a service only for people in Japan." Yeah, thanks Ticket Pia. Fuck fornicate you very much, too. You racist assholes anal orifices.

However, if you join Fish Tank (for only 6000 yen per year, how cheap that seems now that they raised the price of Buck-Tickets to 10,000 yen or more per show!)... if you join Fish Tank, it's theoretically possible to get tickets even if you're an overseas fan. We're not sure about Love & Media Portable - last time we checked, LMP was only available to fans in Japan (Fuck you very much, too. You racist assholes engage in sexual tacos with your own anal orifice, you discriminatory nationalists) but if anyone here has confirmed that that has changed, please do post a comment. Since we're located in Japan, with a Japanese phone number, we can't actually check ourselves to see if the service works overseas.

Note: if you buy tickets through Fish Tank, you need to write 000-0000-0000 in the Japanese phone number field, and fill in your overseas phone number in the field below.

The bottom line: we wish we could still help you get tickets to concerts, but the new ticketing system has made that pretty much impossible. The only ways you can get B-T tickets now, as an overseas fan, are:

1) Join Fish Tank and get tickets in the fan club lotteries. Is this a money-grubbing strategy by FanPlus to get more people to pay for Fish Tank memberships? You tell us.

2) Get someone in Japan to rent you a Japanese mobile phone to take to the concert, and use their address and the rental phone number to make an account on Ticket Pia to buy tickets through general sales.

3) Wait till you get to Japan to buy the tickets, rent a phone at one of the rental kiosks at Narita Airport, and use the address of your hotel to make a Ticket Pia account. Buck-Tick shows have been seriously undersold since the pandemic - almost none of the tour dates are selling out, and at every show we've attended since 2021, large sections of seats have been cordoned off, unused (what a crying shame! If they'd only issue paper tickets at more affordable prices, maybe they could still fill the venues!) Anyway, it's likely that you would still be able to buy tickets once you get here.

4) Last-ditch measure - go to the venue early and buy same-day tickets. Since the shows are no longer selling out, same-day tickets have been on offer at most shows, and the next kicker here is that the same-day tickets are real paper tickets! (If we could lock whoever designed this system into the old-fashioned Medieval stocks and pelt them with rotten tomatoes, you betcha, we'd do it.)

However, we did a little digging and it seems there are some services available that will let you either create a virtual Japanese phone number, or rent a Japanese SIM card from outside Japan. We're not sure if any of these services will work for this ticketing system, and we can't vouch for their credibility, but if you're very desperate, we encourage you to search around and see what you can find, using keywords such as "rent Japanese phone from overseas" or "get Japanese phone number from overseas." Since we live in Japan, we can't verify that any of these services work, so keep on alert for scams and misinformation and read all the fine print. Getting a phone number won't get you around the address problem, but since none of these services are ever going to send snail mail to you anyway, we offer the trollish suggestion of either registering the address of the hotel where you'll be staying, picking an address at random from Google, or just making something up. We can't be entirely certain of this because we haven't tried it, but we're pretty sure they won't know and they don't care.

Very unfortunately, since Buck-Tick became slaves to The Evil Empire (cough, Victor Entertainment, cough), they have done away with their general enquiries email address. Now, if you want to contact them, you have to do so through the Fish Tank web site, which you can't access unless you join Fish Tank (is that a money grab? You tell us). Those of you who are members of Fish Tank already know that the current Fish Tank web site is a mire of un-navigable gobbledygook and garbage machine translated Engrish, and it's very hard to find the enquiry page, but if you scroll through the help sections, you'll find a link to click on at the bottom, which will send you to an enquiry form. We highly encourage any and all of you to write to Fish Tank and complain about the fact that overseas fans are barred from getting tickets. They have been known to respond to feedback in the past - back in 2017, I encouraged all Blog-Tick readers to write to Fish Tank and ask for Buck-Tick's music to be available for digital download internationally, and within two months, they actually made that happen - they did listen to us! So probably, the best thing you can do is write to them and explain your situation. The customer support from TixPlus/FanPlus is absolutely terrible, but this is all we've got, in this modern world of increasingly crappy feces-covered software updates and separate apps for each of your toenails (too bad the bugs in the app prevent your little toes from logging in! And the app for your big toes painted your toenails orange overnight, without even asking you! But you can't complain, because by agreeing to this Terms of Service agreement, you waive all your civil and human rights forevermore. Fun fact: the German industrial rock band Rammstein have a song called "Buch Dich," which means "bend over" in German. Does that **** in your *** feel good? No? What's wrong with you, we thought you just love yaoi manga! And in yaoi manga, everyone knows that no means yes and yes means more b*tt**x!!!!!11)

You can also consider writing to the B-T members directly and letting them know how sad it makes you that you can't get tickets just because you live overseas. The post-show feedback questionnaires have even been eliminated now, so at this point, anything's worth a shot.

So yes, this situation sucks. We are very sorry. If someone would just tell us us who we could pelt with rotten tomatoes... we'd be on our way there now...

But, in conclusion, we'd like to say the following. This new policy is not, and we repeat, is NOT the fault of the band members. This is a management decision. The band members actually have limited control over these things. In fact, Sakurai has very gently hinted a number of times that he is dissatisfied with how things are going with the management, though of course he can't come out and say it. But Buck-Tick aren't unique in this predicament - since the pandemic, most major label Japanese artists have instituted systems like this. In Buck-Tick's case, this was likely a management decision by TixPlus, which is a shady umbrella company that manages a lot of ticketing services and band fan clubs (very badly. Atrociously. Come at us, TixPlus, we've got a big basket of stinky, moldy tomatoes right here waiting for you.) Buck-Tick switched to having Fish Tank managed by TixPlus after they switched their label back to Victor, so this was also a management decision on the part of Victor. (Rumors of yakuza connections are currently unconfirmed, but it's been the way of the world forever that the relationship between organized crime and the media and entertainment industries is, shall we say... hygge-transcendentally cozy. A laundromat to wash your money in! Who doesn't want one of those!?) 

Anyway, do not assume that the band members are xenophobes or hate foreign fans - all the evidence points to the contrary. The band members have consistently looked visibly pleased by seeing foreign fans in the audience, and before all the pandemic stuff happened, Sakurai had even taken to addressing the crowd in English and Spanish at certain shows. Never fear that the band members hate you! They love you. For any artist, getting fans from around the world to love your work is a dream come true. Furthermore, the band members, Sakurai, Imai, and Hide in particular, have worked with foreign artists on numerous occasions (see Schaft, Schwein, Ai no Wakusei, and dropz). Sakurai still talks about how he loves to travel abroad and how much he loved recording in London. This is not, I repeat NOT, the fault of the band.

Rather, upper management at large, stodgy Japanese companies like Victor tend to be extraordinarily ignorant of how things work in the rest of the world - sometimes it feels like they don't even know there is a rest of the world. These are supremely imbecilic, ignorant people who are making these decisions. Not only can they not manage to build apps that work, the thought that overseas fans might want to attend concerts in Japan has probably literally never crossed their minds - that's the kind of small-minded, self-centered world of the Japanese corporation. I worked with people like this for years in my stint as a Japanese office drone, and talking to most of them was like talking to one of those creepy Japanese Pepper robots most of the time. They don't care about you. They have no idea what your difficulties as a foreigner in Japan might be. They can't even conceive of it. They have no idea what things are like elsewhere in the world. They have zero imagination and little empathy. It's not even that they hate you. They are just, pardon my French, dipshits a la fuckee I ran out of censored swearwords so fine, I'ma just go with fucking dipshits here. 

Anyway, to reiterate, don't blame the band members. They're not the ones betraying you. Instead, if you can, send feedback to these corporate robots. The more of you send feedback, the more likely they'll rethink their asinine system. (Please note that the Japanese postal service prohibits the sending of rotten vegetables from overseas, but if you send us donations, we'll buy extra rotten tomatoes for you).

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So, I'm sorry. I really don't like to take such a negative tone on Blog-Tick. I want this to be a place where fans can gather and enjoy themselves while learning more about B-T. But... this shit poo-poo is bollocks buttocks. I am so, so sorry that after 35 years, this is what Buck-Tickistan is coming to. Tonight, we're going to go drown the Victor offices in rotten tomatoes, so just wait for us in that shelter. 

I feel sorry for the tomatoes, though. They didn't do anything to deserve this crap.

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Note: This is NOT Greatest Site is currently frozen due to the updates in the Google Sites platform, and we haven't yet been able to port it to another platform. Until we do so, all information on Blog-Tick posted after 2020 takes precedence over the information on NGS, which is now out of date. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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9 comments:

  1. I'm not sure how I could, but I'd be glad to help with the site for free.
    I don't have experience putting up a whole site from scratch, but I've worked in web development for some time.

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  2. I’m so glad to see Blog-Tick updated! :D

    I can confirm that, on iOS at least, the BUCK-TICK app is available in the good ol’ US of A, as is access to Love & Media. (Did I leave a glowing review on the App Store? You bet your Kurumi-print unmentionables I did!)

    So I was able to purchase tickets to the shows (the September ones) with my own stupid American iPhone and my own stupid American credit card. But when I entered my own stupid American phone number…. well, the confirmation number expires in 2 minutes and apparently the intertubes or the telegraph wires or the actual air between here and Japan is too thick and congested to relay six numbers in 2 minutes, and I was never actually ever to… you know… access the tickets. At all. (Were they good seats? I’ll never know. But in this case I think ignorance is bliss.)

    But other than that, and the fact that the borders were still closed, and the fact that you can’t sell the tickets if you don’t have a Japanese bank account and thus I ended up spending a buttload of money for something no one was able to actually use… other than all that it worked perfectly!

    (If I go to Japan for the FINALO, will the confirmation be quicker? Will I spend 2500 bucks for a plane ticket only to stand outside the Budokan like a wet puppy dog trying to communicate with my trash-tier Duolingo-Japanese to a bunch of disinterested employees? I dunno, but I’m gonna find out in December!)

    Ahem. Anyhoo. That’s my experience. I hope whoever in in charge of Tixplus steps on a Lego.

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  3. Thanks for the update. I can confirm that the B-T app is not available to download in the UK (Android), however, I have W membership and access L& MP by signing in via the website. I have been waiting with excitement for Japan to open, planning an entire trip around attending a B-T live. Now, I am not sure that will ever happen, even as a FT member. I am bummed out now and feel like the chance of getting a ticket is very low.
    The risk of spending a lot of money on travel on the off chance there could possibly be same day tickets available is risky. I will definitely write to FT but I am not feeling optimistic about it.

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  4. You can side load the Buck Tick app on android phones. There's sites that host apk files (aka the app installation files) so you just need to find it and download it and it works. I did it once just to check it. I've registered on LMP from Greece with my own phone and credit card too. The only problem I faced is when I tried to join FT as well I had to confirm my physical address and the turned to be an issue because for some reason when I signed up for LMP I had picked Japan as my country of residence. Did I do that on purpose because there was no other option? Did I do it accidentally? Fuck if I remember.

    So I had to contact tixplus to get it fixed because they won't allow you to change some details of your profile on your own. 💀 But they did it and communications went ok (in english too lol).

    That said I haven't had to buy a ticket (yet? 🤞🏻) so I don't know if and how that would go. I read somewhere that if you uninstall and reinstall the app a lot you may face some "whoops everything is now invalid" kind of problems.

    I guess we just all have to message the band and cry about it lol. (I always wonder if they even read those messages lol)

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  5. hey cayce, thanks for letting us oversea fans know of the trouble of getting tix, was about to ask you for one again but gave up after reading what you said. it is so confusing! will try again next yr. in the meantime take care cayce, don't work too hard :)

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  6. I'm so happy to see you posting here again! And with the info I NEED! I will be in Tokyo at the end of December, but had given up on trying to buy tickets for DIQ from the U.S. After multiple useless emails with fishtank, I just said f*ck this excrement! (waiving both middle fingers, just like Imai) On your advice, I'm going to try the same day, in person, box office, paper tickets. Wish me luck, I'll let you know how it goes.

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  7. The new ticket system makes me want to rant and I fully agree with what you said- in fact I considered leaving Fishtank this year because of it and I have a couple of Japanese friends who actually did. I miss the days where paper tickets were an option for Buck Tick. There are so many things that can potentially go wrong with this particular e-ticket system- eg. you get a fever and can't go but can't give your ticket to someone else so bye money/the app doesn't work/the app doesn't work with your os/your phone breaks the day before and it's not like you can use a friend's etc. etc. I basically feel anxious about it until I get into the venue ok.
    Fortunately it's been ok so far but I nearly had my phone battery randomly die on me before the Osaka Fishtankers only in July.
    Different topic but I'm not pleased with how Pia has changed during the pandemic either (I swear their handling fees etc. have gone up too) and how many artists seem to have switched to them for fanclub sales. I had quite a bit of trouble getting money back from Pia for a show that was cancelled (not Buck Tick)- in the end it took A LOT of phone calls and emails. In over a decade of living in Japan I don't think I've had such a hassle of a customer service experience (and this is coming from a fluent translator).
    Oops that did turn into a rant- sorry!
    Anyway, I really hope the system will be changed to make it easier for fans coming from overseas and well, everyone really.

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    Replies
    1. Rant away! Every comment you made is totally valid. It's like they actively hate the fans and don't want then to come to the shows. And they keep jacking up the ticket prices! I have it from a friend who just attended the Hiroshima show on the 35th anniversary tour that the venue was only half sold. Buck-Tick used to sell out every single venue and sometimes you couldn't get tickets at all. I don't believe the band is less popular, I think people are totally fed up with the ticketing system and they can't afford the pricing. Plus the corona bullshit. But it seems most major label artists have switched to these aggravating apps. It's going to kill live music in Japan if they aren't careful. I honestly don't blame anyone for leaving Fish Tank at this point. I have tales to tell about how poorly they've treated me and how shit their customer service is, but I'll save it for another day ;)

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  8. No choice but to try method 1, as long as I can get tickets, not that I want the magazine or merch or love fish tank. I just need Buck-Tick that's about it. Thanks Cayce! Wish me luck too ;)

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