This is the second in the series called "Jrock Where You Live," in which Jrock Revolution staff writers chronicle what it’s like to be a Jrock fan in their community. In this installment, staff writer Allyse shares what the scene is like in the college town of Gainesville, Florida.
In this tiny mini-city called Gainesville, Florida, I didn’t know what to expect. I came from a smaller town in Lithonia, Georgia, where no one knew Jrock unless I introduced them to it. So when I started college, I was curious what kind of welcome my fandom might receive. Would I be categorized as the weirdo, ignored—or by some strange luck—embraced? Funnily enough, I was all three.
Things work strangely in this town. You have to go through tubes and tunnels before you find the place you want to go. It took my entire freshman year to find any sort of Jrock life in Florida. First I was blessed with a visit from Dir en Grey. Granted, while it wasn’t in Gainesville itself, the concert was in Orlando, only an hour and a half away. When I arrived two hours early on my own, I was surrounded by hundreds of Dir en Grey fans. The first thing that came to mind was “I can’t be the only one here from Gainesville…”
That was the start. That very summer I managed to find my very best Jrock friend in my roommate. In the span of three months she went from knowing two bands to knowing about fifteen or twenty. My belief is that if you can’t find Jrock fans in your area, then make some. The potential is everywhere.
In the following school year I became active in the Japanese Club. It was there that I found sparks of interest between the anime lovers and the business majors. Most of them listened to Japanese pop—Gackt being as close to Jrock as they had ever heard.
Unlike high school, people in college with the same interests don’t gather in one big area. There are just too many of us here with too many personalities unwilling to put themselves under the searchlight.
In Japanese class, the one with the pink hair or the one with the Miyavi button—there’s two more.
The bus, the streets, the boba tea shop down the corner, Japanese club, Anime club, even in the dorms—I can find hints of us everywhere.
I thought it was too good to be true. Dir en Grey came once in my lifetime and I was able to see them. Then the Taste of Chaos tour came. And then soon after Dir en grey announced they would play here once more. Even now, as I write this, a small concert is going on just down the street featuring The Captains and TsuShiMaMiRe. If I wasn’t sure I’d be seeing these bands again on Saturday I’d be at the concert, peering to see just how many other Jrock fans were around.
Don’t get me wrong, the Jrock scene in Gainesville is still very small, but I haven’t given up. There’s no reason to. Someone bought out all the purpleSKY magazines in Hot Topic last year, and someone’s going to all these Jrock concerts. The fandom is out there, and it’s only a matter of time before it grows enough to become truly visible. Just in this area alone I’ve seen three people associated with JRock Revolution, either as JRock Revolution concert attendees or forum members. What are the chances?
How many more new Jrock lovers will join this school by my senior year? I honestly love this town where Jrock is strange yet accepted. The atmosphere is open and perfect for anything to take root and grow. I look forward to seeing the Jrock fandom spread. If it can reach even this small town, I can only image where else it will take root.