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To live in urban Japan requires a certain tolerance for crowds and an independence from personal space. The same can be said for big music festivals like the Fuji Rock Festival and Summer Sonic. Sure, there’s room to move — maybe even dance — but if you want to see DJs and rock stars up close, then say goodbye to breathing room.

This year both fests offered numerous ways to escape the humanity. Both now have far-flung stages guaranteed to be more sparsely populated — Summer Sonic with the Beach and Riverside Stages, and Fujirock with the Cafe de Paris and Stoned Circle venues — but my favorite oases of privacy (however conceptual) were Summer Sonic’s Silent Disco and Fuji Rock’s Miniscule of Sound.

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