HKT48, SKE48 SKE48 2nd Album National Pre-order Event & HKT48 Saikou ka yo National Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/02/12)

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SKE48 2nd Album National Pre-order Event AND HKT48 Saikou ka yo National Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/02/12)

Multiple 48-groups holding events at the same location on the same day is becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence. Such was the case on Sunday when both HKT48 and SKE48 had their National events right next door to one another. For SKE, this seems to be their big tactic for increasing the sales number of their second album. The only way to obtain tickets was to pre-order the album, either at mumo.net or at the event itself. For me, this would be my last chance to say goodbye to Mikitty before she graduated from SKE, so getting tickets to this was very important for me. And as long as I was there, I might as well jump next door and say hello to Yuka-chan, right? At least that was the plan…

A few days after ordering the CD I saw that the 48-group handshake event on the first weekend in February was being called “Mikitty’s last.” It was complete with group photo and everything posted on twitter. Now I was wondering why I went through the trouble of getting tickets when Mikitty will already be gone. Well, I guess I could use my tickets on Kaotan, or maybe Tani. And at least I still had Yuka-chan next door….

A couple of days before the events the schedules came out. I first took a look at HKT…No Yuka-chan. WTF? Why the hell am I going to Makuhari when the two girls I most want to see aren’t going to be there? But then I looked at SKE’s schedule, and to my surprise Mikitty was on it. Great! Not all is lost. I had considered getting more tickets than I already had (three for each), but with no Akiyoshi I would stick to three for HKT. SKE, however, was another story…

The Morning

I was going to wait until noon to show up, but all of my friends were getting there early, so I arrived at 10:30. My plan was to use a couple of SKE tickets in the morning, move over to HKT in the early afternoon, then finally back to SKE where I would finish out my tickets with Mikitty. It should also be noted that they had created a path between the two events where you could walk from one to the other without the hassle of security. So that made things a lot easier. Mikitty had a handshake slot in the morning, but I skipped that since I wanted to see her at night, closer to the “end” of her day. I spent my time watching all of the games they had set up. This was a pretty cool idea…

The Games

So you could spend your tickets on a handshake, or you could spend them playing the various games with members. They had basketball shooting, soccer shooting, baseball pitching, and badminton. On the other side there were some strength and measurement things, although I have no idea what those were like. There was a Haunted House (which did not get good reviews) and a booth where girls could try on actual member costumes. That was a popular line. In fact most of the games were very popular. The trouble was that most of the girls I like never participated in them, with the exception of Tani, who played badminton for almost an hour. I am kicking myself now for not going for that, but I was waiting to see if Mikitty or Kaotan would come out to play the games. I was here mainly for Mikitty anyway…

Special Stage B: Yakata Miki, Suda Akari, Goto Risako, Matsumura Kaori

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Two hours later I finally spent my first ticket on the 12:40 special stage, featuring Mikitty, Kaotan, Dasu, and Goto. This was a lot of fun. The girls came out and sang Party ga Hajimaru yo!, followed by Doku Ringo wo Tabesasete. It was all done sorta tongue-in-cheek with the girls fooling around the entire way. And of course the MC went about how you would expect with those four involved. They did have a photography section, so I got a few cool pics…

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Unfortunately I wasn’t very close. The combination of members made this a very popular stage, so it was pretty much full. The other issue was that this stage started at almost exactly the same time as the HKT Mini-Live, which was just on the other side of the wall. So we could hear that almost as loudly as our event. But it was still fun.

And that was the one ticket I used for the first four hours I was there. Mikitty had another special stage later on, but it was the same time as the HKT handshake event, so I decided to skip it…

Moving Over to HKT

After grabbing lunch in the SKE food court, and queueing up to pre-order one more SKE Album (and three more tickets), I moved over to the HKT Area. It was a good thing too since there was like a tidal wave of HKT fans pouring over to the SKE area (interestingly, far fewer went from SKE to HKT) I had nothing to do, so I hung out with friends as we watched the staff transform the mini-live area into handshake lanes. This took far longer than they expected, and the handshake event started almost 30 minutes late. I knew how I was going to use two of my tickets, I would decide about the last one at the afterwards…

(Ticket #1) Lane 15: Toyonaga Aki, Inoue Yuriya, Murakawa Vivian.
I was going to visit this lane second, but my friend wanted to see Aki, so we decided to tandem.  Of course I was there to see Vivian, but I was interested in meeting Yuriya too.  This was a National handshake event, so the line moves really fast. Also, in the beginning you are supposed to use the mini-live ticket exclusively, which I didn’t have. But since it just opened I guess they just assumed I had one since they let me pass. Anyway, when I got to Aki she excitedly asked where I was from, which I told her. Unfortunately, she pretty much took all the time I had with Yuriya too (who I really wanted to meet) so by the time I turned to Yuriya I was already being pushed away. Finally, Vivian excitedly thanked me for coming to see her again as I was pushed out of the booth. It’s a National Event, so quick one-liners are about all you can really expect…

(Ticket #2) Lane 16: Miyazaki Sono, Kurihara Sae, Fuchigami Mai.
If Akiyoshi wasn’t here, at least I would get to see Maichan. However, I would have to wait since they were now checking to make sure you had a mini-live ticket to enter a handshake lane. Fortunately, this line wasn’t very long so I just hung out close to the entrance, and the moment they announced you could use a second ticket I jumped in…

Sono just stared at me, and unfortunately I had nothing to say to her so I just stared back. Then Sae, to my surprise tried to fish the hell out of me. Considering that she completely ignored me when I saw her special stage with Yuka-chan last month, this was quite the turnaround. In fact she kept at me even after I moved over to Fuchigami, who gave me the usual “Kami” reaction that I get from her every time. She is so adorable…

So now I had one ticket left. Would I sell it? Would I use it? I didn’t want to visit those same lanes again (Kurihara is kowai!), but I was having trouble deciding which other lane I wanted to go to. Sasshi, Sakura, and Lovetan’s lanes were all huge, and I was never much of a Lovetan fan anyway, even if this is her last handshake event. I finally narrowed it down to two, and then one. There is someone I have contemplated meeting for a while now. Someone I kind of have a love-hate feeling for. i decided to give her a shot and see what she’s like…

(Ticket #3) Lane 8: Tomonaga Mio, Hokazono Hazuki, Sakai Moeka.
I have always thought Mio was cute, but I have been under the impression that she has sort of a shitty attitude, which is why I have avoided her. For me, “cute” only carries so much currency. I would much rather spend time with members who are fun. In any case, this lane wasn’t too long, and it was getting close to Mikitty’s final handshake slots next door, so I went for it.

I couldn’t see in what order they were sitting because I was blocked. It was only when I got up to the booth that I saw Mio was first. She had long, and light hair. I had never seen this look on her, and I thought it was adorable. She greeted me with a big smile and I told her I loved her hairstyle this way. She stroked her hair and thanked me and I was pushed to Hazuki, who I barely had time to tell that one of my friends oshis her. I was quickly pushed past Moeka, and that was it. I walked out of the lane really happy that I had a great experience with Mio. In fact, I am considering buying tickets for her in the future. And with that I went back over to the SKE event…

Back to SKE

I had five tickets left, One I would use on Kaotan, the rest on Mikitty. The only question was how would I use the Mikitty tickets since she had three different slots happening. In the meantime, I met one of the other Wasafans who was at the event. He wanted to go see Kaotan, so I decided to tandem with him…

Lane 8: Takatera Sana, Matsumura Kaori.
The line was really short, and we both breezed by Sana to get to Kaotan. My friend was in a tight handshake with Kaotan when he gestured that he brought me with him, and she got so excited. She finally let go of him to grab onto me, and it was pretty much just a few seconds of squeeing before I finally got pushed out. It is funny how Kaotan treats me. I mean she does play with me, like she does with most everyone, but for the most part she just acts so happy that I have been coming to her for so long. Well, the good news for her is with Mikitty graduating, Kaotan will officially become my SKE Oshi. She earned it!

Lane 9: Kataoka Narumi, Yakata Miki, Ishida Anna.
What I really liked about Mikitty’s evening lanes is that in both she was paired up with another member I really like. This time she was with Anna. After saying hello to Narumi-chan, I grabbed onto Mikitty. She immediately informed me that this was her final handshake event. I told her that I was aware, and I would be seeing her later. At that moment Anna grabbed me to say hello and Sashiburi. That was actually one of the most animated interactions I have ever had with Anna too. Hmmm…

I had over an hour until the last slot. I considered playing one of the games, but by then all of the lines were huge. So forget it. In the meantime I was watching the people shooting hoop and pitching. Jeez, some pretty bad athletes amond the SKE wota. There were a few skillful people here and there, but others…hidoi!

Lane 9: Saito Makiko, Hidaka Yuzuki, Yakata Miki.
The interesting part about this was that it was my interaction with both Miki and Makiko four years ago that made me a Miki fan. For those of you who weren’t around back then…

In a nutshell, I was in line for Kaotan trying to decide what to say, and Miki and Makiko decided to try to play with me from the neighboring lanes. I got so flustered that I didn’t realized I was next for Kaotan’s booth. While I sat there stammering Kaotan started screaming at me, asking me why I liked her. “WHY WHY WHY!?!?”, and then “I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU” as I was being shoved out of the booth. Meanwhile, with Kaotan still yelling at me out the back of the booth, both Mikitty and Makiko were laughing at me the entire time. The original story is on this post in the thread, if you want to read it.

Anyway, I entered the lane and Makiko gave me a real deadpan hello. That’s okay, Yuzuki was all ready to give me a nice excited greeting. Finally I got to Mikitty, and just as I was telling her I would see her for matome the guard puts me in this “bear hug” I’m WTF? What did I do? So I turn to him and say “Nani!?!?” He tells me that I forgot to put the ticket in my pocket. (This was a unique situation where the tickets were “multi-use”, and since they rushed me in so fast I forgot to put it back in my pocket. Why this is such a heinous crime, I do not know) In the meantime Mikitty said something to the guard, then called out to me. “Chris, it’s OK, you are OK” and gave me a big smile.

Matome Lane: Yakata Miki
I debated just using the rest of my tickets in this slot, but I had never done matome before, so I decided instead to wait it out. Obviously a lot of people had the same idea considering this was Mikitty’s last ever handshake event. So I hung out close to the lane so when they called for us I wouldn’t be far back in line. Since it was only Miki I would have a little more time to say at least some of the things I wanted to tell her. When it was finally my turn I told her that I fondly remembered the first time I ever met her, and I have always enjoyed visiting with her, and that I hope this isn’t sayonara. That was when she said she would still be on social media. So we parted with smiles.

I could have waited for the final photo shoot, but the line was extremely long, and all of my friends were done with their tickets, so I decided to call it a night. After all, I had to wake up extra early the next morning for the Wasamin Bus Tour, which you can read about on the previous post.

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki The Wasamin Valentine’s Day Bus Tour (2017/02/13)

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The Wasamin Valentine’s Day Bus Tour (2017/02/13) AKA My “Date” With Misaki-chan.

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This was yet another event that was advertised in our periodic monthly fan club newsletter. Although according to the invitation you didn’t necessarily have to be in the fan club to attend, but the only place it was promoted was within the fan club. In any case, this was the second bus tour Wasamin has done, the first one took place around Tokyo. This time Wasamin was taking it to the next level. Not only were we traveling out to Kanagawa Prefecture, she had filled the schedule with interesting activities along the way.

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The event started early Monday morning in a bus parking lot near Tokyo Station. As the crowd grew in the reception area, we were soon made aware that there were actually two full size buses for the event. One of the event promotions was that Wasamin would be traveling with us on the bus. So this meant she would be splitting time. I was assigned Bus #2, in the second to last row. The nice thing was that I had nobody in the seat next to me, so I had plenty of time and space to do my homework during the long ride. Our first trip was out to Yokosuka, which is about 1-1/2 to 2 hours away. Wasamin was in Bus #1. However, we pulled off of the highway about half way there so she could switch to our bus. It was extremely laid back. She was just hanging out with us, answering questions and stuff. Eventually we made it to Yokosuka, and to our first destination…

Stop #1: Battleship Mikasa, Yokosuka

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I had mentioned to Wasamin last week that I have actually visited the Mikasa before. Not only that, but I am currently studying the Russo-Japanese war, which this ship was heavily involved in. So this was actually killing two birds with one stone. Before we entered the ship we took group pictures with Wasamin. Since there were around 75 of us, we were divided into three groups of 25. I was in the “blue group,” which went last. Yes, on the back of our tour necklaces was a bunch of stuff in code, we were slowly learning what it all meant. Bus assignment, photo group, and one more which we would find out about later.

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Once on the ship half of us scattered, while the other half pretty much stuck around Wasamin. I was trying to see as much of the boat as I could since we were late, and had limited time. We watched a film that went over the history of the boat, and were allowed around 15-20 minutes afterwards to look around before we had to go. For about half of that time I was talking to an English-speaking curator who was telling me about some of the ship’s history. Eventually Wasamin and Ichikawa-san came over and asked me to follow them. She was going to put the official visitor stamp on everyone’s brochure, and I got to be first.

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After that we left the ship, on to the bus for our next mission…

Stop #2: Gyoza and Dumpling making lessons at Yoshu Hanten, Yokohama Chinatown

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Wasamin spent the next ride on Bus #1, so I continued to do homework while we were serenaded by Wasamin’s 2nd Album. I forgot to mention that both buses had a proper tour guide. So when Wasamin wasn’t on the bus we would be receiving a traditional bus tour. The skies were really clear, so we had a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji from Tokyo. However, I was on the wrong side of the bus to get a good photo. Eventually we arrived in Chinatown. None of us had any idea what these cooking lessons would entail. We came upon a restaurant on the main drag, and were led into a private dining room on the top floor. This is what the third number on our necklaces were for, it was our lunch seat assignment.

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We were all seated at large, family-style tables, complete with the “lazy-susan” in the middle. There were all of the ingredients for making our Gyoza and Dumplings. Wasamin was seated at her own table in the middle. Eventually she walked from table to table seeing how our food was coming out. It was a lot of fun, and I think mine came out well, although I definitely could’ve put more filling into my dumpling, not to mention my gyoza could have been crimped better. They took our creations away, and then lunch started. Geez, I thought we were only eating what we made. I had no idea an 8-course Chinese meal was about to come out of the kitchen.

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My Gyoza and Dumpling. Not bad…rest of the meal below

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Just as we thought the lunch was coming to an end, more dishes came out, including our now cooked gyoza and dumplings. And of course it wouldn’t be a Wasa-lunch unless there was some Ebi involved. At the end of lunch Wasamin announced that we would all get to take a shamekai with her, and receive a Valentine’s Day present. Wasamin and I were both full from the big meal…

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More Wasa-candy!

My table was the second to do shamekai, so I had plenty of time to roam around Chinatown and check out the shops. I have actually been here multiple times before, so it was nothing new. Yokohama Chinatown is very close to Pacifico Yokohama, where the 48-groups regularly hold events. Many of the fans were buying Chinese trinkets to give to Wasamin as a gift. Finally, we got back on to the bus for our third destination…

Stop #3: Iseyama Kotai-Jingu Shrine, Yokohama

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Our final stop was at a small Shinto shrine near Chinatown, where we would be holding prayers for Wasamin. The event was complete with Shinto priests, and a shrine maiden. It was beautifully done, in fact I almost teared up. Thinking about Misaki-chan’s personal hopes and dreams somehow really affected me. Oh, and there was also a prayer done for the fan club too. So that was nice. Afterwards we all had a small saucer of sake, and went back onto the main grounds. Everyone was purchasing various good luck charms and those little fortune cards while Wasamin hund one of those prayer placards on their wall.

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Wasamin’s prayer card

I wasn’t sure what my wish said, but one of the other fans, Kimura-san (he was one of the guys who went to London and France, the quiet one) told me that my fortune was pretty good. A little while later Wasamin asked me what I got. So I showed it to her and asked if it was good. She was like “Yes, it is good”. She then demonstrated with her hands what level of “good” it was, but from her demonstration she made it seem like it was really low. I exclaimed “Hidoi!!!” and grabbed my my education charm which I had also shown her. A few minutes later as we were walking back toward the bus the sun was in our eyes and I was squinting and covering my eyes. Just then Wasamin came up to me and started laughing as she asked me if I was squinting. I was like “I can’t see!” In any case, it was fun just hanging out with Wasamin and talking like we were all friends out for the day. Eventually we were back on the bus for our ride back to Tokyo.

Since our bus hadn’t had Wasamin’s presence since the morning, we got her company for the entire 1+ hour ride back. I’m not sure if she was actually recording, but she did an episode of “Wabi Sabi Rajio” on the bus, complete with letters from fans. And we got to ask questions live. After that she just chit-chatted with us for the rest of the ride back. It seems Wasamin has been apartment shopping lately, and she was really dismayed by the prices of the apartments she looked at. Of course she has been looking in some of the most expensive parts of Tokyo, so what did she expect? Many of the fans were giving her some suggestions. The bummer for me was that I was in the second to last row of the bus, so those of us in the back didn’t really get a chance to participate in these informal chat sessions. Oh well. Perhaps next time I will insist on being in the front of Bus #1.

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Straining to see Wasamin at the front of the bus. Actually, she wasn’t in the bus when I took this pic

We made it back to Tokyo and said our goodbyes. We were together for almost 9 hours. That is A LOT of Wasa-time! And itas so much fun doing these kinds of things. You could almost equate it to Wasamin having a group date with all of her fans. That is honestly what it felt like. I also think that is part of why the prayer affected me the way it did. Make no mistake, I have seen the humanity of Misaki-chan for a long time. But this event made even more real. She wasn’t performing. She was just out with us, sharing the experience…

And how cool is that? Wasamin’s fan club is just the most amazing thing ever, isn’t it? It is non-stop fun. Next week we have the cheki event, and then her solo dinner show in Nagoya. So never a dull moment…

and if any Wasafans are in Tokyo this week, she has a mini-live in Akabane on Friday afternoon. Just lettin’ y’all know!

 

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 1st Photobook (Wasamin <3) Release Event at Book 1st Shinjuku (2017/02/11)

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The day had finally arrived.  We would be getting our hands on Misaki-chan’s very first solo photobook.  What kind of treasures would be held within?  But first we would all have to go through standing in the bitter cold outside Book 1st Shinjuku waiting for our turn with Wasamin…
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Plenty of Wasamin <3.  And my copy with the special cover arrived from the publisher. Was waiting in my mailbox when I returned from the event.  This was the one that was exclusively available for pre-order at her solo concert.

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So right now I have six copies, three autographed, one special cover, and two regular. Not to mention three special posters, which is an offshot poster size version of one of her PB photoshoots. Although two of the books and one poster are already “sold”

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I had three tickets for the event, one yellow (three books) and two white (one book). One of my white tickets actually belonged to another fan who wanted an autographed copy, but couldn’t go. I was a bit tired yesterday morning, so I got to the event late. When I arrived the line was already really big. In fact, although the event started at noon, it was almost 1pm when I finally made it inside and got to see Wasamin for the first time. I used my yellow ticket first. Here is my 1-shot…

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I told Wasamin to do any pose she wanted, as long as I could get her cute skirt into the shot. We took our cheki right after that, it was at this point that Wasamin asked me how old I really was. (I think I have made jokes about being 17 like Kaotan, and also being the same age as her in the past) When I told her my age she kinda whispered to me under her breath “otona”. Yeah, I know.

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By the way, one of the guards at this event seemed to be a fan of Wasamin. He was laughing so hard at every joke she made. He was a really nice guy though, and made a big deal out of the fact that I had three tickets. For my second ticket I talked to her about the bus tour on Monday. I was telling her that I had been to the Battleship Mikasa before, and that this would be good for a class I am taking. In fact, one of my teachers expects me to do a report on my visit. So Wasamin’s bus tour is turning into a study event. On my last ticket I asked her about the solo Dinner show next weekend. Also, I made a slight faux pas on my last handshake, but it was partially the fault of one of the manager’s…

At the end of your handshake Wasamin is supposed to hand you your books. While you are talking he would leave the books just to her right. Only this time he actually dropped them right between us, and said something to the effect of “here are your books”. So instinctively I went to pick them up. Wasamin and Ichikawa-san were like “Hey wait” Wasamin grabbed the books and pretended to run away from me with them. Then she was playing keep-away. So it ended up being a cute moment.

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One of my autographed copies. With each ticket you got close to a minute of conversation, not including the cheki and 1-shot. So it was well worth the time, although it made the line move a bit slow. When I finished my third ticket it was 2pm. They were pretty much wrapping up by then, but there may have been a couple people who had more than three tickets. I didn’t stick around to count.

As for the PB. I love it. Of couse I am biased. But she looks beautiful. There are a bunch of different photoshoots in it. One of my favorites is the one with her wearing a fancy dinner dress, posing around Ginza (I think it’s Ginza) Also, the Paris photoshoot is quite nice too. It is a very classy book. It does have a couple of bikini shoots, the one pictures above, and there is another with her in a cute sky-blue bikini. But overall the book suits her personality well.

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And I am ready for the dinner show! I was getting worried, because it took the post office three days to re-deliver this. But it finally arrived. But first, bus tour on Monday, and then the cheki event on the 18th.

 

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki “Saba Kaido” Chara-Ani Cheki Event at Nippon Crown/Tokuma Records Offices (2017/02/04)

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Iwasa Misaki “Saba Kaido” Special Chara-Ani Cheki Event at Nippon Crown/Tokuma Records Offices (2017/02/04)

In addition to the countless mini-live pre-order events…In addition to the special bonus offers via Tower, WonderGoo, Rakuten…The other CD promotion to sell Wasamin CDs in the special Cheki Event via Chara-Ani. Essentially you are getting a handshake ticket with a cheki when you do this pre-order. This isn’t a singing event, instead it is done in the offices of Wasamin’s record label. Actually, last year for Gomen, ne Tokyo they did them after the Nagara Pro Enka festival concerts in Nagoya in Tokyo.

For this single there would be two events, both taking place at the same location. Like with AKB, it is done in timeslots, and Wasamin does a costume change between each slot so…..you know…..we all want to get tickets for each one. The offices are in a non-descript building about a kilometer from Gotanda Station. There is a lot of security, and they are very strict about where you can and cannot go within the building. But that’s alright, we are all there just to play with Wasamin anyway.

This was my first chance to talk to Wasamin since the big concert last weekend. I got there shortly before the first slot started and noticed that ALL of the fans brought their concert goods to use as props for their chekis. Shit! Why didn’t I think of that? No matter, since there are two of these events I will do that for the next one. In any case, I had plenty of other stuff to talk about with her…

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Once I got into the building I was sent into the elevator, and led into the waiting room where I queued up. Eventually I was led into a second room, and the actual queue to see Wasamin. Since this was also the first time I was getting to see Wasamin since her birthday, I came bearing gifts. The first was a small tin of Chocolate Strawberries, but the most important gift was my first fan letter written completely in Japanese….

Wasamin: Hello! (I hand her the letter, she reads the envelope) Misaki-chan!!! (Showing it to her manager) Misaki-chan!!!
Me: Open it, look…
(Wasamin stares at it for a few moments, and turns to me)
Wasamin: Jouzu…Jouzu.
Me: Happy birthday, I have a present too.
We were then told to do our pose

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(Misaki-chan holding my letter)

I handed Wasamin the gift. She thanked me for coming, and I told her I would be back. By the way, the moment I saw Wasamin’s outfit I noticed something familiar about it. She actually wore the exact same outfit at one of her events for Request Covers 3 1/2 years ago. XD

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I went to lunch with a few of the Wasafaithful, and we didn’t get back to Tokuma until the middle of Slot 2. No matter, I only had one ticket anyway. I recently started wearing reading glasses, mainly for reading Japanese. If any of you have read a comic or manga, sometimes they print small hiragana underneath the kanji, and this is impossible for me to read. So now when I am reading Japanese I have to wear glasses. Anyway, Wasamin had never seen me in them. I felt kinda silly, since they are strictly for reading, so everything was looking a bit blurry when I walked in…

Wasamin: You wear glasses?
Me: These are new. Misaki-chan looks super cute! (referring to the sexy maid outfit)
Wasamin: Thank you (does a curtsy)
Me: I bought the glasses to read Japanese. Very small Japanese writing is hard for me to read. (I pulled out one of my other tickets to illustrate what I meant)
Wasamin: Naruhodo
(Just then we were asked what pose to do, I suggested a “maid” pose, which Wasamin struggled with for a few moments. But I think it came out well)

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Chris: Oh, I loved the concert. It was a lot of fun!
Wasamin: Are you coming to Otemachi? (referring to her 3rd concert this Summer)
Chris: Of course!!!!!!
Wasamin: Chris C’mon. I will be waiting for you (in English)

After that I left again, and found a Tully’s coffee to go veg out in until the third slot. I wanted to line up early since I had dinner plans right after in Shin-Okubo, and I needed to walk all the way back to the train station. Anyway, I headed back shortly before the third slot started…

SLOT 3
I was trying to decide what to talk to Wasamin about for the third slot. I had a few ideas, we’ll see how it goes. I enter the room, and Wasamin is wearing some sort of Ninja/Street Fighter cosplay. I immediately say….

Me: Misaki-chan to Kurisu no Taiketsu!!!
(We immediately get into fighting pose, and Saso-san snaps the pic)

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Me: For Setsubun, I ate my first Eho-maki!
Wasamin: I know
Me: Ehhhh???
Wasamin: I read your twitter
Me: You did?
Wasamin: “Ooooh big, Eho-Maki Big!”
(That is exactly what I wrote on my tweet when I posted the photo of the Eho-maki)
Me: Yes, that is Takamina’s line!
(We’re all laughing)
Me: See you next week for Wasamin and Chiizu’s Shashinshuu!
Wasamin: Chiizu, (LOL)

So there goes Wasamin, reading my twitter again when I’m not expecting it. I honestly wonder how often she is reading my tweets. I don’t think she reads everything I write, but then again I didn’t even link her to that one. So I’m not sure. But it was funny that she actually remembered exactly what I wrote.

That is why she is my Oshimen!!!

Anyway, the next couple of weeks are filled with Wasafun. This Saturday is the Wasamin PB release event in Shinjuku. I now have three separate tickets for that since a friend of mine wanted autographed copies, but can’t go. He bought the ticket, and gave it to me so I get the benefits. Also, Monday is the Wasamin Bus Tour. We will be touring around Kanagawa Prefecture. First going to an historic site (that I have actually visited before), then we will be making our own Dumplings and Gyoza, and finally visiting a Shrine. I’m sure there will be some singing along the way, and of course we will be having fun in the bus too.

The following week we have Wasamin’s second chara-ani cheki event, as well as her first solo dinner show in Nagoya. I am really interested in what this dinner show will be like. It was considerably less expensive than the two Christmas Dinner shows, which were both wonderful. The only thing that I do know is that it isn’t open bar. But whatever, it should still be a lovely occasion.

 

CK in Tokyo

Concerts, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 2nd Solo Concert at Asakusa Kokaido (2017/01/29)

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Iwasa Misaki 2nd Solo Concert at Asakusa Kokaido (2017/01/29)

To say this was a long-anticipated concert would be an understatement. I went back and looked at the OP of the concert thread, and it was announced 10 1/2 months ago. Wasamin’s first solo concert was such a special event, that I am fairly sure every Wasafan couldn’t wait to do it again. The first trick was not to lose our tickets, which we purchased and received in March. My tickets made the journey from Tokyo to California, where they sat in the trunk of my car all Summer, and finally back to Japan. Every once in a while I would check my small suitcase to make sure they were still there. LOL

A Weekend filled with Wasamin activity
The concert was on Sunday, but on Saturday most Wasafans flocked to Book 1st in Shinjuku, where we queued up to preorder Wasamin’s upcoming PB. There were three different packages you could buy, from the basic package, which includes an autographed copy of the PB, plus a handshake and poster. Then there are multi-buy packages where you get additional perks like 1-shots and 2-shot chekis. However, this was not the only special PB pre-order this weekend….

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Ad for the PB, plus my autographed Clear File. Do I spy a Mizugi???

Deja vu, weren’t we just here a year ago?
So I knew there was going to be a lot going on Sunday, but I wasn’t sure what was happening, and when. I only knew that an early goods table would be open from noon until 2pm. There was also the issue of me having an extra ticket to the show, which I hadn’t been able to sell. I did have one buyer, but he flaked at the last minute. Ultimately I gave it to @hermionepj1 as an upgrade, and he paid me the difference. This way I was eating a 3rd floor seat, and not a first floor seat.

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Some of the flowers sent to give Wasamin best wishes

Anyway, I got to the venue at 10am, and the line wasn’t too long. But again, I wasn’t even sure what I was lining up for. However, everyone was there, so whatever happens, happens, right? At around 11am, the line started moving. When we got to the table, one of Wasamin’s assistants, Yamaue-san, was passing out numbered tickets. It turned out they were to reserve an autographed Clear File at the goods booth later that night. Once they passed out the 100 tickets (I got #52), they re-queued us in the same order for goods. Pretty much everyone bought the 7500 yen “Everything” package, which included the concert T-shirt, Oshi-towel, heart-shaped lightstick, and a Saba Kaido Uchiwa. They also had the Wasamin calendar, but most fans bought that last year. So it was 12:30, and the next event wasn’t until 3:15, so many of the Wasafans decided to have a pre-show party at a nearby Izakaya.

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Heart Penlight on the right. Lightstick on the left is from last year, although I transferred it on to a multi-colored King Blade

Ichigo Seats
One of the perks for lucky fans was the “Ichigo Seat”, which sold out in 5 minutes when tickets originally went on sale. I originally missed out on getting an ichigo ticket, but I was able to obtain one a few days later. Ichigo seat holders were to be treated to a special pre-show event, and receive some special goods. We lined up before 3pm, anticipating doors opening at 3:15, but there was a delay. A long delay. we ended up standing in the queue until around 3:50pm before doors finally opened. As we entered we received our gift…

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It turned out that it was a short mini-live/sound check. Wasamin sang Mujineki, and Saba Kaido, with an MC in the middle where she was wondering why hardly anyone put the badge on. “You guys are supposed to wear it!” I also noticed there was no band. Last year she had a backing band, so I assumed she would have one this year too. But that was pretty much it, 15-20 minutes, and we were booted out while Wasamin did a few last-minute press interviews. However, we were led out of the hall but then stopped in this tight little hallway for 20 minutes, and it was friggin hot in there! Ichikawa-san kept coming into the hallway to apologize, but most of us were wondering why they weren’t letting us out. There must have been a reason, right?

We were waiting for Wasamin! They had planned a high-touch for us as we left, but she was busy with the press. Finally she came out, but everything was running far behind schedule, so Yamaue-san was really rushing us through the line. However, I did get a chance to wish Wasamin good luck as she exclaimed Chrisuuuu!!!

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Queueing up for the big show!

5:00 Doors Open
We pretty much queued for the show right after the Ichigo event ended. I was queued up outside. It was really funny, if you have ever been to Asakusa, they have those guys pulling tourists in rickshaws. Every one that passed the concert hall was telling their fare about the Iwasa Misaki concert. Once we got in, everyone was given an autographed cheering flag, which was something they mentioned back in March. Of course there was the concert goods table, as well as the CD DVD table, and a photobook pre-order table. which was by far the busiest since they had a special offer of a special limited-edition cover if you pre-ordered the PB at the venue. You also got free shipping!

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Cheering flag, and the uchiwa

Again they had the special “museum room”, where they had posted a bunch of Wasamin photography. (Last year it was a few of Wasamin’s most iconic AKB outfits) Most of the photos were shot in London, Paris, and on location at her PV filming. Here are a few examples…

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Between the goods, the clear file, PB, and photography room, it was already going on 5:30, time for the show!!!

The Concert

(Setlist)

Special Ichigo Seat Rehearsal
(Ichigo Seat holders entered then venue 90 minutes before the show, and were treated to a mini-live, plus high-touch)
0/1. Mujineki
MC
0/2. Saba Kaido

Main Setlist
1. Mujineki
2. Gomen, ne Tokyo
MC (Wasamin talks about the autographed “cheering flags” everyone in the audience received as a gift)
[2nd Album Section]

3.1. Itako Hanayome-san
3.2. Gakusei Jidai
3.3. Ringo no Uta
3.4. Kita no Hotaru
MC (Wasamin promoting her upcoming PB)
4. Ame no Bojo
5. Wakare no Yokan
6. Ikegami Sen
MC (Promotion of her monthly Challenge Campaign, and future Nagara Pro events)
7. Kyoto Kara Hakata Made
VTR (History of Wasamin learning the guitar)
[Wasamin solo acoustic guitar section)

8. Cosmos
9. Cherry
10. I Love You
MC (Introducing photography corner, audience allowed to take photos for the next 7 songs)
11. Toshishita no Otokonoko –3rd floor
12. Touch – 2nd floor
13. Niji wo Watatte – 1st floor right
14. Watashi no Kare wa Hidarikiki – 1st floor right to center
15. Natsu no Tobira – 1st Floor center to left
16. Gakuen Tengoku – 1st floor left
17. DESIRE – Stage
MC (End of photography section, Wasamin takes a few requests for last minute poses)
18. Moshimo Watashi ga Sore ni Sundeitara
MC (Wasamin’s Birthday!)
19. Hatachi no Meguriai
20. Hatsuzake
(End Main Set)
VTR (Summary of Wasamin’s year since her first solo concert)
EN 01. Tomonoura Bojou
EN 02. Ishikari Banka
Surprise Announcement: Wasamin’s 3rd Solo Concert will be July 22-23 at Yomiuri Otemachi Hall
En 03. Saba Kaido
END

Notes:

-Tracks 4-17 are all songs she has either never performed before, or only performed at Fan Club Events
-Spotted in the audience: Tanabe Miku, Suzuki Mariya, Oya Shizuka, Nonaka Misato, Tatsuya Makiho (according to fans. Tanamin is confirmed since I have seen her tweet about the show. Plus I saw her and Yannu up in the balcony)

Right before the show we all noticed a bunch of AKB members sitting on the third floor. Everyone kept yelling for Tanamin, who waved and then hid. Meanwhile, Mariyannu was waving her cheering flag. Wasamin of course did the kage-ana, and a short time later the lights came down. The show started with a “music-box” version of Mujineki, before the curtain rose. So Mujineki opened the show, followed by Gomen, ne Tokyo, and then an entire section devoted to promoting her second album. To be honest, the beginning felt kinda like a glorified mini-live. But after the second MC, Wasamin started singing songs we had never heard her perform before, and that’s where the fun really started…

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Speaking of MCs, she was basically doing the same thing she does at her mini-lives. Promoting her CDs, events, PBs. The progression of the show was quite interesting. It was like it kept kicking into a higher gear. About one-third of the way in, we were treated to our first VTR, which was a history of Wasamin learning the guitar. She mentioned that “Give Me Five” was her initiation into the guitar, and she liked it. We got to see her taking lessons, stuff like that. From there Wasamin did a costume change, and it was time for the guitar portion of the show.

She did a very good job with the guitar, but she makes mistakes here and there. She still has some work to do to become more proficient. But at the end of the day she is playing these songs decently, and her singing never falters. She even asked the crowd at one point if we would like her to do more acoustic guitar stuff, and of course we said yes. Finally, after the three acoustic guitar numbers, it was time for….

Photography Corner!!!
This was probably my favorite part of the first concert, and this year it did not disappoint at all! Not only is it fun, but Wasamin picked excellent songs to perform. High energy, fun, and the fans went crazy when she sang Gakuen Tengoku. Wasamin was having a great time too, just look at my photos!

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By the way, I put more photos in the Concert thread.
http://stage48.net/forum/index.php?…olo-concert-2017-01-29-asakusa-kokaido.14808/

After that, Wasamin sang a few old favorites before the main set ended. Fans immediately started a chorus of “Wa-Sa-Min!”, and a short time later we saw a 2nd VTR. This time it was a look back at Wasamin’s year from her graduation announcement to the present. She was really busy last year, and this year is proving to be even more busy. After TomoBojo and Ishikari Banka, Wasamin was into her final MC when we saw the third “Surprise VTR”, announcing the concert in Otemachi this Summer. Everyone congratulated her, and she went into a long MC on how she felt this past year and how thankful she has been for the fan support. Finally she ended the show with Saba Kaido, which to me is among her best singles.

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Aftermath
There was a special post-show backstage event that fans who bought the album could win, but nobody I know even applied for it since we all thought it was just going to be part of the Ichigo event. So I have no idea what happened there, nor have I heard anyone talk about it. Instead many of the regular fan club members (party of 36) created our own after-party at a local Izakaya, where we celebrated Wasamin’s birthday. We even had a cake! (Which almost burnt the restaurant down…seriously) We also recorded a group birthday message and sent it to Wasamin’s manager. So fun tiems!

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Saba and Ebi!

And, we go right back to business as usual.
Wasamin has two mini-lives this week in Chiba and Asakusa
Chara-ani 2-shot cheki event on Saturday in Gotanda
NHK Performance in Osaka on the 9th
Following weekend on the 11th and 12th she will be doing two PB release events
Wasamin Bus Tour on the 13th
Mini-Live in Akabane on the 17th
Another Chara-ani cheki event in Gotanda on the 18th
Wasamin solo dinner show in Nagoya on the 19th
and then she is back to France for Japan Expo Sud, AND a performance in Paris

BUSY!!!

 

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki, New Release Iwasa Misaki “Saba Kaido” Release Week Festivities

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Saba Kaido Pre-release at Nippon Cultural Broadcasting, Hamamatsucho, and Music Shop Dan, Higashi-Jujo (2017/01/09)
Just to finish up Wasamin’s release week. Actually, I ended up missing most of her release week due to my own personal commitments. After performing in Ikebukuro on the 6th, Wasamin went out of town to do events in Shizuoka and Nagoya. This was also the same weekend as the AKB48 handshake event, so many Wasafans ended up playing hooky and going to Makuhari Messe instead. Oh well, we would all make it up to her later on….

On Monday Wasamin performed in Hamamatsucho, along with Hayabusa in what seems to have become an annual event for Nagara Pro and Nippon Cultural Broadcasting. The Nagara Pro artists help out with their donation drive, appearing on radio AND answering phones for the day.

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from Wasamin’s blog

It is always fun to hear what songs Wasamin will perform with them. Of course photos were not allowed, but Higashi-san, who often MCs Nagara Pro events, always allows us to take as many pics of him as we want.

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Hamamatsucho Setlist 12:00
1. 365-ho no March (All)
2. Hatsuzake (Wasamin)
3. Saba Kaido (Wasamin)
4. Go Go! Yokohama (Hayabusa)
5. Eborebo (Hayabusa)
6. Omatsuri Mambo (All)
7. Yoi Uta (All)

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That led to the final “pre-order” event of the campaign later that day, at Music Shop Dan in Higashi-Jujo, which by the way is within walking distance from my apartment. (Well, if you count a 35-40 minute walk as “walking distance”). In between the events Wasafans were running around Tokyo picking up their pre-orders from the events at Asakusa, Akihabara, Ikebukuro, and Shinjuku. I didn’t realize the shops would already have the CDs available, and only had my slip from Akiba Sofmap, so I picked all of mine up a couple days later.

Higashi-Jujo Setlist 17:00
1. Mujineki
2. Ishikari Banka
3. Tokyo no Bus Girl
4. Saba Kaido

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This event was also notable because 1) they ended up having the CD available, so it wasn’t a pre-order event at all. Ultimately the Wasafans bought out the entire shop of every copy they had. Wasamin’s manager was crying. It got pretty ridiculous, as the handshake session entered its third hour. Three guys just wouldn’t stop. They kept going back to the cash register, over and over. (10 more copies please!) The rest of us were just watching, for like an hour. Finally, I got tired of watching, and turned to leave. But just as I went out the door I changed my mind, came back in, went up to the register, and bought two more copies. (Which made 10 for me that day) Wasamin saw this, and when I came up with my handshake ticket she “tearfully” exclaimed “Chris-san!?!?!?” I said to her “But I want Misaki-chan to have good sales!” This prompted a few other fans to follow suit, and eventually the shop sold out. I heard one of the other fans tell Wasamin that when he saw me go back up to the register, he decided to do it too. After it was FINALLY over we all celebrated at a local all-you-can-eat and drink yakiniku restaurant nearby.

Saba Kaido Debut Release Event and Press Event at Ikebukuro Sunshine City (2017/01/10)
Someone asked this on the thread earlier, and frankly I don’t have the answer. But this single’s official release date was on Tuesday instead of the normal Wednesday. The only difference that make was that it debuted a day early on the pop singles chart (3rd place) Unfortunately my month long vacation ended on the 10th, and I had a very busy day scheduled. But this was the “big” release event, where they were not only giving away a bunch of prizes, but it was the only event where you could get the exclusive Saba Kaido clear file. I had a long break in the afternoon, so I ran over to Ikebukuro, and luckily the handshake session was still going on. So I grabbed three copies of the single and immediately queued up. Wasamin was like “You made it!!!” The previous day I had told her that I was going to be very late, and to please wait for me. Per usual, I didn’t win any of the special prizes (A bunch of autographed Wasagoods, and a few NagaraPro goods) but I did get my Clear Files, so all was well.

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Some of my Wasa-goods, clear files not pictured. That stack of stickers and autograph boards got a lot bigger later on in the week.

Setlist 14:00
1. Hatsuzake
2. Ishikari Banka
3. Tokyo no Bus Girl
4. Saba Kaido

Setlist 17:00
1. Mujineki
2. Futarizake
3. Ringo no Uta
4. Saba Kaido

Wasamin spent the next four days in Saitama, Ishikawa, Aichi, and Osaka, before returning for a final event on the outskirts of Western Tokyo…

Saba Kaido Release Event FINAL at Aeon Mall Sunrise, Hinode (2017/01/15)
Wasamin’s management has this amazing knack for finding the most random, out of the way malls for her to perform in. This was another one totally out in the boondocks. Actually, it wasn’t THAT far from Central Tokyo, less than an hour from Shinjuku Station. (Not far from Yokota AFB) I had never even heard of the JR Itsukaichi Line (an alternate branch of the Ome Line) until I went to this event. Anyway, it was to be expected that the fans would go all out for this event, and for the late session that is exactly what they did.

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One little side-note, Monday was the deadline to mail in our requests from the Wasamin stamp cards. I had four cards left, so I was going to get a Saba Kaido pen and tote bag (I already got one pen earlier that week) I brought my little mailer to show to the other fans, just to make sure I did it right, and one of them asked “Why are you mailing in for the pen, Ishikawa-san still has some with her?” So for my next handshake I asked Wasamin’s manager if this was true. She said it was, but they were in the back. She would bring one out to me later. Sure enough, later that afternoon Ishikawa-san came up to me “Here’s your pen!” Cool, so I crossed that off of my little order form.

Setlist 13:00
1. Mujineki
2. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka Version)
3. Tokyo no Bus Girl
4. Saba Kaido

Setlist 15:30
1. Hatsuzake
2. Toki no Nagare ni Miwo Makase
3. Ringo no Uta
4. Saba Kaido

The late event was when things really got crazy. First, they announced there would be a “scratch-off” contest where you could win a Wasamin autograph of anything you wanted, or a signed one-shot cheki. Most everyone was getting their Happi coats signed. (BTW, they also offered this prize at the late event at Sunshine City) But this offer had everyone scrambling to buy more CDs. In fact, I ended up doubling the amount I bought for the day. (8 total) But after all of those chances, I didn’t win anything. Oh well. But again, there were a few people that bought a ton of CDs for this final event, and again the handshake session stretched to almost three hours. After all was said and done it was a great day for all, but there was one little issue…

There was one cheki left over. They were pretty sure they didn’t miscount, which meant someone got a winning ticket and didn’t cash it in. So after asking everyone to re-check their tickets, it was decided that Wasamin would play Janken against everyone for a chance to win the final cheki. And guess what….

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I AM THE KING OF JANKEN!

Last week I won playing Janken with over 100 people against Akiyoshi at the AKB event, and now again, playing against Wasamin with at least 50-75 people. For me “luck” sort of works in mysterious ways. I never win the drawings for her autographed stuff, and Wasamin has even noticed it. Anyway, I went up to accept my prize from Wasamin. She made a little comment to the crowd that she was really happy that I won something, and that it was a “nice end to the campaign”

And at the end Saba Kaido finished 10th on the singles chart, 1st on the Enka chart, and sold over 10K copies. So a successful campaign.

Bring on the Wasamin Photobook!

That’s right.  Wasamin will be releasing her first solo photobook on February 11th.  Pre-orders start Saturday the 28th in Shinjuku and Osaka, and for those who preorder there will be some awesome perks at the actual release event.  I cannot wait!

CK in Tokyo

AKB48 AKB48-Group High Tension Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/01/07)

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AKB48-Group High Tension Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/01/07)

So in my ongoing conundrum of not wanting to support AKB48, while at the same time wanting to support the members I am still a fan of, I decided to attend one of the handshake events for AKB48’s newest single. I decided to go to the “New Year” event since I couldn’t do Christmas (Wasamin Christmas dinner), and Valentine’s weekend was the most popular date. Anyway, I managed to nab a bunch of tickets for my favorite members, plus I decided to try the “open tickets” for the first time. I wasn’t sure how I would end up using them, I figured I would just play it by ear.

The Bonus Prizes
For the last few singles AKB has been offering bonus prizes that you can win during handshakes. For the most popular members these are autographed photocards, but for everyone else the prizes include 2-shot selfies, 1-shot videos (the girl records a video message on your phone), Audio recording (same as the 1S Video, but audio only) or an autographed card (in this case it would be a traditional Japanese New Year’s card from the Post Office, complete with the raffle code) To avoid suspense, of the 10 eligible tickets I had, I only won once. Not that I really care that much, the handshake is more important to me. But having a win percentage be this low almost seems like “bait and switch”. Of the people I spoke to, most of them had similarly low win rates (under 20%, some even under 10%) If they are going to make this an integral part of the process, they should give fans a little bit better a chance than that. But whatever…

I had 14 tickets, most of which were bunched into Slots 5-7. I also had one ticket each for Slots 2-4 (I lost on all the Slot 3 I applied for) So I had to get to Makuhari by 11am. Quickly got my tickets stamped, although for the first time someone at the Chara-ani desk pointed out that my name on the tickets is in katakana, while my name on my ID is in romaji. This has never been an issue before, and I also pointed out that the system will not allow me to enter my full first name since it has 11 letters. Ultimately I think she was merely pointing out that it would be better if they were the same.

Fuchigami Mai (Slot 2) – So I had plenty of time to use my Slot 2 ticket, and Maichan’s queue wasn’t long. There were signs at the entrance saying that Mai was having throat issues (which I knew about beforehand), and may not be able to talk, which would be interesting since this was a 1Shot-Video Slot. But when I got to the front she seemed to be speaking just fine. I was planning on performing my famous “Noda Magic” on her, something I did for Wasamin quite a few years ago, but Maichan assured me that she actually felt fine, but that her throat was just hoarse. i said I was happy to hear that because I was worried, especially with two long days of handshakes ahead, plus the Coming of Age ceremony in Kanda on Monday.

So there was still close to 10 minutes until Slot 2 closed, so I decided to do a once-around to see if there was anyone I would like to use an open ticket for. I wanted it to be someone I had never met. 3/4 of the way around I found a near-empty queue of someone I had never met, but considered meeting more than once. Given the circumstances, I felt I should take advantage…

Nishino Miki (Slot 2) – Ever since Miki almost fell into my lap at a theater show back in 2013, I have felt somewhat of a connection with her. Despite that, I have never met her aside from the quick High Touch that day. Since she is a pending graduate it was pretty much now or never. As I mentioned, there was nobody in her queue besides the person she was talking to, who seemed to have quite a few tickets. Eventually it became my turn. Miki immediately bombarded me with excited random English. I wanted to remind her of that theater show, but I didn’t know quite how to describe it in Japanese. So I basically said that while this was the first time I had met her, I was in the front row for one her theater shows. That she understood, and she thanked me for coming to see her. And that was the first time, and probably the last time I will ever meet Miki.

I had almost two hours until Slot 4, where I had one ticket. I had also planned on using one of my Open Tickets on one of the special stages in this slot. So I would quickly get the first ticket done, which would give me plenty of time to get over to the staging area…

Murakawa Vivian (Slot 4) – The nice thing about Vivian is that she is always super-genki, although on the other hand I never really have anything substantial to talk with her about. I queued up early, so I was one of the first few in line. She came bouncing in a few minutes after the beginning of the slot wearing a cute pink sweater and black skirt. I told her that she looked very cute in pink, but then I asked her what happened to her hat? She told me she left it in the back. Anyway, we wished each other a happy new year, and I was off to use the next ticket.

Akiyoshi Yuka/Ota Aika/Sakaguchi Riko/Tomiyoshi Asuka Special Stage (D11) – Lovetan was off today, so it was only the trio. That was fine, since I was mainly there to see Yukachan (and to a lesser degree Asuka) Since I was using an open ticket, I had to wait for the people with tickets to go be seated first, then those of us with open tickets went in last. The funny part was that we still drew entrance lottery tickets (we just didn’t use them) And whaddya know, I drew a very low number. So I would have been in the first two rows if I used a regular ticket. Oh well. Fans were allowed to film and photograph the entire event, which was cool. I had limited room on my phone, so I decided to only film little snippets.

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The girls were drawing pictures based on audience recommendation, and then we played janken to win what they drew. I lost in the second round for the first set of photos, but in the second round, I WON!!! And there were a couple hundred people there, so that was really cool. Rikopi was making a big deal out of me after I got through the second round. At the end they asked whose drawing I wanted, but I didn’t even need to answer. Yukachan stepped forward and said “He wants mine!”, she then turned to me while I was shaking my head affirmatively. After the show Yukachan said she wanted to put some messages on it for me, and asked me to wait for a few minutes.

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Winning this prize really made up for my bad win percentage for the New Years Cards. Anyway, by the time that ended Slot 4 was pretty much over, so no chance to use my last Open Ticket. I had considered using it on Mio. Perhaps there would be someone new in Slot 5 who I would like to see…

Tani Marika (Slot 5) – I hadn’t spoken to Tani for a while, plus her birthday was on Thursday. So at the very least I could wish her a Happy Birthday. BTW, I hadn’t gotten the chance to sign a birthday card for her yet. Luckily her committee was there, and they gave me her Special Birthday booklet…

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Per usual, Tani made her grand entrance by jumping into the next lane and attacking Arai Yuki, which made for a fun handshake for the dude in her lane. Tani was in all white, with a cool looking hat, and her hair was gorgeous. Tani greeted me with a big “Happy New Year”, but I waved her off. “The more important day, Happy Birthday!!!” As I said it she put her hand to her ear like “Yeah, lets hear it!” I told her that I loved her outfit, and that she looked like “Hip-hop Tani” as I was being pushed out. Tani said something I didn’t catch, but it got the queue laughing.

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From Tani’s twitter

Fuchigami Mai (Slot 5) – I had applied for other Maichan tickets in earlier rounds, but this and Slot 2 ended up being the only 2 I won. Listening to her speak, she still sounded good. So I told her that I was glad that she wasn’t feeling ill. But then it got all scratchy as she demonstrated to me how her voice has sounded for the past few days. She then said, in very broken English, that she wants her English to be better (which is odd, since on previous occasions her English has sounded really good) So I told her I would be happy to be her English Sensei. “Hontoni??? Please come back” However unfortunately this was my last Fuchigami ticket for the day.

I contemplated using my final Open Ticket in this slot, but it had gotten very hot in the venue, and I was beginning to sweat. I decided to go upstairs and get something to drink before Slot 6. Plus I had a lot of tickets to burn through during the next two rounds. Eventually I came back downstairs, and I was trying to strategize who to see and when. None of the members had a long queue, so I decided to start with Mikitty…

Yakata Miki (Slot 6) – It had been a while since I had talked to Mikitty, at least three months. The good news was that I won the New Years Card, so that would break the ice, so to speak. I wasn’t sure how I should write my me on the winning card. I chose Katakana, however Miki was more interested in my last name, which was printed on the ticket (and stapled to the form) Actually my last name can be hard to pronounce, but she did it perfectly the first time. Anyway, she ended up writing my entire name on the card, which is why I covered up part of it in the pic.

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A few minutes later I re-queued for Mikitty, the first thing she said was “You didn’t win?” It was odd, since it did seem like most people were winning in her queue. I told her it was okay since talking is the most fun. This time I commented on her cute outfit, particularly her earrings. They looked like big Mahjong tiles, but was afraid to call them that since it might be insulting. Nevertheless, Mikitty was like “Do you know Mahjong? They are like big Mahjong tiles!”

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From Mikitty’s twitter

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 6) – Finally I would get to see Yuka-chan, and I was greeted with a great big “Chrisssss!!!!! Omedetou!!!” I was like Yes, “I am the Janken Champion!!” Anyway, I told her that the stage was a lot of fun, and I was glad that I went. I had another ticket for Akiyoshi in the next slot, so I told her I would see her again.

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Tanabe Miku (Slot 6) – So at one point between running back and forth from Miki to Yuka’s lane, I noticed the sign for Tanamin’s lane was taken down. So I went over to the directory and sure enough, there was a sign that said that she had called in sick (She also called in sick for Sunday’s event). Damn! It had been a while since I had talked to Miku, and I wanted to finally congratulate her for the Janken win. I went back to the chara-ani booth, since I was under the impression that I had to get the ticket stamped in order to use it as an “open ticket”. I had a little trouble communicating with the person at the booth, and originally they didn’t even realize that Tanamin was out, but then they finally explained to me that i could just use the ticket and it didn’t need a special stamp. I was slightly suspicious of this explanation, and I was running out of time in the slot, so I decided to go back to a lane I had a bit of rapport with and ask them…
Yakata Miki (Slot 6-open ticket) – So I asked the guy running the check-in if I could use the ticket. He was like “Did she call in sick? Sure, you can use it here then” It almost seemed like I could have brought any ticket over and he would let me use it. When Mikitty tried to confirm that I had lost again for her New Year’s card I had explained what happened, and I decided to come and see her one more time today. She was happy to hear that.

Slot 7 was supposed to be my final slot, but one of my tickets got transferred to Slot 8. So I would be staying at Makuhari a bit longer than expected. There was also the issue of this final Open Ticket I was carrying around. I had looked at the schedule, and there were a few members I was considering using it for…

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 7) – This was probably the one time that I was really hoping to win the prize, which was the 1S-recording. But alas, I failed again. So I told Akiyoshi that I had been catching up on old episodes of Odekake, and that my favorite was when she went shopping at the lingerie store. She got all embarrassed, but thanked me for watching. As I was leaving she said, in English, “I want to see you more often” Damn Yuka-chan, pushing hard for me to oshi her. She absolutely knows how to push my buttons. And again, she claims she is not confident in English, but what I find incredible is when she does speak it, she does it with hardly any accent. Needless to say, I am falling in love with Yuka-chan. So this was my final ticket of the day with her, but it wouldn’t be my last encounter.

Hidaka Yuzuki (Slot 7) – I forgot to mention this in when I talked about Mikitty, but both she and Yuzuki were in Lane 2, while Tani was in Lane 1, with a totally clear view of the Lane 2 queue. So this would be the FOURTH time Tani would see me in another lane within about 90 minutes. And yes, she was giving me the stink-eye. Also, Yuzuki’s queue was by far the longest queue I endured for the entire day, especially before the check-in. It took quite a while to make it to her booth. I was also hoping (in vain) to win the New Year’s card since I really hadn’t planned what to talk to her about. So when I finally got my turn it was pretty much “Happy New Year” “Feeling genki?” and other standard fare. I still think she is great though.

I still had over 10 minutes to decide if I wanted to use my last open ticket in this slot, and I did since I didn’t know how long the queue would be for my final ticket. I had considered a few different members. Should I make it up to Tani for being in Lane 2 all day? But then I would be using 3 of my four open tickets on members I already knew, which sort of defeats the purpose. I also considered using it on Yuka-chan (and I probably should have) but again. I strongly considered using it on Lemon-chan, who I have met many times before, but the last time was over 3 years ago. Then there was Yamada Marina, who I have considered getting tickets for before. In fact I almost went to her lane, except she was right next to Akiyoshi. I finally, on a whim, decided to go “off the board” and visit someone who had made an impression on me, I had heard is a great handshake experience, and I had never met before. And wow, what a kami-experience!

Sakaguchi Riko (Slot 7) – I never really considered visiting Rikopi before, despite the fact that I love her personality. She isn’t really my type. Part of the reason I chose Rikopi over Marina was that she was two lanes over to the left of Akiyoshi, while Marina was one lane over to the right. However, the lane in-between had no queue, and Yuka-chan had a clear view into Rikopi’s queue. Now I felt really bad for not using this ticket on her. But Yuka-chan was great. She was waving to me, talking to me, totally a great sport. Once again, Yuka-chan was awesome. But not to be outdone….

“Kurisu!!!!” was the first thing Rikopi says to me. How the hell did she know my name????? I had never met her before!!! Talk about Kami-experience? This has to be a first! It turned out that Rikopi was all interested in my “relationship” with Yuka-chan, so when she was adding messages to that signboard I had won earlier Akiyoshi told her my name. And she remembered. How cool is that? Anyway, I thanked her for the special stage and told her it was a lot if fun. She then started calling me the “Janken King” I was like “Yes, that’s me!!!”

Matsumura Kaori (Slot 7, Slot 8) – It turned out that Kaotan was attending a wedding for a friend on Saturday. As a result they cancelled her Slot 7. However, if you had a Slot 7 ticket you could either a) use it as an open ticket, or b) use it in Slot 8. Since Kaotan is one of my favorite members to meet, I decided to tough it out and wait for the last slot. However, I didn’t want to spend a long time in the queue, so I got over the early so I could be one of the first to see her. I was worried she might not even make this slot, but she make it about 10 minutes after the slot started.

So when I came up to her for some reason she stayed in the corner of her booth away from the guard. She greeted me with a “Happy New Year”, and I told her that I watched her performance on Kouhaku. She was like “Really? You stayed home to watch Kouhaku?” Yes, really! I was rooting for her. She thanked me, and asked if she would see me tomorrow (Sunday) and I said “No”. She was like why not? So I told her I was going somewhere else. But that wasn’t good enough for Detective Kaotan. “Where are you going tomorrow?” “I am going to a Wasamin event” She says “Wasamin? I like Wasamin too” Meanwhile I hear a chorus of “Wasamin” and giggling coming from the queue. I always try to hide from the members who else I am a fan of, especially Kaotan. But now she knows I am a Wasafan.

So it was a long day, my feet hurt, and I was at the venue much later than expected. So I decided to have dinner in Chiba before I headed back home. My next 48-group event isn’t until March, so I guess I will be on a bit of an AKBreak.

Iwasa Misaki, New Release Iwasa Misaki Saba Kaido Pre-release Week Update (2017/01/02-05)

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Iwasa Misaki Saba Kaido Pre-release Week Update

But before we get to that, let’s see what we can find on YouTube. BTW, it seems like our main source for Wasamin’s radio show has stopped uploading them. That’s too bad, since she is still doing the show every week. Hopefully we will find another source, but until then, we are out of luck unless we can listen live. However….

This was from a recent TV show, Wasamin did a “PV” of sorts of the song Blue Light Yokohama, from her Request Covers album. I believe this was on television a couple days ago…


After Wasamin’s special Christmas Day Mini-Live she had a one week reprieve until she kicked off two straight weeks of promotion for her new single. The first event was Yamano Music’s New Year’s Song Concert in Ginza, from there she is doing a series of mini-live events in Tokyo, Chiba, Shizuoka, and Nagoya. Then during release week she will be performing in Tokyo, Saitama, Ishikawa, Nagoya, Osaka, before finishing up back in Western Tokyo. So it will be a busy two weeks. Hopefully it will result in a some nice sales numbers for the single. But Wasamin fans were indulged during that off week when we received the first edition of Misaki Magazine, along with a New Year’s Card. Both were a nice surprise, and that magazine is nicely put together…

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Yamano Music (2017/01/02)
This was Wasamin’s first event of the year. However, it was not a solo event. She performed alongside Mizumori Kaori and Hayabusa, which made the show more difficult to win tickets for since we were competing with Mizumori and Hayabusa fans for tickets. They also performed a public live out in front of the shop in Ginza, which surely attracted a big crowd since Ginza was PACKED with shoppers all week. The reason I wanted to note this show was because Wasamin did her debut performance of Saba Kaido (which I missed!!!) Fans in attendance also received a Saba Kaido clear file. (Again, dammit!!!) Oh well, I will have another opportunity to get the clear file next week…

Yoro-do, Asakusa (2017/01/03)
Once again, Wasamin performing in the middle of the insanity that is Sensoji Temple during the New Year’s holidays, so there were tons of people around.

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Setlist 13:00
1. Mujineki
2. Heavy Rotation (Enka Ver.)
3. Kita no Hotaru (from the new album)
4. Saba Kaido

Setlist 15:00
1. Hatsuzake
2. Itako Hanayome-san (from the new album)
3. Ishikari Banka (Saba Kaido B-side)
4. Saba Kaido

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One of the “special features” of the show, the shop owner’s pulled out the old standing poster for Mujineki, which Wasamin had autographed five years ago, and stood it next to the Saba Kaido version so we could take photos of them. At one point Wasamin asked which version of her we liked better. Surprisingly, not everyone answered the same. I think I was the only one who answered “Both” For the handshake portion, I told Wasamin and her manager that I was sorry that I missed the public live the previous day, but nowhere were they clear on the time. As a result I came too late. It turned out the only place the time of the public live was mentioned was on the ticket for people who won. Anyway, both of them apologized for the mix up. We also talked about the intricacies of the hand motions Wasamin does during the song. It is quite idol-ish and cute, many of the fans have taken to mimicking the “hand dance” during the song, although most people merely clap. Anyway, when a video of the performance pops up online I will be sure to link it. For my last handshake we talked about Kouhaku, since she tweeted that she stayed home and watched it with her family. She said her favorite performance was Nogizaka46. I was like “Honto!?!?” I thought she would have said Mizumori, or one of the rock acts. Although she also said she really liked Fukuyama Masaharu, to which I wholeheartedly agreed.

Onkyoku-do, Koiwa (2017/01/04)
Another one of Wasamin’s usual haunts. Like the Asakusa location, they give preferential seating to people who preorder the CD earlier. So if you preorder the day of the performance you aren’t going to get a great seat. That said, I was able to grab an empty third row seat for the second performance.

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13:00 Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Blue Light Yokohama (from Request Covers)
3. Tokyo no Bus Girl (from the new album)
4. Saba Kaido

15:00 Setlist
1. Mujineki
2. Ihoujin (Tomobojo b-side)
3. Ishikari Banka (Saba Kaido b-side)
4. Saba Kaido

At one point during Wasamin’s performance of Ihoujin it sounded like she was starting to lose her voice. A lot of people have been catching colds lately around here, so I was worried that she might be coming down with something. However, Wasamin was as feisty as usual during the MCs. At one point she noted that very few of us have been wearing our Happi Coats to the events. All of the sudden she sounded like she was getting upset. “Don’t you guys like them???” “Why aren’t you wearing them???” “Mizumori-san and Shimi-san’s fans all wear theirs to their events!” Anyway, I apologized and promised her that I would finally wear mine the next day, which I would soon regret. Wasamin also talked about that photo she posted on twitter with her “younger sister”, I guess a lot of people didn’t realize that she had superimposed her face on to her sister’s, so she got a lot of comments about her sister’s looks. At first I was surprised about the photo since I have seen her younger sister on more than one occasion. And while they do look similar (they are definitely sisters), they don’t look exactly alike!

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I also got a small gift from one of Wasamin’s fans, who was dress in a Yukata with cat prints all over it. He even wore cat ears. At one point Wasamin had all three of us doing the “Nyan Nyan” pose. Anyway, the gift was a postcard similar to the comic featured in Misaki Magazine Vol. 1. For the handshakes, aside from the discussion about the Happi coat, I also told Wasamin that I tried whale for the first time when she told me about the Kani she ate on New Year’s

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Wasafan party in Ueno after the Asakusa event.

Shinseido, Kashiwa (2017/01/05)
This is the location where Wasamin does her monthly “Challenge Campaign”, and sings a song she has never covered before. I had asked her the previous day if that would still happen since she is promoting Saba Kaido, and she assured me we would hear a new song. So I was excited. Since a lot of people are still on holiday, she had a very big crowd. The problem was that it was very cold yesterday, and this show is in an open-ended shopping arcade. So the icy cold wind was whipping through the venue. It was actually colder than it was outside. However, I had made a promise. So I took off my jacket and put on my Happi coat, with only a t-short underneath. I would be freezing, but I didn’t want to disappoint Wasamin. Most of the other fans were smart and ignored her lament from the previous day.

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Setlist 13:00
1. Gomen, ne Tokyo
2. Hibari no Hana Uri Musume (originally recorded by Misora Hibari in 1951)
3. Kita no Hotaru
4. Saba Kaido

Setlist 15:00
1. Mujineki
2. Hibari no Hana Uri Musume
3. Gakusei Judai (from the new album)
4. Saba Kaido

The original version of Hibari no Hana Uri Musume…

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It was really cold. To nobody’s surprise Wasamin came out in coat over her kimono to perform. Not only that, she did the handshake portion while wearing a big furry scarf around her neck. She looked very glamorous. In fact it led to one of the most daring handshakes I have ever had with Wasamin…

So as I came up to her she immediately latched on to my Happi coat.
W: You wore it!
C: Yes, but I like what you are wearing.
W: Do I look cute?
C: You look beautiful, why don’t we go to dinner together tonight?
W: Are you asking me out on a date?
C: (laughing)
W: (turns to Ishikawa-san) Chris-san just asked me out on a date!

Pretty funny. Anyway, Wasamin likes that type of stuff. A lot of fans still treat idols (and Wasamin) like they are children. Any they aren’t, most of them are adults, or close to becoming an adult. It is important to her that her fans see her as a grown woman. You can see it in how she participates with the fans. She likes being thought of as more of a peer. So my “date proposal” was actually meant to be more of a compliment on how sophisticated she looked, rather than a real invitation. Although I’m not sure what I would have done if she had called my bluff.

The rest of our handshakes were the usual chitchat. At one point we were talking about the prizes for her stamp card. Her manager actually had the tote bag, which was really cute. Wasamin drew the design, which is a bunch of fish. The other two possible prizes are a ball-point pen or a tumbler, but we haven’t seen those yet. My guess is that the tumbler will look like the tote bag. I was originally told that the stamp card promotion would end today, but it turns out it is going until Tuesday. I have enough for the tote bag already, but I will try to score the pen as well.

And there’s your update. If you haven’t already, please order her new CD! If you guys are interested, there are four different online promotions for her single, but you would need to use Tenso…

Tower Online: Receive a Tower exclusive Saba Kaido poster with purchase (while supplies last) The poster is also available at certain Tower Records locations (Shinjuku and Shibuya in Tokyo)

Rakuten/Yamano Music/WonderGoo: Receive a special DVD-R of off-shots from Wasamin’s London appearance. Each shop has a different version.

Happy shopping!

 

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Christmas Eve Dinner Show at The Wings, Ebina (2016/12/24) (featuring Yamakawa Yutaka)

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Iwasa Misaki Christmas Eve Dinner Show at The Wings, Ebina (2016/12/24)
(featuring Yamakawa Yutaka)

It has been a very special month for Wasamin and her fans. Three Christmas events, a new album, and of course promotion for her upcoming single. So before I get into Christmas dinner, let me quickly talk about…

Iwasa Misaki Speical Christmas Mini-Live at Aeontown Narita-Misato (2016/12/25)

So fresh off of our Christmas eve Wasa-hangover, we would be doing it all over again. Only this time we would be traveling over an hour in the opposite direction to Narita to celebrate Christmas day. This was a special Christmas mini-live, as they were featuring a special deal for multi-CD purchases. Per usual, if you bought a CD you would get handshake ticket. But if you bought both versions you could instead opt for a Shamekai ticket. You still got all the other bonuses (two bromides and two stamps in your Wasamin “frequent buyer” card) The other bonus was that Wasamin would be performing in two different Christmas cosplay outfits, and she looked adorable. In fact, once people saw the cosplay they preordered more CDs. Anyway, here is a sample. via my two shamekai…

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I caught one of Santa’s Reindeer. I think it is Cupid

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Santa’s Helpers

Of course our conversation centered around how cute she looked in her cosplay. BTW, that’s why my “heart” pose looks so goofy, we were actually doing “Doki Doki”, so my hands were extending when it was shot. I also managed to give Wasamin her Christmas present, as well as a Christmas present for her manager. I thought that would be kind of a cool move. We also talked about Yamakawa-san’s MC at the Christmas show the previous evening, where he stated how amazed he is with Wasamin, and compared himself when he was 21 and working at a conbini. I told her I agreed with Yutaka-san, and she told me she was really touched by what he said.

As for the setlist, lately these days Wasamin has been singing mainly her singles, and songs from her new album. However today she tossed Koisuru Fortune Cookie – Enka ver. into the mix, which was refreshing since it had been a while since we heard her perform it. Anyway, I hope Wasamin’s management took note as this promotion definitely seemed to inspire more CD purchases. It is really nothing off their back to offer Shamekai either, so hopefully they make this at least a semi-regular feature of this CD’s promotion. Anyway, back to…

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The Dinner

Let me begin by saying that I was really looking forward to this after the wonderful experience we all had at her Christmas Dinner show the previous weekend. Although this event was slightly less expensive than the one in Tachikawa, something told me that it would be just as nice, if not nicer since The Wings is set up mainly for occasions like these.

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Ebina is about 45 minutes outside of Central Tokyo in Kanagawa Prefecture. I didn’t want to wear the exact same outfit as last week, so I picked up a new shirt and tie at Aoki, right down the street from the Donki in Akihabara. I arrived a little early, got my seat assignment, and proceeded upstairs to wait for doors to open. In the meantime there was no queue at the Wasamin goods table, so I preordered a couple of singles and got two handshake tickets for after the event.

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Doors finally opened, at that point there were only like half a dozen people (all Wasafans) waiting. It looked beautiful, icey-blue lighting, with the entire staff positioned around the room greeting us as we walked in. I arrived at my table, there was a box placed in the center of my place-setting. The first thing I wanted to see was the drink menu, and this place had a full bar. (Tachikawa was mainly beer, wine and sparkling wine) They also had special drinks for the performers. The “Misaki” was fresh fruit floating in Ginger Ale. People who tried it liked it, but I was more interested in the alcoholic selections. I loved that their house sparkling wine contained gold-flake in it.

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Of the three starters, I loved the duck. The amber-jack with vegetables was very nice too. Not too sure about that crab/fishcake though. Not something I would order. Anyway, here are the rest of the dishes along with the menu.

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Ebi Kitaaaaaa! There were two different Ebi dishes on the menu, including the soup. (At Tachikawa they did not serve any Ebi dish) They were probably my favorite dishes too. Unfortunately my steak was overcooked, but my friend Mayumi was full, so she gave me her perfectly cooked steak. She also tried to give me her Tiramisu, but I was was also full at that point, it was a 7-course meal! Anyway, I was full of food and booze, and ready for the show…

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Wasamin’s performance was pretty much exactly the same as in Tachikawa. She opened with Hatsuzake, then proceeded to walk the floor while singing Blue Light Yokohama and Tokyo no Bus Girl. However, she skipped singing Ishikari Banka and instead just ended with Mujineki. I figured her setlist would be longer since there were only two performers, but I was incorrect in my assumption.

Soon after Yamakawa Yutaka took the stage. After the first song he did the most incredible MC, talking for a long time about how amazed he is with Wasamin. It was a really nice and heartfelt tribute, and you could tell Wasamin was touched since she came back onstage. Wasamin sang the next song with Yutaka-san providing guitar accompaniment. The funny thing was when he started walking around the room while singing. Wasamin fans are well trained not to overstep the rules when Wasamin performs, however Yutaka-san’s fans were completely different. They would get up from their seats and take impromptu 2-shots with him. A couple of fans even brought out autograph boards for him to sign while he was singing! But the best was when he sang a song called “Keiko”, and found three women in the audience named Keiko to sing it to. During the song these two Obasans sitting behind them kept grabbing his ass. After the song he thanked them too. So cool! Finally Wasamin returned to the stage in her cute red dinner dress to sing a duet of Silent Night. They ended with a prize giveaway of signboards and their house Sparkling wine, but unfortunately I didn’t win. I was close though. I was ticket #331, #321 AND #341 both won. And that was the show.

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This was her outfit from the matinee

The handshake event started immediately after the show. I was talking to Wasamin about the shrimp dishes, and how the Chinese-style Shrimp was my favorite. It is her favorite food after all. But all of the sudden she asks “But what about my dress, what do you think of my dress?”, looking kind of dejected that I was focusing on the shrimp and not her. I told her she looked beautiful, and that she was “up here” (making a gesture with my hand) and Chinese-style Ebi is down here (using my other hand) “So you like it?” to which I responded that she is “delicious”, a little running gag I have with her implying I want to “eat” her, which of course has a bit of a different meaning in Japanese. Anyway, it always gets a laugh from her. I also mentioned I had Christmas presents for she and Ishikawa-san, but I would bring them to Narita the next day.

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“The Rat Pack”

Finally on our way out they were selling bottles of their Gold Sparkling Wine. It wasn’t too expensive, they had a deal if you bought two, and it is almost New Years, so I picked up a couple of bottles.

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Needless to say it was a wonderful Wasa-weekend. Wasamin isn’t doing any public performance or promotion between now and the New Year, but she will get into full gear promoting her single beginning January 2nd, all the way through the 15th. So two weeks straight of Wasamin, although I cannot go to all of them. Actually, my wallet will be relieved to hear that.

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P.S. and just in time for Christmas, my Wasamin Happi Coat arrived, so I am ready for the big concert next month.

 

CK in Tokyo

SDN48 Christmas Live with Chick Girls, and former SDN48 Member Fukuda Akane (2016/12/20)

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Part 15 (and final installment) of my Catch-up Series…

Another former SDN48 member has entered my “idol field of vision”, Fukuda Akane. She is currently the co-leader of an idol group called Chick Girls, who focus mostly on dance, but they do sing as well.

http://chickgirls.com/

Anyhow, a friend of mine put me on the guest list to see Chick Girls back in August since he was friends with one of the members. I was completely surprised when I saw Akane up there with the rest of the group. I took a couple of chekis with the member who got me in at a discount (Amina) and I ended up talking about the old days with Akane for like 5 minutes or so, but I never took a cheki with her! LOL.

Last night they had their special Christmas Live in Harajuku, this time I got in at a discount by invitation from another member (Anna Minami) since Amina is on hiatus and back in the U.S. (Yep, she’s Americajin) I won’t go into too much about the show. The girls are really good dancers, and their one main song I really like. They also have two junior groups who they introduced last night. They are all good dancers, but my criticism of the show would be that management needs to do a better job of planning out the show. As there was a LOT of lag time, a bit of disorganization, and their sound guy had some major issues. Mics turned off, too low, music too loud, etc. I feel bad though, because their manager is really nice. And he speaks fluent English too. But back to Akane….

I had decided before the show started that I would make sure to take a cheki with Akane when the show ended. But even the cheki session was a bit disorganized. At first they were selling tickets seperately, but then they abandoned that and said just give the member the money for the cheki, LOL. I was trying to decide if I wanted to meet any of the other members besides Akane. I have taken a cheki with Anna Minami before. In fact, she and Akane were the only two who really had a queue. I really liked Mai, she is really cute, a good singer, and just my type. Petite. Same with Alice Takeda, petite and cute.

The moment I went up to Akane she immediately identified me “The SDN fan!” So I told her that I had just seen Chaki’s live event last week (Hatakeyama Chisaki) I told her that my favorite part of the show was when se soloed on “All I Want For Christmas is You” I also asked her what the name of their one main song is, since I like it a lot. The manager was listening, so he told me. A little while later Akane came over to me because she forget to sign my cheki, so she took care of that…

Then, the members all made these special collages, and the fans were playing Janken for them. The first one was Anna Minami, which I actually WON! However, for some strange reason they decided to make it best two out of three between me and some other dude, which I lost. I don’t know why they did that, as they didn’t ever do it any other time. But whatever, I was really mainly interested in Mai’s and Akane’s, and maybe Alice. I lost in the second round with Alice, then I stopped playing because I wa waiting for my other two. However, the manager came over to me and my two friends and asked us to play too. I made it to the final round for Mai, but didn’t win. Akane was last, and whaddya know!

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So that made the entire show worthwhile! If you closely at the bottom, Akane wrote my name on it too. Since I won I asked Akane to do another cheki with my holding the collage.  The next thing she did was really cute.  I mentioned that I didn’t have any bags to carry it home in, so she ran backstage and came out with a Don Quijote bag.  Talk about service!

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All in all they aren’t really my favorite idol group, but they are very good dancers. And my friend seems to be a really big fan, especially of Anna Minami. So I suppose I will be seeing them from time to time with him.

But nice to see Akane out there having fun and doing some good work. She really shines in this group!

CK in Tokyo