Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 2nd Concert DVD Pre-release event at HMV Esola, Ikebukuro (2017/04/25)

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Iwasa Misaki 2nd Concert DVD Pre-release event at HMV Esola, Ikebukuro (2017/04/25)

Sorry for the break in reporting. Wasamin has spent the last week in Okinawa, and unfortunately I decided not to go. In fact, she was just in town for this event, then she took off to Osaka for the next two days. Then next week it is off to Fukui, and the Port of Obama for half of Golden Week, before she comes back for her special ‘Love Live’ acoustic concert.

Busy girl!

It was nice to be going to a Wasamin mini-live again. It seems like forever since I went to the last one. In fact, it was the beginning of April. This was a dual-promotion, where you can do a handshake if you purchase a copy of her 6th single, or get a 2-shot plus bromide if you pre-order her upcoming concert DVD release.

Actually, Wasa-management just announced a whole string of promotional events for the month of May, which means there will be PLENTY of opportunities to buy the concert release. Personally, at puts me into a bit of a quandary. Obviously I like supporting my oshimen, but pre-ordering concert DVDs at so many events is quite an expensive proposition. If I buy one at every event, I would end up with 10-12 copies, and they are 5000-6000 yen each. So I decided that I would be a bit more frugal with it. So at some of these events I will only be buying CDs, and of course there are a few events I will probably not attend. But anyway, I was excited to hear a nice Wasamin performance, and I had brought along my friend, who has wanted to see Wasamin live for a long time. Here is the setlist…

Setlist
1. Mujineki
2. Ihoujin
3. Nada Sousou
4. Saba Kaido

A couple of interesting notes. First off, they were having tons of trouble with the sound system. We got there around 45 minutes early to get a good spot, and they were trying to fix the audio the entire time. And the end of the day, they thought they had it fixed, only to have it fail around mid-way through the show. But Wasamin, ever the professional, had fun with it.

They released photos of the DVD/BluRay covers a few days ago, and they had the posters on display at the back of the stage. Wasamin hates the cover, and thinks she looks bad on it. Every time one of us said otherwise, she would argue with us.

Wasamin’s repertoire is getting so big, she is forgetting which songs come from which releases. When she introduced Ihoujin, she said it was from the Hatsuzake single, before her manager, Ichikawa-san corrected her.

One thing Wasamin has been doing for a while now is ‘playing’ with the songs she performs. That is, she experiments with different inflections, and emphasis, just to make it interesting. Tonight it was evident on Nada Sousou, where she stylized the vocals on the chorus in a slightly different way.

I did two handshakes with Misaki-chan. First I introduced her to my friend, and also told her I had been watching her TV Tokyo show every morning. For the second one, we argued about her DVD cover. Although at the end she said my Japanese is getting even better. I suppose so, if I can have an argument with her in Japanese. [hehe] BTW, we ended the show with a group shot…

It is funny, whenever there is a group shot, I am often in a strange position. Today I was on the far left. During the Hatsuzake promotional tour she was taking group shots with her selfie-stick, and kept having to redo it since she wasn’t getting me into the shot. So when they had to retake it like 8 times I thought that I may be part of the issue again. But I got in there (Unfortunately, the guy behind me wasn’t as lucky)

When Wasamin returns from Osaka, she will be working in the JOYSOUND booth at some convention at Makuhari Messe this Sunday. Then on Tuesday it is her monthly challenge campaign in Chiba. I may not go to the Makuhari thing, but I will definitely report from the Chiba event.

 

CK in Tokyo

AKB48, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48 8th Album Shamekai Event @ Makuhari Messe (2017/04/22)

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AKB48 8th Album Shamekai Event @ Makuhari Messe (2017/04/22)

This is the third of six Shamekai events for the 8th album. Tomorrow the fourth will take place at Makuhari. However, I don’t have any tickets for that. So this will be the final shamekai event I attend for this album unless they do a resale for the final event in June. Today I only had five tickets, plus one CD signing ticket. I had already pretty much planned how I would use both my signing ticket, and the open ticket I had (due to Mikitty’s graduation).

Also, I brought a friend to the event. (The same friend I took to the AKB national event last week) He didn’t have any shamekai tickets. However, I gave him one of my CD signing tickets so he could meet his oshimen for the first time. I knew he has been wanting to meet Tani for a long time, and I am glad I could help him finally do that. I didn’t need to get to the venue until slot 5. However, I arrived just before slot 4 so I could show him around the venue. It was fun to hear the thoughts of someone who was seeing an actual handshake event in person for the first time ever. Kind of reminded me how I felt so many years ago. But anyway, let’s get into my tickets…

Fuchigami Mai (Slot 5) I had just spoken to Maichan last week. However, I was excited to talk about those pictures the members were posting online last night. I thought Maichan’s was particularly sexy. However, that was almost overshadowed by the cute jeans she was wearing today…

When I first mentioned the photo, she asked which one I was talking about. When I described it she started laughing. I think she was well aware of why I liked it so much. In any case, I always like seeing her because she gives me such a wonderful kami reaction every time.


This is the photo I am talking about.

Sakaguchi Riko (Slot 5) This was my open ticket, and after Rikopi screamed my lane from a lane over back in March, I felt I owed it to her to pay her a visit. I had never done a shamekai with her before, so that was another bonus. Her line was pretty short, and I jumped in just as they opened the lanes for “day nomination” tickets. When I walked in I immediately noticed the little signs she had prepared. I pointed to them, and she immediately gave me the dog one. She asked which one she should hold. I just pointed to the one that first caught my eye…

The good news is that I have scored tickets for Rikopi for the next HKT event, and for the upcoming AKB single. We will see what kind of relationship I can form with her. I will need to keep up with her activities. In any case, I had a short break before Slot 6, but I wanted to queue up early since more than half of my tickets were for this slot. I didn’t want to get shut out.

I forgot to mention that I had another member in mind for both my open ticket, and the CD signing. It is a new member I have just started to really like, and I haven’t had a chance to meet yet. But when I saw 16th gen perform a couple of weeks ago, I was absolutely enamored with Yamane Suzuha. I love her personality, and she looks like a young Kawakami Rena. I did win Zunchan tickets for the 49th single, but that is three months away. Hopefully I will get a chance to meet her before that.

Matsumura Kaori ~CD Signing~ (Slot 6) Of the three tickets I had for this slot, Kaotan would definitely have the slowest queue. So I thought I would get it done first. The opened the lane up about 12 minutes before the start, and nobody went in. Heck, I’ll go. I don’t think I have ever been first in line before. That reminds me, some fans talk about being “last in line” for a slot, and that somehow means you are a special fan. However, the girls will tell you that’s a load of crap. Usually the people with the most tickets go last, only because then they won’t hold the line up. But it is no badge of honor. Like I said, I had never been firstt in line before, and the only time I had ever been last in line (for Nishino Miki), it was purely by accident. On the contrary, some girls say that they like the fans who are first in line because that shows that they were really excited to see them. I must admit, when Kaotan and Masanya came over to the booths, and both of them acknowledged me standing there, it felt kinda good. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. But I might try to be first in line a bit more often. Anyway, she apologized for being late, and immediately started on my CD…

Kaotan takes her time, so we got to talk for over a minute. I wanted to ask her about some of the solo events she does. I see her tweeting about them all the time, and I always think “dang, I want to go to those” So I asked her if there was a place other than Twitter that she posts about her events. She basically said to pay attention to her Twitter account. In any case, she did an excellent job signing the CD, eh?

Tani Marika (Slot 6) Since my friend got to meet Tani for the first time, I wanted to get her impressions. However, they were kinda hurrying people through her booth, despite the fact that she had a fairly short line, and it was still the beginning of the slot. So when I walked in, Tani said hello and immediately asked me what pose I wanted to do. She suggested the heart/peace combo…

Anyway, as I got up to leave I asked her what she thought of my friend, but I don’t think she was paying attention, so I repeated it, and she just thanked me. Then, as I was walking away she said. “Wait, come back! (He) is your friend????” YES! “Oooohh, Thank you!!!” Okay. I just wanted a little credit for bringing her a fan she had never met before. LOL

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 6) Gotta see my girl! When I was in line for Rikopi earlier, the queue was right next to Yuka-chan, and within her sight line. However, I don’t think she had noticed me. There was nobody in line, and the curtain was closed. So I entered the queue, aaannnnnnddddd I WON THE CHEKI! Great! If there was one girl I was hoping I would win the cheki bonus for, it was Akiyoshi. This also meant I would have some time to chat with her.

So while she was decorating the book and photo (the autograph was pre-signed, but she did the rest in front of me) I told her that I had purchased an Akiyoshi HKT baseball jersey (the jerseys they are taking pre-orders for in the official shop right now) She asked if I was going to live in Japan permanently, so that gave me the chance to explain what I was doing in Japan. I also told her I got a bunch of tickets for her at the next HKT event in two weeks. As I was leaving she gave me the cutest little grin, I could feel my knees get weak. And she did a great job with the cheki and book, don’tcha think?

But I forgot to talk to her about her starring role in the pre-HKT concert VTR at Saitama Arena, the one where she plays Tora-san. Damn! I guess I will have to talk to her about it in May. Anyway, I had one ticket left, and over 90 minutes before I could use it…

Matsumura Kaori (Slot 7) Per usual, Kaotan’s line was going really slow, especially when she would get the cheki winners. Also, at one point she left the booth for a few minutes. So as it was getting late they started to rush people, which was fine with me since I had already talked with her a whole bunch earlier. When I finally got in, she apologized that I didn’t win the cheki. But I told her it was okay since I had won a cheki with her already. I didn’t want to do a heart or peace, so we did the third most common pose…

She again apologized, and said she wanted me to win the cheki. I reminded her that I already have four autographed items from her. The business card, the old maid card, the cheki, and now the CD. So it was okay.

Afterwards I ran over to Yuka-chan’s CD signing booth so I could wave goodnight to her. But I got a triple bonus as she was hangin’ out with Rikopi and Tomiyoshi. So I got to say goodbye to all three of them. After that I took off, had dinner in Makuhari, and headed home. I am taking my friend to one last event before he heads home, a Wasamin event. Finally!

 

CK in Tokyo

AKB48 AKB48 “High Tension and “Shoot Sign” National Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/04/16)

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AKB48 “High Tension and “Shoot Sign” National Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/04/16)

This past Sunday was like a “perfect storm” of events around Tokyo. AKB was holding a National event at Makuhari, while at the same time SKE was doing their own National event at Saitama. NGT, was in Toyosu, and HKT had their handshake event going on in Nagoya. (I’m not sure what NMB might have been doing) Anyway, I had tickets for both AKB and SKE. Which would I do, or would I manage to attend both? But first…

I didn’t have tickets for the 48-group Shamekai event on Saturday. However, I did manage to get a hold of two CD Signing tickets. A couple of members I like were doing their signings in Slot one, so I decided to head over early and and meet them. The problem was, there were three girls in the morning that I wanted to see, but I only had two tickets…


Fuchigami Mai


Murakawa Vivian

With both of them we pretty much talked about the SSA concert. And as you can see, Maichan even made reference to it on her autograph. The third member I considered getting a signed CD from was Tanamin. But since she is slot 2, I decided to forego seeing her for now. There might be another chance for me to get a CD signed from her in the future. I do have more CD signing tickets for next week, but i have already decided who I am going to use those on. Anyway, back to the national event…

I pretty much let my friend, who had never been to any 48-group handshake event before, decide where we would go. And although his oshi is in SKE, he opted for the AKB event. We got to Makuhari, and queued up for the mini-live. Ultimately we ended up toward the front of the Center-B-section.

Setlist
1. First Rabbit
2. 365
3. Kimi no Koto ga Suki Dakara
4. Glass no I love You
5. Dare ga Watashi wo Nakaseta
6. Sebete wa Tochuu Keika
7. Nakinagara Hohoende (Yuihan)
8. Temo Demo no Namida (Yannu and Chiichan)
9. Juuryoku Sympathy
10. Kibouteki Refrain
11. Oogoe Diamond
12. Shoot Sign
~16th gen member segment~ (MC Ijiri-san)

I guess you really can’t call it a ‘mini-live’ anymore, since they do a full concert. Between MCs, and the many songs, the live went for over 2 hours. However, much of that had to do with the 16th gen Nemousu challenge at the end. the 16th gen girls all got 30 seconds appeal time, then they were informed of their 18-nin Beginner dance challenge. BTW, I didn’t stick around for the end of the event, but from what I hear they failed miserably. In any case, I was done with the live, and was ready for the hs event. These were the lanes we had to choose from…

Lane 1: S. Oya, M. Suzuki, C. Nakata, M. Tanabe, C. Ma, M. Miyazaki
Lane 2. N. Okada, M. Kojima, M. Minegishi
Lane 3: S. Iwatate, R. Oshima, A. Okada, S. Kitazawa, Y. Murayama, S. Mogi, A. Shinozaki
Lane 4: M. Iino, M. Ichikawa, R. Okawa, H. Komiyama, M. Tatsuya, M. Taniguchi, S. Fukuoka, M. Mukaichi, K. Sato, A. Yumoto
Lane 5: R. Okabe, Y. Oguri, N. Kurano, N. Sakaguchi
Lane 6: H. Shimada, M. Takeuchi, Y. Yokoyama
Lane 7: Y. Kizaki, C. Nakanishi, R. Nozawa
Lane 8: M. Abe, R. Izuta, R. Kato, N. Kojima, N. Fujita
Lane 9: M. Omori, Y. Sasaki, J. Takahashi, T. Muto
Lane 10. S. Kawamoto, M. Goto, H. Shimoguchi, K. Takita
Lane 11: S. Kubo, E. Chiba, N. Nomura, Y. Hiwatachi, R. Nishikawa, A. Yamabe

I knew I wanted to visit Lane 1, and I was eyeing Lanes 2, 6 and 7 with my remaining tickets. By the time my friend finished buying goods, half the lanes were completely open, while some were still only taking show tickets. My friend wanted to tandem, so we decided to go to Lane 6 before it opened up. As you know, this is a National handshake, so you usually don’t get more than a second or two per member. “Usually”, being the key word here. I ran into issues a few times with members that I didn’t know what to say anything to.

Also, I quickly realized that I don’t really ever visit AKB members anymore, as there were only two members all day that knew me at all (Yuihan and Tanamin) I met quite a few members for the first time, and a few others that I haven’t seen for a long time. Anyway, here were my quick impressions…

Lane 6: Shimada Haruka, Takeuchi Miu, Yokoyama Yui: Let me start by saying that Shimada looks totally sexy with blonde hair, and I managed to tell her that, so I got a great reaction. Miyu gave me the “wow, a foreigner reaction, and Yuihan gave me a quick “oshashiburi” Anyhow, Shimada wins for a) looking hawt, and b) reacting positively to my compliment

Lane 1: Nakata Chisato, Tanabe Miku, Miyazaki Miho, Suzuki Mariya, Oya Shizuka, Ma Chia-Ling: First of all, I looped this line twice. And aside from Tanamin, I have really only met Myao before, and that was quite a long time ago. Also, Ma seemed sorta out of place among all these old-time members. Also, the OJS were really moving us slowly, so a few times I was stuck in front of members with nothing to say. Anyway, Tanamin knew me, so I basically congratulated her on graduating. Myao was silent with me the first time, but the second time I reminded her we met in New York. She was like “Really???” Chiichan reacted nicely when I told her I enjoyed her ‘Temodemo’, and Yannu pretty much stood there like a stone both times. Shiichan gave me the best reaction, first introducing me to Ma Chia-Ling, then later when she asked who my Oshimen was.

Shiichan: Who is your oshimen?
Me: I am Wasamin’s
Shiichan: NICE!!! NICE!!!

You see, being a Wasafan gives you street cred. Anyway, that was the lane I wanted to go to the most. But it ended up not being my favorite lane of the day. That goes to the lane I visited next…

Lane 7: Kizaki Yuriya, Nakanishi Chiyori, Nozawa Rena: I have met Yuria a couple times before, and she is always very genki with me. But Chori was awesome. When I told her I loved her MC segment (she did a comedy segment in the mini-live) She pumped her fist and gave me a really enthusiastic “Thank you!” Rena just asked me where I was from. Chori really gave me kami-treatment, so I applied for her handshake ticket for the next single when I got home.

Lane 9: Omori Miyu, Sasaki Yukari, Takahashi Juri, Muto Tomu: This wasn’t a lane I was planning on visiting, but I was trying to use up my tickets, and another friend of mine wanted to visit this lane, so I just went with him. Probably not the best idea, as this ended up being my most awkward lane. But that is partially my fault, as I really didn’t are about meeting any of these girls, despite the fact that I have met Juri and Yukarun before, and they were both nice the first time. Ironically, it was Miyupon and Tomu who gave me the better reactions. In fact, Miyupon really gave me an excited kami greeting as I entered the booth. Tomu thanked me when I said I was rooting for Orin to do well in the ‘Beginner Challenge’. I have always considered Tomu as one of my least favorite members, so I was happy that she gave me a nice greeting. I won’t really think of her that way anymore. But Miyupon wins for the kami-reaction.

Lane 2: Okada Nana, Minegishi Minami, Kojima Mako: Three girls who I have only ever met before in High Touch. All three pretty much tried to fish me with an English “I Love You”. Unlike Lane 1, the guards pushed us through very fast since this was the third-most popular lane, and had a really long line. So no ‘winner’ in this lane, we’ll call it a three-way tie.

I was done, and my friend was waiting to use his last ticket on Lane 4. However, Lanes 4 and 5 never opened for regular tickets before the break, so he decided instead to use it on Lane 1.

Lanes 4 and 5 were gigantic the entire time. (Team 8, Mion-Komiharu)
Lanes 2 and 6 were the second most popular.
Lanes 1, 8, 10, and 11 had the shortest queues.

I asked my friend if we should make the trek to Saitama for SKE, we had 10 tickets, and would have time for the last slot and matome-dashi if we left right then, but ultimately he decided against it. At the end of the day, 20 seconds of facetime with a member probably wasn’t worth at 90+ minute, 950 yen train ride. And he is going to meet his oshi next week anyway. So we called it a day

 

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki BBQ Party!!! (2017/04/08)

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Iwasa Misaki BBQ Party!!! (2017/04/08)

So after Wasamin had a one month break from hanging out with her fans, things got back into full swing this past week. She led off with an appearance at NagaraPro Enka Matsuri on the 4th. Once I had figured out that I could actually see this show, they announced it was sold out. So I pretty much gave up on seeing it. However, the night before the show they announced that there would be tickets available at the box office on the day of the show. The problem was that I as really busy this week, plus I have been suffering from a respiratory infection of some sort. Ultimately I decided to skip the show. I needed rest, and there were two more Wasamin events this week that I didn’t want to miss. So apologies since this is in reverse chronological order, but I wanted to lead off with the best stuff…

The BBQ party was part of Wasamin’s second album promotion. For those of you who purchased “Misaki Meguri ~dai 1 sho~”, you may have noticed the card included offering 4 different prizes. One of those was the BBQ party, which was limited to 26 people. Of the four prizes, this was the one I put most of my applications in for, and I won. I had no idea what a Wasamin BBQ party would be like, but I was sure of this…

Wasamin + BBQ = Good Time

And boy were my instincts good on this one. There were two seatings, 13 fans each, and I was part of seating #2, which was in the mid-afternoon. The event was taking place at Oak Village, which is a restaurant, event hall, BBQ picnic spot, and vegetable garden, all rolled into one. In fact, all of the vegetables we ate were grown on the premises.

We were greeted by two of Wasamin’s usual assistants, Yamaue-san and Saso-san, who escorted us to our tent. Yes, it ended up taking place in a tent because it was cold and rainy all day. But no matter, there was a smorgasbord of food, and three grills fired up. Plus, we were serenaded by Wasamin’s second album, and new single. Saso-san let us know that we had unlimited non-alcoholic beverages at the bar, we were also restricted from taking pictures since they were actually filming the event, although there would be times when photos were okay. But then he let us know the best news of all…

Our head chef would be Wasamin!

Actually, this isn’t really a fan club event (although pretty much all of the winners were fan club members) In fact, Wasamin wasn’t lying when she said after her graduation that her fans would be getting even better experiences. I mean jeez, she’s cooking us lunch. And she worked her butt off too. She was going from table to table. “Who wants beef?” “Who wants shrimp?” I mean it’s incredible. She has developed such a close and intimate relationship with her fan club. It is like we are all family.


This was just the first round, plenty more food came out as the day progressed

But they did not skimp at all. It was two straight hours of non-stop steak, pork, shrimp, chicken, sausage, squid, hotate, endless yasai, and a round of grilled onigiri. Every time we thought the lunch was over, they brought out more trays. So much food, and needless to say I didn’t eat dinner last night. And Wasamin never broke, she was on that grill pretty much the entire time.

At the end of the event, we all got to take a cheki with Wasamin (and her evil tongs), plus we took a group photo at the end. Wasamin commented that she thought this was one of the best events they have done, and she wants to do another BBQ event this Summer. I must agree, and I hope I can win the next one too if she does it. Although, I think part of what made this one so special was that there weren’t too many fans.

Anyway, with that event, all of the fan prizes for her album have been distributed. Those who didn’t win the BBQ, or the backstage experience at her 2nd concert got signed chekis and posters. However, now we are all waiting for the results of her 6th single prizes, which include a Karaoke Party and a “Saba Party” (None of us know what a Saba Party is going to look like, we’ll see) In the meantime….

Wasamin Monthly Challenge Campaign in Chiba (2017/04/06)

Unfortunately I rarely have the opportunity to see Wasamin’s monthly challenge campaign, since it is during the week and during the day. However, I do have time to see the April and May shows. So I excitedly made my way out to Chiba for the performance. The setlist…

1. Mujineki
2. Nangoku Tosa wo Toni Shite (popularized by Peggy Hayama 1959)
3. Tokyo no Bus Girl
4. Saba Kaido

One of the special features of this monthly event is that Wasamin sings a “new” song every time. This month was the Peggy Hayama song, which was quite intense. It showed another facet of Wasamin’s performing talent. It drew quite a large crowd too. The audience was overflowing into the street alongside the stage. After the performance, fans could get a handshake for buying Saba Kaido, or a Shamekai (and bromide photo) for reserving her 2nd concert DVD. I opted for one of each…

Wasamin remarked that it had been too long since we had talked. I told her that I had missed her, but I now felt better since we were seeing each other again. I also talked to her about her new anime character, whose name rhymes with mine. I asked her if this means we are married? She and her manager, Ichikawa-san, both remarked that they really are similar.

Anyhow, Wasamin is off to Okinawa for a while. I would have loved to have gone, but it wasn’t cheap, and I do have things to do in Tokyo. But no worries, she has announced a bunch of promotional events for her upcoming DVD release. And according to her manager, we should be getting a fan club newsletter in the mail soon with so cool stuff.

CK in Tokyo

AKB48, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48-Group “Thumbnail” Album Shamekai Event @ Makuhari Messe (2017/03/20)​

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AKB48-Group “Thumbnail” Album Shamekai Event @ Makuhari Messe (2017/03/20)
 
The cheki “booklet”

So Wasamin has finally received a vacation of sorts, as she has no events for an entire month. Given that it seems like it has been quite a while since I have been to a proper handshake/2-shot event. I did go to the SKE and HKT National events in February, and the HKT handshake event a week earlier (where I only had tickets for Akiyoshi) So I had mustered up a bit of enthusiasm for this event, despite the fact that I am not as big a fan of the 48-groups as I used to be. After all, many of my tickets were for members I had never done shamekai with before. And, I was going to see Akiyoshi again. That in and of itself made me happy since she is my new “best girl” in the 48-groups.

The other issues I needed to deal with were 1) what to do with my now “open” tickets since Mikitty graduated, and how would I use these CD autograph tickets. I had four of them, two for each day I have tickets for. One big issue was the fact that many of my favorite members were signing in Slot 1, and my first handshakes in this event start in Slot 3 (for the April event I don’t start until Slot 5!) So my choices were limited. But I had a game plan, we would see if it all works out. I arrived just before noon, and immediately got my tickets stamped. In the meantime they were doing the Senbatsu and Sousenkyo announcements on the big screen. Okinawa eh? Well if I didn’t go to Okinawa to see Wasamin, I am certainly not flying there for the friggin’ Sousenkyo…

Murakawa Vivian (Slot 3): I went to see Vivian first since I knew her line would be shorter than the other ticket I had for Slot 3. After a short wait ( and losing at the cheki lottery) Vivian greeted me first with surprise, and then with a big English “Hello”. I told her that I really liked her pretty blouse. We sat down and we decided on the heart pose.

 

She asked me if she would see me again, so I told her that I had tickets for HKT at Saitama, so I would look forward to seeing her there. The thing about Vivian is I don’t have that much to talk with her about. However, she is so genki in person it just makes up for that. So while I usually limit myself to one ticket per event with her, it is always fun. Anyway, off to my next meeting…

Suda Akari (Slot 3): I have always liked Dasu, but it has been quite a while since I actually bought an individual handshake ticket for her. the problem is that her line is always a total mess. Today was no different. It had reached “Sayanee level”, stretching out into the crowd. I also noticed her curtain wasn’t even open. After 20 minutes of not moving, I decided that this would not be worth the wait. Also, one of the girls I was considering using my Mikitty ticket on was Slot 3 only, so I took off for the other side of the venue…

Tanabe Miku (Slot 3): I really wanted to see Tanamin, since 1) I haven’t had a handshake with her for almost a year, 2) I wanted to congratulate her on winning Janken, and 3) The last time I actually saw her she gave me this really enthusiastic wave, and I kinda halfheartedly waved back. Her line was actually longer than usual. but I made it to her in about 20 minutes. She greeted me with “osashiburi” But I reminded her that I saw her at the Wasamin concert. She was like “Oh yeah, you are a big Wasamin fan” “And you have the Wasamin iphone case” I asked her if she joyed Wasamin’s concert, and eventually we sat down to pose.

 

 

I have always wanted to do a “beer drinking” pose with her, but before I could suggest it she thrust the Sakura branches into my hand. So it was decided. Anyway, it was good to see Tanamin again, even if I forgot to mention Janken. And Slot 3 wasn’t over, sooo..

Suda Akari (Slot 3): I decided to give Dasu one more chance, rather than making it another open ticket. Her line was still huge, but it was slightly smaller than before, and it was in fact moving. I only had one ticket for Slot 4, so I had time….

30 minutes go by…Slot 4 starts, now it has been an hour, and I still haven’t even checked in. I had a decision to make, since I was now risking burning my slot 4 ticket. BTW, this is exactly what happened the last time I saw Dasu. Line was a total joke, it didn’t move, and I ended up losing out on two other tickets as a result. I finally made it to check in, promptly lost the cheki lottery, and now the line was moving faster. By the time I made it to Dasu I just wanted to get the pic done and get out. But she was her usual genki and sweet self. I told her that one of the first times we met that she made dog noises at me, so we should do a “Wan Wan” pose…

 

 

BTW, Dasu noticed my Akiyoshi ticket holder, and immediately exclaimed “Kawaiiiiii” Anyway, I really like Akarin, but I can’t stand waiting in her line for 90-120 minutes every time I want to see her. So I am afraid this may be the last time I get a ticket for her. We’ll see. Anyway, I had around 10 minutes before Slot 4 lanes closed…

Fuchigami Mai (Slot 4 & Slot 5): Maichan is so adorable, and I would definitely oshi her in HKT if it weren’t for Yukachan. Her line wasn’t long. So I got to see her very quickly. Per usual she started off trying to speak with me in English, but immediately abandoned it. It’s funny, the first two times I met her she spoke a lot of English, but I think she has kind of lost whatever skill she had. In any case, I wanted a shot that emphasized her pretty smile, so we went with this…

 

I love that picture of her. She is so photogenic! In fact, when I was showing my early 2-shots to friends they all remarked how good a 2-shot they thought this was. So when I went back in the next slot I delivered that news. “All of my friends said that my shamekai with Maichan is the best of the day.” She was really happy to hear that as we took our second shot…

 

Maichan asked me if I was coming back. Like with Vivian, I told her I was going to the Saitama concert, and I would try to win for NHK Hall too. I checked my photo, another really nice picture of Maichan. She REALLY is photogenic.

Tani Marika (Slot 5 CD Signing): By the way, I had finally decided to use one of my CD autograph tickets in Slot 5. Since I had heard that the autograph lines seemed to be slow, I decided to pre-queue, so it wouldn’t mess up the time I had for the shamekai tickets I also had for Slot 5. This worked out well, since I ultimately was fourth in line. So it was just a few minutes before I got a signed CD jacket…

 

From Tani!!! Actually, I decided to go for Tani since the last time I saw her was at the High Tension event, where she watched me loop Mikitty’s line like 4-5 times. So I wanted to make it up to her. Not that she remembers, but I remember. Anyway, Marika spent quite a while doing that autograph since she saw I was wearing a Wasamin shirt. She started talking to me all about Wasamin. I didn’t get all she said, but I can tell she really likes and respects Wasamin. So it was a nice little conversation. I told her I would see her a little bit later. But first…

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 5, Slot 6): Finally, a chance to see my princess! This is how I know that she is my favorite member in the 48-groups now, since I could feel anticipation when it was time for this slot. And Drats! I didn’t win the cheki. Originally I didn’t care that much about the cheki, but after I saw a few of them I decided it really was a good prize, and if I managed to win one I would want it to be with Yuka-chan. Yuka-chan saw me before I entered the booth and exclaimed “Hi Kurisuuuu!!!” I immediately showed her that I was wearing my Akiyoshi ticket holder today. When we sat down, like Tanamin, she just handed me the branches. However, the ones she gave me were just in a big clump. So I started trying to untangle them so I could hold them properly. But Akiyoshi told me that I should be looking at the camera, so the whole “sakura” thing didn’t really work out the way she planned it…

 

I told her I would be seeing her again in a little bit. I actually had my 2nd Maichan 2-shot (which I wrote about above) in-between these two. When I came back I told Yukachan that I had purchased a few more tickets for her at the HKT event in May, so I would be seeing a lot of her in the future. Anyway, for the second shot I suggested a “rabu rabu” pose (which is what Tani calls it)

 

After the shot I told Yukachan that I would be bringing a CD to her and that I hoped she would sign it. She said of course, and I was off to see Tani. And for the record, after seven tickets I was yet to win the cheki prize.

Tani Marika (Slot 6): Like I said before, I was really happy to be seeing a lot of Tani today. When I entered the queue I immediately commented on her kakkoii leather cap, and that she was like “Motorcycle Tani” But the newly observant Tani noticed my Akiyoshi ticket holder, so it was time for a bit of taunting. Pretty much every response I was getting was “Ahh-kiii-yooo-shiiii” She eventually paused to suggest an “onigiri” pose.

 

But once the photo was taken, the taunting continued… “Ahhh-kiii-yooooo-shiiiii” At this point I am hiding my ticket holder. “Chiigau! Akiyoshi nani????” as I put it behind my back. But Marika wouldn’t let up. Too funny. I finally had a break until my final three tickets, so I went for a very late lunch.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 7 CD Signing): Like with Tani in Slot 5, I wanted to pre-queue for the CD signing so I wouldn’t miss out on the girls I had scheduled for shamekai. The problem was that Oguri Yui’s lane was right next to Yukachan’s, and it was a complete mess. There must have been 500 people in that queue, which was odd since there was a limit, and her slot had been over for an hour. It was such a mess that it completely blocked the lanes of Hazuki, Akiyoshi, Tomiyoshi, and Rikopi. The HKT fans started complaining, so they decided to move the YuiYui fans to some other part of the venue. Thank god! Although this caused the lanes to open up a little late. In the meantime Yukachan was taking pictures of us waiting for the lane to open. It finally did, and I was around 8th in line. While I was waiting in the queue, a funny thing happened…

 

Sakaguchi Riko was in the next lane over. Eventually she noticed me in Yukachan’s lane, and starring calling out to me. “Kurisuuu!!!” while she is waving to me and smiling. Wow, I am amazed that she remembers my name like that. I mean I have met her once. And now every time I see her she is totally making a big deal out of it. Now I felt bad that I didn’t have any tickets for her. I need to change that, since Rikopi is really making an effort to connect with me. Anyway, Yukachan was signing the CD as I told her I how excited I was about the HKT concert in Saitama, and that I actually lived not far from the venue. She also complimented my Japanese writing, which was on the back of the ticket. I reminded her that we are both left-handed.

Matsumura Kaori (Slot 7): The Akiyoshi autograph took a bit longer than expected, so I had to be strategic if I was going to get both of my Slot 7 tickets done. I checked both lines, Kaotan’s was a bit shorter. Although Kaotan’s lanes tend to go slow since she takes extra time with pretty much everyone, I took my chances. I checked in, and Yes!!! I finally won a cheki! I always seem to get lucky in Kaotan’s lane. In fact, at the Love Trip event I also won the drawing at Kaotan’s lane. Anyway, the lane was going very slow, I began thinking about what I would do with my last ticket if I couldn’t use it as scheduled. While waiting in the queue I was spying on Jurina, who was in the next lane over. I finally made it to Kaotan. she was like, ah you’re here, and you won!!! They quickly took the shot…

 

Now Kaotan really takes her time doing the signing part. She noticed my Wasamin shirt (I had hidden the Akiyoshi ticket holder, LOL), and she was like. “Oh right, you oshi Wasamin, right?” (Kaotan has told me before that she really likes Wasamin too) I told her I was a member of Wasamin’s fan club. Since we had all this time, I started telling her about all the different events Wasamin has done for her fans. Kaotan was really amazed. I then asked her about the events she does. I told her that I read her twitter and I want to go to a Kaotan event. She then asked how to spell my name in English since she wanted to write it both ways, and I only wrote it in kana on the sheet. As I left she asked when she would see me again, and I told her at the next shamekai event I would ask her to sign a CD for me. She happily agreed. BTW, that one handshake ticket took about 3 minutes. And now I had around 3 minutes to queue up for my last ticket. Thankfully the other lane was very close.

Hidaka Yuzuki (Slot 7): I made it to the queue, checked in, and whaddya’ know, I won another cheki, Yatta!!! The girl at the staff table was giggling at my reaction, so I blurted out “LUCKY!” which really got her to laugh. Anyway, Yuzuki’s queue moved quickly. Yuzuki was like “Good to see you again…and you won the cheki!” I suggested a baseball pose, not really knowing what that would look like. But I know Yuzuki likes baseball, so she suggested this…

 

While I was taking the picture, I mentioned that I was the one batting left-handed, she was batting as a righty (we are both left-handed) But she didn’t mind. As she was signing the photo we talked about the World Baseball Classic. She mentioned the fact that Japan was playing against the U.S., so I leaned forward and whispered to her that I would be rooting for Japan. She also noticed my Japanese writing, so I told her I had been studying Japanese. Anyway, I thanked her for the cheki, and with that my day was done.

In the meantime I resolved that I would be using my Mikitty ticket, and one of my CD signing tickets on Rikopi when I go to the next shamekai in April. She was actually one of the girls I was considering using the ticket I had today for too. I think her fishing of me on this day pretty much decided it. I also applied for Rikopi tickets for the HKT single when I got home after this event, but I ended up losing that lottery. Oh well.

One other thing. As I was leaving the venue, all of a sudden I hear a girl yelling my name “Kurisu Kurisu!” I started wondering, did one of the members break free? Who is this young girl calling out to me. I turned around to see one of the guards waving to me. It was my friend Suzuka-chan! And BTW, Suzuka could be an idol herself. She is really cute. It turned out she was working the event, specifically Lane #43 (Nakano and Yamada from Team 8) She said she was surprised to see me. I said “But you know I like idols, LOL!” After showing her my photos we parted ways. Oh, and I saw her today too and she immediately greeted me with “Hey, HKT!”

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki First Solo Dinner Show at Hotel Rubura Ozan, Nagoya (2017/02/19)

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Iwasa Misaki First Solo Dinner Show at Hotel Rubura Ozan, Nagoya (2017/02/19)

 

Finally getting around to doing this experience post. It was a memorable evening, for many reasons. I actually contemplated skipping this event. But then I thought “Hey, this is Wasamin’s FIRST solo dinner show. I gotta go and support her on this. I booked my ticket in early January, going through the usual rigmarole of making a telephone reservation, then going to the bank and begging a manager to help me through the ATM payment process. It should also be noted that that this dinner show cost less than half of what those two Christmas dinner shows she participated in cost. So based on that, if this was even close to being as nice as those events, it would be a bargain! But I was set, all I needed to do was show up.

The other issue was that I had a huge mid-term exam a couple of days after, and I really needed to study. I foolishly figured I would bring my books to study while riding the Shinkansen. But who am I fooling? To me nothing makes a Shinkansen ride better than to have a few drinks during the trip. There would be no studying for me. I made it to Nagoya Station at 4pm, and caught the subway (The same one that goes to Sunshine Sakae) to Ikeshita Station. The hotel was just a block away.

 

I made it there early to make sure I would get in on the special PB deal where you received an exclusive Wasamin postcard. I walked into the hotel, and saw plenty of dapper Wasamin fans, but no goods being sold. I grabbed a cup of coffee from the hotel cafe, and eventually they started selling copies of Saba Kaido, which came with handshake tickets for after the event. Finally at 5pm, they opened three tables in the middle of the lobby. One was to check-in for the event. The second was to draw for some prize. (To this day I have no idea what the prize was. Needless to say I lost) and finally a third table to get the PB. The good news was, when I opened the PB it was an autographed copy. So now I have THREE autographed Wasamin PBs. A short time later we were escorted upstairs to dinner….

 

To my surprise, we were not eating dinner where the show would be. It was merely a dining room, quite a plain dining room I might add. Also, there were two separate dining rooms. Most of the Wasamin fans were in Dining Room #1. However, I was one of a small handful of Wasafans that ended up in Dining Room #2. Not that one room was better than the other, it was just that most everyone I am friends with was in a different room. The tables were nice, and there was nice, soft, classical music playing. But it was just a plain room, without any character. Also, the lights were much too bright. But I could deal with that as long as the food was good.

 

Once we sat down the attendant immediately took our drink order, also translating it into English for me. However, I am well familiar with how Beer, Wine, Tea and Juice are spelled. We would get one drink for the dinner. Fortunately, if you ordered a beer they brought a nice sized bottle. So I had more than enough. The next fun for me was to figure out what we were going to be served. It is a fun little sport, and good for Japanese practice. Anyway, I figured out about 3/4 of it before the appetizers came.

 

 

Overall the food was very nice. My favorite was definitely the Cauliflower Potage. It tasted perfect, and had little chunks of cauliflower at the bottom. Also, that Oyster Gratin was quite nice. As for the main course, it wasn’t going to win any awards for presentation, but the mix of flavors was quite satisfying. Also, the dessert was really pretty. During dinner I was tweeting pictures of the dishes and my thoughts. Remember I said that.

After dinner there wasn’t much time before the show started, we were taken to another room on the opposite side of the second floor, a huge room with nice lighting, and nice tables. Jeez, this would have been the PERFECT place to serve dinner. Much nicer than those dining rooms, much better ambiance, and we all would have dined together. But whatever. The show eventually started. Here’s the setlist…

Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
MC (Welcome, Wasamin inquiring about dinner)
2. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka Ver.)
MC (So where did everyone come from?)
3. Itako Hanayome-san
4. Toshishita no Otokonoko (Wasamin begins walking around the room while performing)
5. Watashi no Kare wa Hidarikiki
6. Blue Light Yokohama
7. Tokyo no Bus Girl (Back to the stage)
MC (Wasamin complaining about having hay fever symptoms)
8. Wakare no Yokan
MC (Event promotions)
9. Ikegami sen
MC (More event promotions and upcoming TV appearances. This was a LONG MC)
10. Kita no Hotaru
MC (Group photo with the audience)
11. Saba Kaido (end)

 

The setlist was slightly reminiscent of her January concert, as a few of these were songs she debuted at that show. The crowd was really rowdy at the outset, which prompted Wasamin to wonder how much alcohol we all had before the show. But the funniest part was during the second MC. Wasamin asked how many people in attendance were actually from Aichi prefecture, and a few rais their hands. She asked if anyone came from Kansai, and a few raised their hands. When she asked who came from Kanto, most of the room raised their hands. So that was funny. but then you could hear a few of the Wasamin fans in front mumbling my name. Wasamin is like “Nani??? Kurisu??? Doko desu ka?” Wasamin starts looking for me in the crowd as the lights came up slightly. Oh god, this is embarrassing. She spots me, and asks me in English, “Where are you from?” My answer???

ITABASHI!!!!!!!

The entire room, including Wasamin bursts into laughter. Glad I could be part of the act, Misaki-chan! She should make me a permanent part of the act, then I could travel with her. BTW, later she asked how many people were seeing her live for the first time, and quite a few raised their hands. So that is very cool. Wasamin continuing to build an audience. She asks that at pretty much every event. Anyway, that was the show. Very nice Wasa-performance, despite the fact that she was slightly under the weather, which might explain why she seemed so sedated at her mini-live in Urawa the next day. Before the last song we took a big group pic, although they needed to take two to get the entire audience into the shot….

 

the handshake event started pretty much immediately after. I had one ticket. I didn’t want to stay too late since I had to get back to Tokyo. When I got up to Wasamin I reiterated that I am from Itabashi, and not America, since I’m not much of a Trump fan.

Wasamin: “You don’t like Trump?” (That’s the second idol that had me mistakenly pegged as a Trump fan)
Me: No, I don’t. But I enjoyed tonight’s dinner.
Wasamin: I know. You liked the soup, right?
Me: You read my twitter? You saw all of my photos?
Wasamin: Yes, I saw them.
Me: (laughing) Wasamin!!!

That was it. I gathered my bags to leave. As I was heading downstairs, it dawned on me that I paid Wasamin a big compliment on twitter that evening. I wondered if she read that. So I headed back into the event. The goods table had ONE CD left, so I bought it, and I got back into the queue. I had time…

Me: So you read my twitter, right?
Wasamin: Yes!
Me: I said something good about Misaki-chan, you saw my dessert photo?
Wasamin: I saw it!
Me: I said the dessert was beautiful, just like Wasamin!
Wasamin: Hai! (Wasamin kinda blushed and gave me the “I’m cute” pose)
Me: Oyasuminasai!

Okay, now I felt complete. I headed back to Nagoya with one of the other Wasafans (the one who informed me of the last-minute Urawa appearance) and finally made it back to my apartment shortly after midnight.

So, for now we have a bit of a break in Wasamin events. Well, at least I do. Misaki-chan does have the NagaraPro Okinawa Trip coming in about 6 weeks, and she does have the Tokyo NagaraPro Enka Festival next month, which I cannot attend due to schedule conflict. However, here is what’s coming up for Wasamin:

April: NagaraPro Enka Festival in Okinawa, and Tokyo
May: Special “Love Live” solo live
June: Wasamin will be performing in a play for 10 nights at Shin-Kabukiza in Osaka
July: Wasamin 3rd Solo Concert in Tokyo
Monthly: Challenge campaign in Chiba
Pending: For those of us who applied, we are waiting for the results for her three special events from her single and album (BBQ Party, Karaoke Party, and Saba Party, dates tbd)

and I am sure there will be plenty of random mini-lives scheduled. When you are a Wasafan it is an almost weekly experience. I am sure we will be getting a newsletter soon, with plenty more stuff to apply for.

 

CK in Tokyo

HKT48, Iwasa Misaki HKT48 Bagutte Ijan Handshake Event @Makuhari Messe AND Iwasa Misaki Saba Kaido Cheki Event at Nippon Crown/Tokuma (2017/02/18) ~Breakfast with Akiyoshi and Lunch with Wasamin~

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HKT48 Bagutte Ijan Handshake Event @Makuhari Messe AND Iwasa Misaki Saba Kaido Cheki Event at Nippon Crown/Tokuma (2017/02/18)
~Breakfast with Akiyoshi and Lunch with Wasamin~

Saturday was the start of a wild 3 days where I would be seeing Wasamin on three consecutive days in three different prefectures, with a quick hit and run in a 4th prefecture to see HKT. It’s a lot of running around for the girls I care about…

When HKT48 announced that they were adding a 2nd Kanto event on the 18th of February, my first though was that I couldn’t go because it conflicted with Wasamin’s event. But then I realized that Misaki-chan’s event didn’t begin until the afternoon, so if I wanted I could go to Makuhari for morning slots. I checked the schedule, and saw the Yuka-chan had early slots. Great! I would pop in early, say hello to Yuka-chan, and then go back to Tokyo. Easy, right?

BTW, I hate going to early slots, either at Makuhari or Pacifico. It requires you wake up at dawn, and catch a very early train. Of course, there is always the chance of oversleeping, which is EXACTLY what I did. Shit!!!

I woke up to the bright glare of the sun, and I knew it wasn’t dawn. Checked the time, I was supposed to leave five minutes ago!!! I jumped out of bed, took a 3-minute shower, threw on my clothes while I brushed my teeth (luckily I had packed my bag the night before) and made it out of the house in fifteen minutes. Checking the train schedule, I saw the fastest route was via a Limited Express, but that is a major pain in the ass, so I decided to go the 2nd fastest via the Sobu Line to Funabashi. My train would be arriving exactly 16 minutes before Slot 1 closed. It would be close…

Alternating between a brisk walk and a slow jog, I made it to the building with 7 minutes to go, now I would just have to make it through security. Oh, and there was no way I would have time to get my tickets stamped. I would just have to take my chances that my ID is good enough. But security had other ideas. the guy checking my bag starts pulling things out and asking about them. I let out a low growl. “Dude, now???” Then the guy with the metal detector found something I forgot to empty out of my pockets. :fp: Finally they let my through, three minutes to go. I bee lined it toward Lane #12. There were two minutes to spare. I made it…

Slot 1: Akiyoshi Yuka.
I handed ALL of my Slot 1 tickets to the guard. She looked at them, checked my ID, and gave me a little smile. I was good to go. I headed down the lane, where Akiyoshi was just finishing up with another fan. She saw me huffing and puffing as I came into the booth. “Kurisssuuuuuu!!!” she said with a big wave.

Me: I’m sorry, I am late. I didn’t wake up!
Yuka: You made it!
Me: Genki?
Yuka: Yes, I am genki. You live in Japan?
Me: Yes, I live in Itabashi!
Yuka: I didn’t know you lived here.
(Now this whole time I am waiting to get pushed out, forgetting that I was using all of my tickets at once. So the push wasn’t coming Also, Komada was in the next booth watching and laughing at us)
Yuka: That is a cute t-shirt
Me: My Wasamin T-shirt?
Yuka-chan: Wasamin????????
Me: It is from Wasamin’s solo concert.
Yuka-chan: Sugoi Kurisu! (Now the push came)
Me: See you in a few minutes…

I left with a big smile on my face as I heard Akiyoshi and Komada giggling behind me. Now I could breathe. I went back upstairs to grab a conbini breakfast, and to meet my friend whose tickets I had in my bag. Now that I had a chance to relax, I went back down to the handshake area. No problems with security.

 

Slot #2: Akiyoshi Yuka.
For slot #2 I decided to split my tickets into two trips. For my first visit I decided to go into more detail on how I moved to Japan, and what I am doing here. Then on my last visit I finally revealed to her that I have oshi’d Wasamin for 8 years, and that I am a member of her fan club. I said I was only there for the morning, and then I would be leaving for a Wasamin fan club event (technically a half-truth, but sometimes my Japanese limits what I can say) But I really wanted to see Yuka-chan, so I only bought tickets for her. She was really happy about that remark, and asked when she would see me again. At first I said the next HKT Kanto event, but then as I was being pushed out I remembered that the first AKB Shamekai was in a few weeks, so I blurted out “AKB no Shamekai!” As I left I heard her still saying goodbye to me, so I turned to see her smiling and waving.

I kinda wanted to say to her that she has become my 48-group oshi. But sometimes I have trouble using that term for anyone aside from Wasamin. So I neglected to say it…this time. But yeah, I think she would be happy to know that she has become my #1 girl of all of the 48-groups. (Kaotan being my #2) Anyway, I would say goodbye to a few friends at the event, and then head back to Tokyo to see my #1 girl of all…

I made it to Gotanda about an hour before the Wasamin cheki event started. Jeez, I could have gotten more Akiyoshi tickets! I camped out at a nearby Tully’s waiting for Slot #1 to begin. Wasamin’s cheki events are pretty much like AKB handshake events. There are slots with fixed times. Wasamin’s gimmick is that she changes costume for each slot, which of course encourages fans to get tickets for each slot as well. What we didn’t know was that she would essentially be wearing the same stuff as the first cheki event two weeks ago. But that’s okay, all Wasatime is quality time, no matter what she is wearing.

We all knew the drill, they are very restrictive about where we can or can’t go within the building, and they pretty much escort us the entire time. After checking in at the entrance, we are sent to the third floor and taken to a waiting room. Once there is enough room, we are taken to a second room to queue, we get our picture taken, a little chit-chat, and then we are sent back to the elevator. Oh, the hallway on the third floor is lined with promo posters for various Tokuma and Nippon Crown Artists. Also, near the elevator is this cool statue of famous Enka artist Kitajima Saburo. They were slightly more loose with security this time, so I was able to grab a picture of it…

 

And here are my three chekis. By the way, since I forgot all of my concert gear for the last cheki event, I decided to bring it this time (which is also what caused the slight issue with security at Makuhari) Of course this time all of the fans brought either her PB and/or souvenirs from her Bus Tour to pose with. So once again, I was a bit behind.


I really need a haircut!

For the most part we just chit-chatted. I mentioned that I like when she wears chokers (she had one on in the first slot) I had told her that I used the experience of going to see the Battleship Mikasa with her as a class report, which actually drew a cool reaction from her manager, Ishikawa-san. Finally, on the third ticket, after Wasamin repeatedly tried to help me get that “Ninja hand pose” right, that we had a cute little exchange…

Me: At tomorrow’s dinner show, will Ebi be there? (I purposely said it like Ebi was a person)
Wasamin: (looks at her manager) Errrr….
Ishikawa-san: Errrrrr, Kurisu Gomennasai…
(Wasamin says something to her manager about Ebi)
Me: I love the photo of Wasamin with the bowl of Ebi (in the PB)
Wasamin: Ahh, you like the PB?
Me: Beautiful!
Wasamin: Arigatou!
Me: Goodbye Ninja-chan!

And that was it for the day, and after three trips to drink coffee between photo-ops, I wasn’t hungry. So I went home. I would be having plenty more fun with Wasamin on Sunday at her first solo dinner show. I will do that writeup the next chance I get, perhaps tomorrow night if I can make the time.

And just for a little preview, Wasamin and I had a personal interaction in the middle of her show that had the entire audience laughing. In fact, not only did I had people coming up to me about it after the show, it was a topic of discussion today at her event in Saitama. Also, Wasamin has been reading my twitter again. I got another recitation of some of its contents…

 

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Mini-Live at Tower Records Urawa, Saitama Prefecture (2017/02/20)

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Iwasa Misaki Mini-Live at Tower Records Urawa, Saitama Prefecture (2017/02/20)

I’m kinda doing this weekend’s reports out of order. My report on Saturday’s Cheki event is following this one, and I still haven’t done a writeup for Wasamin’s Solo Dinner Show in Nagoya. That is next on the agenda. Anyway…

When I left the dinner show a few people had asked me if I was going to Urawa on Monday, and I said that I wasn’t. However, I was confusing this with Wasamin’s occasional Monday afternoon radio broadcast she does in Omiya, which is near Urawa. I boarded the subway to head back to Nagoya Station and catch the Shinkansen back to Tokyo. As I sat down one of the other Wasafans spotted me and sat down next to me. He’s a really nice guy, and I have only noticed him at events recently, although I have been told he has been a Wasamin fan for a while. Anyway, we chit chatted a bit, and he also asked me if I was going to Urawa. When I said no because it conflicts with my schedule, he pointed out that the event was in the evening. Huh? I guess I hadn’t looked at the schedule, this was a last-minute addition to Wasamin’s promotion schedule. Also, Urawa isn’t far from my apartment. So of course I could go. I thanked him for the information as we parted ways (he was spending the night in Nagoya)

So this was cool. I would have one more chance to hang out with Wasamin before she headed to France. I met my friend Kenji at Shinjuku Station, and we headed to the event. Kenji also wanted to get his hands on his copy of Wasamin’s PB, which I had. (BTW, if any of you are in Japan and want a discounted copy, I have a couple extras) We got to Urawa very early, and decided to have dinner at a local Izakaya. Anything to get out of the passing rain storm.

20 minutes before the event we headed over to Tower Records. It was a small shop in a Parco shopping center, with a tiny little stage setup and an even smaller area for fans to gather. People ended up camping throughout the aisles to watch Wasamin perform. The MC was very happy that so many people made it out on a rainy Monday night. Finally Wasamin came out in plain clothes. Here is the setlist…

Setlist
1. Mujineki
2. Toki no Nagare ni Mi wo Makase
3. Ringo no Uta
4. Saba Kaido

 

Wasamin seemed to be a little bit subdued during the performance, but she pepped up during handshakes. Perhaps she was tired, it had been a long four days of work. The line snaked through the aisles of the store. I hung out a bit checking out some of the store’s stock. That reminds me, the tiny stage was sandwiched in-between the American DVD section and the kids section, and on prominent display just to the right of Wasamin was this…

 

I was like “Nyanko????? What the hell is this series????” So instinctively when I got to the front of the queue I kinda tiptoad over in “Nyan Pose”, and Wasamin started “Nyan Nyan”-ing at me. I was like “Nyan?, what is this film??? Wasamin was like. “I don’t know, I have never seen it before!” We were both laughing at the covers of the DVDs. I was going to tell her that one of my all time favorite films, Phantom of the Paradise, was on display right behind her. But I ran out of time while laughing about Nyanko. When I looped back around I felt that I needed to tell Wasamin that I also worked today, since Wasamin was asking how many people came from work to attend the mini-live. I didn’t know if she saw that I raised my hand. It’s weird, I have ld many idols that I have a job, but I don’t think I actually told Wasamin. Anyway, she is surprised, and started calling me “Sensei”

And that was it, a quick one-shot mini-live before Wasamin jets off to France to entertain all the Frenchies. Actually, we have a little bit of a lull in Wasamin events. I guess giving the fans a chance to catch our breaths, not to mention Wasamin and her staff. Although we are all still waiting for the results of the prize drawings from the album and single. The BBQ Party, Saba Party, and Karaoke Party should be happening in the next 2-3 months. Hopefully I won some of those!!!

 

CK in Tokyo

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

 

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…

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

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.


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

 

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…


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

 

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.


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.


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