Concerts, Minyo Girls A Wild Weekend With Minyo Girls (Live at Oedo Hawaii Fest, plus 1-Man Live at Shinjuku Marz, 2018/07/14-15)

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When I say wild, I mean a lot of interesting things went on with the Mingaru’s two appearances this weekend. First off was their appearance along with Wasamin at the Oedo Hawaii Festival in Nihonbashi. I had planned on meeting some friends, as well as the Wasafans for this event. Minyo Girls would be performing first, on the 1st floor of Belle Salle, and Wasamin would be performing 40 minutes later on the B1 level, which was actually inside Nihonbashi Station. The actual festival was happening on the B2 level, and cost 1000 yen to get in. So lucky for me I avoided having to pay any admission…

The problem was that Tokyo is in the middle of a tremendous heatwave. Not only that, it is extremely humid, which makes any outdoor activity quite the challenge. Minyo Girls were actually scheduled to perform outside. Which brings me to the prediction I made a couple months ago. In a previous post back when the girls performed with Wasamin in Saitama. I mentioned that their new costumes would be hell to wear at any outdoor Summer activities. This pretty much came true. It was supposed to be a full group show, but Ramukyun was announced as cancelling her appearance in the morning. A short time later, Rio was announced as out for the show, and just before showtime Miyabi was announced as out sick for the show. In fact, I sorta witnessed the drama around Miyabi, especially since I am friendly with her mom. Mom was called backstage, and a short time later she came out and started apologizing to everyone.

So the seven remaining members, plus Ryo, their one kenkyuusei, came out and did a shortened version of their performance. It was only around four songs, and they were sucking down water in-between each song. I felt bad, since the friend I was with was seeing them for the very first time. But with the heat, and the sudden lineup changes, they were really off their game. They didn’t do their intro properly, which I think is a cute feature of their act. The first song (Akita Ondo) sounded good, but the other three they sang all sounded off. The entire time I sat there I was just wondering how uncomfortable they were.

Taking all that into account, and since it was a free live, plus two of my three favorite members were out, I really didn’t mind the abridged setlist which was mainly songs from the single release. In fact, I didn’t even stick around for goods, chekis, and whatnot. Instead I headed down to the far cooler B1 level where Wasamin was about to perform. By the way, the reason I was so nonchalant about missing on goods and benefits, aside from the fact that Miyabi (and Ramukyun) were out was because Minyo Girls would be performing their one-man live the next day in Shinjuku. So I figured I’d save my energy (and money) for that. However, I did send Miyabi-chan a tweet telling her I hope she feels better.

In the meantime, my friend and I headed over to Oktoberfest in nearby Hibiya. We ended up being there for around six hours, but I was very conscious about how much beer I was drinking because I didn’t want to be hungover for the Minyo’s solo live on Sunday.

Mingaru’s One-Man Live at Shinjuku Marz (2018/07/15)

So my strategy paid off. I avoided drinking too much on Saturday night, and was good to go for the girls’ Sunday morning Solo Live. The group has been doing their monthly solo live in Asakusa for the past six months or so, but have changed that up for Shinjuku in the coming months. Why? I am not sure. It is technically not a bigger venue, and the stage seems slightly smaller. Perhaps it is less expensive? I am not sure, but I can say the tickets were considerably more expensive. I knew exactly where the club was since I have eaten at the izakaya above it (Sekai no Yamachan) on many occasions. Despite the fact that we had entry order numbers, I didn’t want to arrive early just to stand outside in the even more oppressive heat and humidity than the previous day. Luckily when I arrived they were already queueing everyone, and my spot was just inside the doorway in the shade.

Shinjuku Marz is not dissimilar from Shibuya Glad in that you enter the venue on a small balcony, and then go down a level to the floor-standing area, although Marz’ balcony is considerably smaller than Glad’s, quite a few people did watch the show from there. Also, since Minyo Girls always have a lot of family in attendance, there is a seating area on the far left mainly used by grandparents and siblings. (A few of these girls have very young brothers and sisters) I even got the opportunity to meet Miyabi’s grandmother. I told her that Miyabi is a great singer, and that I am glad she was feeling well today.

The good news was that none of the members were worse from wear the previous day, so we would be seeing the full group. After grabbing my prerequisite beverage (Oolong Cha) I took a spot three back from the stage. They were playing the new single music video on the giant screen behind the stage, and the show got off a little late. Also, the air-conditioning was on full-blast, so the place felt quite cool. Although when I stood very close to the AC unit upstairs I could sense the faint smell of mold.

Mingaru often “theme” their one-man live shows. This one was mainly Minyo-style songs in the beginning, and then it turned into a tribute to the Minyo Girls II EP. I love the second EP, so I was good to go. Moreover, I was so relieved that their performance skills were back on track today since the previous day was kind of a small disaster, LOL. Also, it was a very long show. They sang a lot of songs, and the encore was quite long too, I think 4-5 songs plus two long MCs.

They allow photography for two songs in the early part of the show. I used to have a difficult time getting my pics to come out properly, and I think others had the same issue since the past couple of shows I notice they change the lighting for this part. My pics look a lot better as a result. I was on the right side, which meant I had Rio, Matsuri, and Ramukyun right in front of me. The awesome thing about Ramukyun is the way she reacts when you smile at her. I think she has probably been told she needs to smile more, since nearly every time I smiled at her she would instinctively smile back. It is so cute. On the other hand, Miyabi (and Yutori) were both relegated to the back row for this entire segment, so getting good pics of them was a bit difficult. I also had a tall guy between me and Yuua, so that was an issue. But oh well. I got a few good group shots.

As has been a tradition at the 1-man shows, they had a VTR with announcements during the encore. We all have to kneel down for this (which kills my knees, BTW) They did a retrospective of all their releases, which some great early group footage, followed by an announcement of more 1-man live events in the fall. But the big announcement was the promotion of their one kenkyuusei, Ryo to a full-fledged member. It was cute how they did it too. The manager came out and presented her with a proper costume.  Nikkan Sports wrote an article about it…
https://www.nikkansports.com/entertainment/news/201807150000700.html

I waited to buy goods until after the show, and there was a bit of a mix-up, thanks to 1) my non-fluent Japanese, and 2) Mingaru’s complicated system. You see, how many tickets you get, and what kind of tickets you get, depends on not only how much you spend, but what items you buy. This totally confuses the process where it used to be “spend XX yen, get XX tickets.” So I spent 4000 yen on goods, and only got one ticket. This wasn’t what I wanted. Not to mention, I specifically bought something I didn’t really want just to get to the 4000 yen mark. I couldn’t explain my problem on the fly, so I told her I would come back. In the meantime I tried to explain it to one of the other staff, who understood, but told me I would have to explain it all to the people in the goods booth. Jeez! The big issue was that I wanted to return the second thing I bought, since it didn’t get me the second ticket I wanted. Eventually the guy behind the counter understood what I was getting at, and let me return the item. I bought something else, and had my two tickets. One was for a signed cheki, the other for a shamekai.

I used my first ticket on Miyabi. The first thing she did was thank me for the “get well” message I sent her the previous evening. I told her I was worried, but was glad she felt better. The rest of the time I essentially talked about the heat.

Which was the same thing I talked about with Yuua. I seriously considered using my second ticket on Ramukyun, but she and Yuua were right next to each other, so I just could not do it. I really want to discuss Ramu being an AKB fan though. Not to mention she reacts to me while on stage all the time.

And with that I took off. I had to return to Oktoberfest since I had purchased in IQOS there the previous evening, which was defective. So I wanted to bring it back so they could either fix it, or give me a new one. They gave me a new one. But it was yet another interaction where I had to explain my problem all in Japanese. And since I came all the way to Oktoberfest, might as well have a couple beers. Frankly, after all the explaining and complaining and whatnot, I really needed a drink!

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Concerts AKB48 Idol Shugyou Chuu! Stage (2018/07/13)

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Lanterns line the outside of the UDX building behind the Donki, bringing a very festive atmosphere to Akiba

Things are beginning to look up, ticket center-wise. It had been slightly more than two weeks since my last cancel machi (and eventual theater win) for AKB’s Idol Chugyou Chuu! stage, and after waking up Wednesday morning I saw the email that had again won cancel machi for Friday Night.  It was a great number. (#6) With a cancel machi number that low, I would undoubtedly win. In fact, when I checked my ticket center account, it already said that I had won the show, which meant at least six people had cancelled overnight. Yatta! This was going to be my 43rd Theater Show!

So of course I was excited to be seeing Ranchan again. I just hoped that I would get a good draw in to the theater so I was close to the stage. Fast-forward to Friday; I headed over to Akihabara in the mid-afternoon after sweating (both literally and figuratively) my way through three Kanji tests. My brain felt like jelly, so I looked forward to blowing off some steam in the theater. But first I headed over to The Hub for a couple of pre-show cocktails. Eventually I made it over to the theater. I was kinda hoping to get a high lottery number, since I have noticed the times I have been in the theater that the high numbers are often called early. I mean it is supposed to be completely random, but personally when I get a good draw-in, it is often with a high number. The theater wasn’t very crowded at all, so I stored my backpack, and eventually queued up to buy my ticket. I had ticket #121, which meant when my group was called I would be the 2nd person in.

They also had some sort of special event in the lobby, where Inagaki, Yasuda, and  Suzuki Kurumi came out and did a Dare ka no Tame ni donation collection with the fans. I was a bit out of position, so I didn’t get to participate, but everyone cheered for them. It all took about a minute or two. Eventually it was time to call the lottery for seat draw…

1st: 10-19 (Wow, the early birds got one for a change!)
2nd-4th: 50-59, 60-69, 70-79 (Again wow, right in a row, and again the earlier arriving fans)
5th-6th: 230-239, 210-219 (Cancel machi peeps get a good draw)
7th: 130-139 (Damn, just missed!)
8th: 120-129 (Yatta, not bad!)

Okay, I should at least be able to get a seat. How good a seat though? It didn’t help that I set off the metal detector for some inexplicable reason, which slightly delayed my entrance. I wanted to be on the left side of the stage, but that section was beginning to fill up. I wasn’t sure, but the right side seemed relatively empty, so I walked to the other side. Sure enough, only the first row was taken on the right, so I headed over to the second row. First I took the inside seat, but it was next to the pillar, and blocked half the stage, so I moved to the far end of the row, next to that little side stage the girls sometimes dance on. It was further from the center, but a much better view. I brought a lightstick for a change, so I was ready to go. Eventually we heard the Kage-ana, and the overture, it was showtime!

Per usual, since most of you are fairly well-versed in the stage setlists and such, I will focus on my impression of the members. Obviously my focus will be on Ranchan. But I have cultivated a bit of familiarity with many of the 16th gen girls in this show, and there are a couple other draftees I kinda like too, and since Ranchan was going to be on the opposite side of the stage for a lot of the show, I could focus on other members for a bit. So let’s start with….

Members who fished me:

Tada Kyoka: I had never really noticed her before, but I got a closeup view of her last week at the handshake event since her lane was next to Zunchan. She always has a big smile on her face and is often ‘working’ the audience members. She looked at me quite often during the show, and more than once mimicked my response. She’s really not my type of idol, but I gotta give her points for the effort.

Yasuda Kana & Inagaki Kaori: I have been interacting with these two for quite a while now, and Kana is always scanning the audience for who she can fish, she is super-energetic and genki. I have to give her credit for being one of the most dynamic girls on the stage. Inagaki, kinda like Suzuki Kurumi, has really blossomed since I started seeing both of them in the ‘Let’s Go Kenkyuusei’ stage. I am also amazed how popular she is. Inagaki easily gets the loudest reactions throughout the show. Speaking of reactions…

Member who made a big impression…on somebody

Taguchi Manaka: I didn’t even see her name on the performance roster, but she was there, and it seems like she gets at least close to center position on many of the songs. She was also getting great audience reactions. She seems to be a good singer, but I have personally never been drawn to her. She also does an amazing job centering Tsundere!

Draftees who I came away with a great impression of (Besides Ranchan)

Otake Hitomi: Okay, I have to admit, I find this girl totally hawt. Adorable face, nice figure, great energy and dancing on the stage. She is a lot of fun to watch. I found myself suddenly really wanting to meet her at a handshake event. There is just something about her face, she looks mature and cutesy-kawaii at the same time. Just my type, sexy and cute. And, she has a husky voice. Love it!

Honda Sora: So yeah, I have been talking up both Hitomi and Sora since the first time I saw the draftees perform, and I have had the same impression each time. Both of them are really cute, and have great stage presence and energy. I actually expect good things from both of them in AKB’s future.

Katsumata Saori: This is the first time I had ever noticed her, but she was in front of me quite often during the show, and I found myself drawn to her stage presence more than once.  She reminds me a bit of HKT48’s Yamamoto Mao.

And then there’s…

Kobayashi Ran (Ran-chan!) I was there to root for Ranchan, but could only get a peripheral look at her for the first half of the show. She slid over to my side a couple times, but only briefly, and our eyes didn’t meet. It wasn’t until Saishuu Bell ga Naru that our eyes finally met, and she locked onto me for a good 5 seconds or so. It was awesome, totally focused on me. From that point forward, she would find me whenever she slid over to my side of the stage. A nice setup for when I meet up with her at the handshake event next weekend.

Notes on other members…

I am used to getting fished by Taya Misaki, but she left me alone for the most part, despite being in front of me for much of the show. Yahagi Moeka did not get as big an ovation as I am used to her getting, and I noticed she fiddles around with her outfit a lot when the MCs aren’t focused on her. But per usual, her singing is top notch. This was the first time I had seen Okada Rina, and she seemed like she wasn’t too comfortable on stage. In fact, her introduction MC was one of the shortest I have ever seen. Oddly enough, she sorta reminds me of a young Meetan.

I wasn’t in the front row, and I wasn’t in the center, but 2nd row far right does have its perks. Probably the biggest is when the girls go to the side stage. At that point my seat becomes temporarily a front-row seat. This is particularly evident during Shinkirou, where Inagaki did her first verse just a couple meters away from me. But the members also dance on the side during Kanojo ni Naremasuka and Sobukasu no Kiss, so I was in a great position for that. I also want to echo what @Riina said a couple weeks ago. The black, red, and silver outfits the members wear for RIVER are awesome!

Eventually the show ended, and it was time for “High Wave,” as I like to call it. I get the usual enthusiastic, and sometimes English greetings. I also tried to make a connection with Hitomi, but I blew past her fairly quickly. I was really waiting to get to Ranchan, who was second from the end. Of course it was my best reaction, and we are really connecting now that she has seen me at three shows and multiple handshake events. I feel sorry for Tacchan though, who was at the end. I was so focused on Ran, that I pretty much ignored her. Oh well.

I headed out to buy the Group pic, and it wasn’t until I got home that I saw the inside has little messages from all the performing members. Another really nice touch, which to me has become an essential part of the theater experience. I am developing a small collection of those Team Picture booklets.

My next scheduled 48-group events are the Teacher Teacher handshake event next weekend, and then HKT’s handshake event in early August. I also have an application in for the #17-#100 SSK thank you concert at Yokohama Arena. We’ll see how good my luck is on that one. In the meantime, this will be a busy weekend as I am seeing both Wasamin and Minyo Girls. Should be a lot of fun.

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events AKB48-Group 51st Single “Jabaja” Individual Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/07/08)

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This was the last of the Jabaja handshake events I had purchased tickets for, although there are a few still happening in mid-August. I originally planned to be in California at some point in August, so I have avoided all of the handshake events scheduled for the month (with the exception of HKT on August 4th) However, it is beginning to look more and more like I may remain in Japan for the entire Summer (Ugghh!) The good news is I can get resale on some of the August handshake events, but not all. Anyway…

My ticket schedule was slightly different than usual. Kaotan was not scheduled for this event for some reason (a horse racing event, according to her blog), and Tani was only scheduled for the night slots, so I didn’t see either of them. I also wanted to oshi-mashi and see Ran-chan (Kobayashi Ran) but I couldn’t decide which of my tickets to give up, and she was scheduled for Slot 5 only, meaning I would have waited an extra three hours to see her. I have tickets for all three of them on the 21st, so all good.

I was really exhausted this morning. I have had difficulty sleeping due to stress, which will hopefully subside at the end of the Semester later this month. In fact, I have been for the most part skipping idol stuff until the end of this month. I would have been completely happy blowing this event off as well, except I really wanted to talk to Yuka-chan since I hadn’t spoken to her since she ranked in Sousenkyo. All of my tickets were for the first three slots, so I would simply head down early, get my tickets done, and bail back home around lunch time. I had no trouble making it to Makuhari by 9am…

Slot 1

Sakaki Miyu <Cuca> (Lane 74) Interestingly, this is the first time I know of where Cuca’s prize wasn’t an instant win. This means that she is beginning to sell more tickets in the one slot they give her. She wasn’t sold out since her lane was *starred*, but at least it’s progress. And, I DIDN’T WIN! Heh, it was the 2-shot/1-shot prize. Anyway, her line only had a couple people in it, so she saw me heading down the lane toward her booth. After the obligatory greetings, I asked her about the stage play she is going to be in. She completely lit up, and told me that she was very excited and she would be working hard. I gave her my best, and was off. I’m glad I came armed with something to talk to her about this time.

Interestingly, aside from Cuca the rest of my tickets were for lanes all stuffed in the far left back of the venue, so I pretty much stayed in one small area for the entire morning. I did walk around a bit just to do a bit of people watching.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 40) Yukachan’s lane also offered the 2-shot/1-shot, and this time I won. I was torn which to choose, and ultimately decided on the selfie. Later I noticed most of the fans chose the 1-shot video, and had Yuka-chan do the fashion show. Yuka-chan saw me coming down the lane and smiled. I waved my winning sheet at her, and she exclaimed “Yatta, you won!” Since there was no wait, I wasn’t ready, so I took my time putting my bag in the bin, and getting my camera ready before stepping into the booth. I centered the camera, made sure at least Yukachan was completely in the shot, and fired away!

Okay, my selfies are getting a bit better, although I still do them “two-handed.” So it was my chance to congratulate her on her ‘victory’ of sorts. I told her when I saw the smile on her face after she was called it warmed my heart. Yuka-chan exclaimed that she was so glad I came to see her, and thanked me for cheering for her. I told her I would be back a little later.

Slot 2

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 36) I decided I would queue up early to see Zunchan since I know her line tends to get long. In fact, she still had a queue from Slot 1 when we were allowed into the lane for check-in. I was second in line, which meant I had a great view of her signs. Since it has been topic of conversation in the past, I decided I would do my best to completely read her signs, and if I could, talk to her about them. In the meantime, Asai Nanami was in the next lane over, and had her booth completely decorated for the Tanabata holiday. In between the slots, Zunchan took a short break, but Naamin stayed in her booth, and at one point walked into Zunchan’s booth to check the decor. Frankly, Zunchan’s decor wasn’t quite as elaborate as usual, but there were lots of signs. Naamin muttered “sugoi” and “kawaii” before heading back into her booth. Zunchan came out with Gabriel-kun in tow. (Her stuffed animal Frog)

By the way, her sign was all about the types of foods she likes to eat in the Summer. Among her favorites were shaved ice, frankfurters, and some kind of potato dish. The sign asked us what our favorite Summer dishes are, and playfully offered to enjoy Summer foods together. After quickly greeting Gabriel-kun, I told her that I read the sign, and that my favorite Summer foods were American barbecue like spareribs, and hot dogs, and that I liked beach barbeques. I think it surprised her, since I was indeed responding to her questions on the sign. When I mentioned the ribs she got very excited, but quickly my time was up and I was getting pushed out.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 40) By the time I made it back to Yukachan her line had emptied out. I didn’t win the signed photo, but I actually already have one, so no biggie. I really didn’t have much more to say to her, so I basically told her about my day during the Sousenkyo, and that I was on a train when people started messaging me about her ranking. Anyway, I repeated that I was very happy for her.

Slot 3

Yamauchi Mizuki (Lane 33) After talking to my friend Panda for a while, I pre-queued for Zukki’s lane since it tends to get long, which it did. I did have a few guys cut in front of me on the way in, but decided to not make an issue of it. It all worked out however, since I ended up winning the 1-shot video prize. I was reading over the choices, which included a bunch of Summer-related material, and of course the fashion show is always popular, except that’s what I had her do last time. I was between two lines. One was her asking me to buy her shaved ice, and the one I chose…

Yay, Zukki and I are going to watch fireworks together. Sounds like a fun date. I hope she wears a Kimono! I told her I have been following her Twitter, and I like that she posts lots of cute pictures. She protested that her pictures aren’t cute. (Yeah, right) Interestingly, Zukki is consistently becoming one of my favorite handshake experiences. Even more interesting, I had forgotten I even had this ticket, and only noticed it when I was sorting my tickets at the venue, LOL.

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 43) It had been quite a while, but I was finally getting the opportunity to visit with Bibian again. What would I talk about? Produce48? Oh…

So the ‘special’ prize of the day was a signed time-card. What is that you ask? Exactly what you think it might be. An actual time card, which they drop into a time clock at their booth and then sign it. I mean really, this is on the same level of randomness as those signed resumes we won last month. Bibian’s was the only chance I had to win it, and mercifully I lost. Whatever. In the meantime I found a fan’s identification on the ground. I picked it up, and started looking for the person it belonged to. After nobody around me claimed it, I just held it up until either someone said it was theirs, or until a guard came by. Eventually one of the Bibian fans took it and started yelling “Who lost their ID?” Finally a guy in line noticed it was his.

The line was going very slow since it was a signing slot. I wasn’t sure how Bibian would react to me since she gave me a semi-dirty look last month when she spotted me in another lane. However, she was just as genki as usual. She was all blinged out to with a bunch of heart-related jewelry. I mentioned that I laughed at her tweet she made during the Japan soccer match the other day. If you haven’t seen it, it’s very cute.

https://twitter.com/murakawabibiann/status/1013840102487818240

Bibian is awesome on twitter. Her tweets ore often so silly. After shaking Bibian’s hand I headed out, but then the guard called me back in. It seems there was a consolation card for people who didn’t win the time-card. Okay, I’ll take it. And it also meant I got an extra few seconds with Bibian since she reached out to grab my hands once again.

And that was it. I was able to win 2 prizes out of six, which is about par for the course. Although admittedly I was surprised I didn’t win a couple of them. But it was 12:30, and I was heading home to 1) write this, 2) rest, and 3) get on this major assignment I have that’s due in two days. My next 48-group related events will be AKB’s Teacher Teacher event on the 21st, and then HKT’s handshake event in early-August. I have a couple of interesting members scheduled, so we’ll see how it goes.

CK in Tokyo

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Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 7th Single (re-release) Pre-order Mini-Live at Aeon Mall Kita-Toda. Saitama Prefecture (2018/07/01)

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As far as Wasamin goes, absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder. It had been two weeks since I saw her ‘Virtual Reality’ concert in Yokohama, and her schedule over the next month or so was peppered with events in Kansai, Chubu, Tohoku and Kyushu. Not to mention, I missed out on her Ginza Enka Fes. appearance since I had class that evening. So I had earmarked this event as a “must-go.” After all, I live close to Saitama, so this was just a short train ride away.

I decided to head out early, figuring I could possibly reserve a seat for the event, and get lunch in the mall. (I was really in the mood for cold udon) BTW, Summer has finally “arrived” here in Tokyo, and the last 3-4 days have been hot, humid, and windy. With that in mind, instead of wearing my Wasa-gear, I decided to wear some of my lightest clothing. I wanted to be as comfortable as possible, especially since the mall is a bit of a trek from Kita-Toda station, so I knew I would be walking in the heat. I arrived just before noon, and immediately scouted the place for lunch.

What I didn’t take into account was the special event going on at the mall.  This was part of the reason Wasamin was invited to perform at this venue. They were holding a “Niigata Fair” to promote Niigata tourism. I guess they felt Wasamin’s 7th single, Sado no Ondeko, which is about Niigata Prefecture, would be appropriate for the event. Makes sense. So Wasamin was only part of the promotions going on in the mall. They had all sorts of games, other performers from Niigata, and of course….mascots.

It’s funny watching kids react to mascots, they either love them, or they are scared to death of them. That tall one with the mustache seemed to be the best at scaring the heck out of the little kids. There was tons of screaming and crying going on, LOL. Anyway, since it seemed like the local geriatric crowd had camped out most of the seats for the day, I camped out in a cafe until showtime. (I have a ton of Kanji to memorize by tomorrow) Wasamin was doing two mini-live performances, and here are the setlists…

14:00 Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka Ver.)
3. Toshishita no Otokonoko
4, Ginza Kankan Musume
5. Ryoshū (New c/w track for 7th single re-release!)
6. Sado no Ondeko

16:20 Setlist
1. Saba Kaido
2. Ringo no Uta
3. Gakusei Jidai
4. Niji wo Watatte
5. Osaka Rhapsody (New c/w track for the 7th single re-release!)
6. Sado no Ondeko

Six songs! Wasamin has been doing these ‘extra-long’ setlists a bit lately. Not every time, but usually when it is some kind of special promotion. She sings songs #2-4 in a row, without an MC, so ultimately she does the same amount of talking as a 4-song setlist. Plus, she sang two of the c/w tracks from the new single. Osaka Rhapsody is particularly fun. Not to mention, Niji wo Watatte and Ginza Kankan Musume are among my favorite songs she performs, so all in all it was a great set of songs today.

I pre-ordered 3 copies of the upcoming release, one of each type. I am in sort of a quandary with these pre-orders. The new release is scheduled for August 8th. I have (extremely) tentative plans to go to California in August. and since I live alone I cannot have CD orders coming to my house just after I leave town. So I have been ordering for “pick-up” rather than delivery. This means I am going to have to trek all over the place to get these singles at some point. But I’ll deal with that when the time comes. I used two tickets for the first event, and got a two-shot…

Wasamin asked what the pose was, and I mentioned it is part of her Sado no Ondeko routine. Afterwards, I mentioned I have three big Kanji tests tomorrow, and I had been spending most of the afternoon studying in the cafe across from the stage. When I came back to use my last ticket, I showed her all of the practice kanji I had been writing. She immediately pointed to 歌手 (Kashu) and said “That’s me!” I told her that when I think of the “song” kanji, I think of her standing in front of two microphones. In the meantime her manager said that was a lot of kanji to learn. Don’t I know it! Anyway, Wasamin wished me luck on the tests tomorrow. After a quick trip into Aeon Market to grab a few things, I sat down and watched the mascots while waiting for Wasamin to finish her handshake event, and then we all headed back to the station, and home.

As I said, Wasamin is spending a lot of time out of town this month. But checking her schedule, she is performing at the Hawaii Fest in Tokyo on the 14th (along with Minyo Girls) Plus, I am pretty sure I can make it to her ‘last’ Challenge Campaign event on the 25th. According to Ichikawa-san, they are taking a temporary hiatus from the monthly challenge campaign, although I got the ominous feeling that it will be quite a while before she starts doing it again. We’ll see. She has one other Tokyo event in July, but I think it conflicts with some other event I have tickets for. Nevertheless, at least I will be seeing her every 10 days or so, just enough to keep things fresh.

CK in Tokyo

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Concerts, Minyo Girls Minyo Girls Live at the DMM VR Theater, Yokohama (2018/06/17) [Plus their new single!)

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As part of a NagaraGroup concert triple header, the Minyos did a solo live show at the DMM ‘Virtual Reality” Theater. Along with Minyo Girls, both Hayabusa and Wasamin also had solo lives on the same day. This was the middle show. But before I get into that, here is the new PV for their first major single, Kirari ☆ Yume Ondo…

The CD releases this week in three different types with three tracks each. Some great c/w tracks as well, I highly recommend. Anyway, back to the concert…

I arrived in Yokohama relatively early because I wanted to get lunch before the shows. I was in the mood for sushi, and found a decent kaitenzushi around the corner from the venue. They were doing new single preorders outside, but I already knew I was going to buy the new goods, as well as a ticket for the group’s July solo concert in Shinjuku, so I skipped on the singles. Their newest item was a new version of their oshi towel, which is a great idea since the previous towel has the old lineup on it. This version is simply the group name. They also had the reflector postcards and plastic uchiwa, just like Wasamin. I bought the July solo show ticket, but held out on August since 1) they are more expensive than their previous solo shows, and 2) I’m not sure if I will be in town for the August show. But I got my goods, and my prepaid Ginger Ale, and headed in for my seat.

BTW, a funny little side story. The total for all my goods and tickets came to 6200 yen. Being that I like to minimize change and bills in my pocket, I gave the girl 11200 yen. (1 10,000-yen bill, 1 1,000-yen bill, and 2 100-yen coins) This completely confused her, and she kept trying to give me the smaller money back, but I kept insisting. She brought another girl over, who also didn’t get it. Finally the manager came over and had to explain basic addition to them. 11,200-6,200=5,000. One 5,000 yen bill. But they ended up giving me 5 1,000-yen bills. :fp: 

I was in the 5th row on the left side, and had a decent view of the stage. I was really interested to see how they would incorporate ‘virtual reality’ into their show. In case you are wondering, the theater has a he back screen and an invisible screen in front of the stage. There are also side screens to give the show sort of a “Cineramic” feel. So essentially you have visual effects going on all around the performers in sort of a 3D effect. Here are some example pics…

Personally, I found the effects to be kinda cool. However, I also saw Wasamin perform there later in the day, and the difference in the utilization of the effects was noticeable. For Wasamin, it seemed like they really thought about how the effects would enhance the song, and also how they would look in relation to Wasamin. For Minyo Girls, it just seemed like they chose some cool effects and went with it, regardless of how it would actually relate to the performance. This cause some of the effects to be a bit distracting and odd. They also used the effects for most of the show. The only time they didn’t use them was when the members came out to the floor for a couple of songs, and the ‘photo-op’ segment. It seems like my iPhone camera is getting more and more unreliable for getting clear shots, but here are a few shots of the members…


Ramu-kyun. Interestingly, I take more photos of Ramu than any other member including Miyabi and Yuua. I really like her a lot. I’ll talk more about that further down the post.


Rinacchi, one of the group’s singing ‘aces’


Kako, the ‘senior’ member


‘Captain’ Izumi, who is always genki


Yutori, the ‘member I have known the longest


Rio, Minori, and Matsuri. Unfortunately I didn’t get any good individual pics of the three of them.


And of course my ‘2-top’ Yuua and Miyabi

After the show it was time for benefits, which were done in a small room outside the venue. Minyo Girls have kind of a strange system. First of all, you get one ticket for every 2000 yen you spend. This is usually good for a signed cheki, or shamekai. If you spend two tickets you can take a full group picture. One of the issues is that all of their stuff is oddly priced, so it’s tough to hit the 2000 yen plateaus evenly. And their is no partial, so if you spend 3500 yen you get one ticket. they used to sell various member pins for 500 yen that you could buy to bring it up to the next level, but they haven’t done that lately. So whenever I am buying goods I am always trying to mathematically work it out to hit as close to 2000, 4000, or 6000 as possible. Also, for some reason which I am not sure of, I earned a bonus ticket this time around. I mean they do have a ‘ponta card’, but I haven’t hit any level up as far as I can see. So cool, I guess. I wasn’t sure if I wanted a group shot or not, but the manager came over and asked me if I wanted to take one. Ultimately I decided to go for it. I must say, it is probably one of the coolest group shots I have taken with them, and I got the new oshi towel in it too (Yuua and Miyabi helping me hold it up.

After the shot I got Matsuri’s attention, since I wanted to tell her that I am also a fan of the K-Pop group Black Pink. During the group solo live last week Matsuri did a dance performance to the song ‘Boombayah’ which I really liked. Anyhow, my comment got Matsuri, Izumi, and Rina all laughing very hard. Oh, and it seems Ramukyun is an AKB fan, and recently went to Asai Nanami’s birthday show at the theater…

After that they had two separate lines. One was for chekis, and the other for shamekai. Personally I prefer the chekis since I like to collect them, and quite often I get them signed by the members. I wasn’t sure which line was which, so I asked their new kenkyuusei Ryo, who was helping direct fans and answer questions. She actually pointed me to the wrong line, but a few fans nearby corrected her, LOLZ. Since I had used two of my tickets for the group shot, I had two left for individual pics. Per usual I used them for Yuua and Miyabi.

To be honest, I have been captivated by Ramukyun ever since she joined the group. In fact, the first time I saw her live I took a cheki with her. The issue is that chekis with these girls are already kinda pricey. I don’t want to add a third girl to my repertoire. I could always take one with her in place of Miyabi or Yuua, but that would be a problem. They are not a huge group, and they all see who is taking photos with who. I have been taking pics with Yuua and Miyabi for a couple years now, and have also cultivated a sort of ‘friendship’ with both of their parents. Not to mention these girls are pretty young. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I do like Yuua and Miyabi. So I guess my only pics with Ramu will be the group pics. Or perhaps if one of them is out for a show Ramukyun will be my backup. Yeah, that’ll work…for now.

For some odd reason they only allowed me to get one cheki signed, so I chose Miyabi. I told her that I really enjoyed the show. She asked my if I was going to see Wasamin later. I told her I was, but that my ticket for Minyo Girls was a better seat. So I didn’t get a chance to say much of anything to Yuua other than ‘Thank you’ and ‘Great job.’


Bonus ‘gift’ photo was taken at last month’s solo live in Asakusa (I remember those costumes!)

I was done with my tickets, and the Wasamin fans were already milling around outside waiting for the evening show. I decided to take off for a little while and take a short break before starting the whole process again for Wasamin.

Ya know, I really love this group. I think their music is great, and they really have a bright future. I hope they don’t stray too far from the ‘Minyo’ aspect of their music, since that is what I think makes them special. There are some folk-style songs on their new single, so that’s a good sign.

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Concerts AKB48 Idol Shugyou Chuu! Stage (2018/06/24)

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Almost exactly one month to the day from my previous win I received another cancel machi email. Actually, I didn’t realize I had won cancel machi until I saw my friend post about her cancel machi win. I immediately checked my email, and I had one too for the same show, albeit with a somewhat higher cancel machi number (39)

As I have mentioned before, they list a ‘cancellation count’ on the ticket center for those who have cancel machi. It didn’t go very high last evening, and when I woke up this morning it had only reached 15. This dampened my hopes that I would get into the seat lottery, but I still thought my chances were good to get into the show. When I arrived at the theater the count was at 18. However, the last five minutes saw an onslaught of people queue up to buy tickets. In the meantime Riina found me hiding over by the rear lockers, and wished me luck before she queued up for the entrance lottery.

Cancel Machi

Interestingly, the guy doing the cancel machi call was calling in sets of five. (20-25, 25-30) I thought to myself “jeez, they must have a lot of space left.” Unless that is just the way they do it now, I don’t know. He called 30-35, and I thought I was good to go. In the meantime a bunch of latecomers showed up with winning emails, and they let a few of them into the line. I hoped that didn’t dash my chances. Ya know, they used to not do that. If you were late you had to wait until after cancel machi was over. But I suppose it is the nicer thing to do. Anyway…

Staff called #36, and closed it off. SHIT!!! So close. I was still going to get in, but as one of the last people to enter the theater. The bigger bummer was the last 12 cancel machi winners all got a great entrance draw too. Eventually my group queued up as the ‘final 10′ winners’ as they brought us into the lobby. There I saw that Riina was in one of the last groups still not called in. And as I finally entered the theater, I saw her struggling to find a spot where she could see, I went to the far right to the standing area, where I thought I saw a bunch of space. It ended up being a terrible place to watch the show from, too many tall people in front of me. But at that point I was pinned in and had nowhere else I could go…

Part of the problem was this guy who had kinda positioned himself like he wanted a lot of elbow room. There was a bit of space behind him to his left, his right (and in front of him too), so I took the spot to his left, and sorta behind him. He kept creeping backward and almost had me pinned to the back rail, so I moved over to his right against the wall. I could tell this ticked him off, but I didn’t care. He was trying to create this ‘force field’ all around himself, and I and everyone else weren’t having any of it. Plus, he was a dead fish throughout the show. No lightsticks, chanting, clapping, nothing. Oh well…

My 42nd Theater Show, Yatta!

So given that I had a horrible vantage point, where I could sorta see the right side of the stage, and maybe little bit of the left side, there isn’t too much I can say about the girls’ performances. In fact for ‘Blue Rose’ I technically didn’t see the performance at all. I spent most of the show craning my neck around looking for Kobayashi Ran (Ranchan) although I would have probably been best served just paying attention to whoever was at the far right of the stage. Ranchan spends most of her time on the opposite side of the stage, but does come over to the right side in that later portion of the show. I did spend some time observing the members I could see in order to gauge which members I might find interesting. I found two members in particular, Sato Shiori and Otake Hitomi interesting to watch. Not surprising since they were among the same members I liked when I saw this same stage last month.

Once again, I really enjoyed the setlist of the stage, particularly the River/Bell/Theater/Kiss set. The last three are all songs I like, and even River is fun to watch live. The opening set is really nice too. All told, Yukirin picked out a nice stage.

High ‘Wave’ 

After clearing out the first row, one of the first areas they clear out as fans leave the theater is the little balcony to the right of the sound booth, so I was able to hoist myself on to the rail and watch a lot of the high touch. I also wanted to strategize who was where so I knew who to pay attention to. That said, most of the High Touch was a quick blur for me, except Inagaki gave me a great reaction, complete with ‘Hisashiburi’ and all. There was one member in the middle who also gave me a big “English’ reaction. I think it was Honda Sora (It may have been Maeda Ayaka too) But of course I got the biggest and greatest greeting from Ranchan, who started jumping up and down as I got to her. It also seemed to surprise Taya Misaki, who was next to her. And with that I was out of the theater. I queued up to get the photopack, and was on to the escalator…

Interestingly, they held the escalator for a minute or so to clear people out, and one guy in particular seemed to be pissed about it. There was also a guy with two big pizza carriers. I am guessing he was delivering lunch for the girls? When I got to the bottom of the escalator I finally got to meet marioworldakb who was at the theater watching the monitors with a few friends. He invited me along to hang out (with Riina as well) but I really wanted to eat lunch. Mario recommended a place behind the theater that I have often considered trying, so I went for it. After lunch I considered heading to the AKB Cafe to meet them, but I needed to do homework and get some rest, so I went home.

So as expected, it is always ‘feast or famine’ for me with seating at the theater. I either get front row, or am buried in the far back. But I am glad I won and got to see the show, and am especially glad I got to say hello to Ranchan. And I guess I should set my watch for another late-month cancel machi in July, LOLZ.

CK in Tokyo

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Concerts, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Live at DMM VR Theater, Yokohama (2018/06/17)

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I’m sorry this report is so late. It has been an extremely hellish week.  But better late than never, right?  Last Sunday NagaraGroup organized a live “triple-header” at DMM’s Virtual Reality Theater near Yokohama Station. Hayabusa, Minyo Girls, and Wasamin were all performing separate concerts. Naturally, I bought tickets for both the Mingaru afternoon show, and Wasamin’s evening finale. (I will write a Minyo Girls concert report separately)

The shows were kinda close together, so after taking chekis with the Minyo Girls, it was almost time for the Wasamin Goods Booth to open. All three groups were debuting new products at this show, each with one particular unique item. Hayabusa had a new T-shirt, the Minyo’s had a new oshi towel. And Wasamin had a very interesting selection….


Wasa-Pillow!

All the groups also had postcards with a “changing” image on the front, and a small plastic uchiwa. Of course I ended up buying all of the new goods for both groups, as well as an advance ticket for Minyo Girls’ concert in July. Eventually staff started queueing us up to head into the theater.


The Postcards and Uchiwa

My ticket was for the 6th row on the right side, not quite as good as my 5th row left side seat for the Minyo show. One of the big things I was wondering about was how they would incorporate “Virtual Reality” into a live concert. I got my first preview in the Minyo Girls show, and while it was kinda cool, I wasn’t completely amazed. I assumed that the VR in the Wasamin show would be something similar, but I am pleased to say that there was a significant difference. Now if you are wondering about this VR stuff…

What happens at a ‘VR’ theater?

It’s pretty much the same concept they use at Hatsune Miku’s concerts. There is a huge screen at the back of the stage, and then an ‘invisible’ screen in front of the stage. In addition, there are two tall screens on each side of the stage to give it almost a cineramic feel. Unlike Miku, Wasamin is actually standing on the stage, but everything happening around her was VR. In fact, they did a great job of working the effects “around” Wasamin, but before I get into those kind of details, the setlist…

1. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara
MC (Introduction)
2. Anko Tsubaki wa Koi no Hana
3. Momen no Handkerchief
4. Hatsuzake
5. Ii Hi Tabidachi (original artist: Yamaguchi Momoe)
MC (Introduction of the ‘Seasons’ Theme)
6. Natsu no Tobira
7. Koisuru Natsu no Hi
8. Blue Light Yokohama
9. Kamome ga Tonda Hi (original artist: Watanabe Machiko)
MC (Blue Light Yokohama is standard for all her Yokohama appearances)
10. Nada Sousou
MC (Goods Introduction)
11. Matsu wa
12. Toki no Nagare ni Miwo Makase
13. Cosmos
14. Ryoshuu
MC (Talk about her ‘Love Live’ acoustic shows. This show was done in place of it)
15. Saba Kaido
MC (Wasamin notes that she had lots of Winter songs to choose from)
16. Kita no Yado Kara
17. Ettou Tsubame
18. Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyugeshiki
19. Kita no Hotaru
MC (Asking for feedback regarding the VR effects)
20. Mujineki
EN1: Sado no Ondeko

Setlist

First, let me say how unbelievably awesome this setlist was. Wasamin themed everything to represent the four seasons. There was a song section for Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall. The other cool aspect of this show was the nostalgia factor. Many of the songs she performed were from her first solo concert. I was so excited when she announced Anko Tsubaki as her second song. Same with Koisuru Natsu no Hi, those two songs were among my favorites at that show three years ago. There were also a lot of songs from her 1st album. So not only did it bring back memories of the concert, it also brought back memories of her 1st album release tour, which is such a fond memory for me.

The VR Effects

Interestingly, Wasamin only used the effects dung 4-5 songs. However, they did a great job of 1) working the effects around her 2) theming them out for the song. For Moshisora it looked like she was standing on clouds while she was singing. During Saba Kado it was like she was underwater, with a school of fish circling around her. Unlike Minyo Girls, who used the effects on most of their songs, but it wasn’t as strategically good.

MCs

Wasamin has become a lot more irreverent and goofy during her MCs. She also interacts directly with the audience a lot more. However, the funniest MC of all was her introduction of the goods, particularly the pillow. Actually it was called a cushion, but Wasamin was not bashful about how one might use it, and even implied fans should “sleep with it’ so they can wish her a good morning when they wake up. That said…

I did take Wasamin’s advice, but apparently I am a restless sleeper because when I wake up in the morning “Wasamin” is always on the floor. She will not be happy if she finds out I push her off the bed in my sleep, LOL.

Post-show Meet & Greet

One semi-gaffe before the show. There was a handshake event scheduled for after the performance, but they didn’t put out the pre-order sheets until after everyone was lined up to get into the venue. Some people left the queue to buy CDs, but most people figured they would do it after. This resulted in a huge queue to purchase CDs after the show. It was also a well-attended event, meaning the queue to meet her was very long as well. In fact, they asked us all to ‘matome’ our tickets instead of looping the line. Ultimately it took me 45 minutes to purchase CDs, and get to the front of the handshake queue. I had two tickets, good for a 2-shot with the special “Instagram” board they had prepared for the event…

Anyway, I told Wasamin how nostalgic the show was, and it reminded me of her first concert, as well as her old release tours. I also mentioned the memory of her crying in the middle of performing Koisuru Natsu no Hi at the first concert. It’s an amazing moment in the show (If you have seen it) which I am sure she remembers too. As I exited the handshake ‘room’ the line was still almost down to the street. I thought about waiting for everyone to finish, but it was late, I was hungry, and had a long ride home, so I bailed…


Fan Club Flowers

All in all the show was a lot of fun. The VR effects were a unique experience, and the concert hall itself was really nice. It’s cool that Wasamin is trying different things, instead of the same stuff over and over. I don’t mind that she didn’t do a ‘Love Live’ this Spring. Makes it more special. This Fall she is going to do a concert at an Onsen in Kansai, which seems like it will be a lot of fun too. In the meantime Wasamin is going to be doing a lot of appearances outside of Tokyo. She is in Niigata and Ishikawa Prefecture this weekend. She is going to be in Kobe next weekend, then Fukuoka. She does have a Saitama event squeezed in there next week, which I am planning on attending. I should be able to see her at least a few times in July.

 

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Chara-Ani Cheki Event at Tokuma/Nippon Crown Headquarters (2018/06/16) Plus, a Special Gift from Wasamin!

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While most everyone was busy with the Sousenkyo, I got busy with Wasamin’s 2-shot event.  But first, look what I received in the mail!

It’s our commemorative photo package from the Bus Tour last month, complete with full group pic, small group pic, and a thank you note…

 

This is a really nice touch provided by the fan club. I am always excited when I see an envelope in my mailbox with the Wasa-Min fan club logo.

Also….

One last very important announcement…

Wasamin has started a new blog on Ameblo, which will replace her LINE blog.

https://ameblo.jp/wasaminnn

Let’s see if she posts here more often than she did on LINE.  Anyway, on to the main subject of the post….

 

This was the second of two events of this type she had scheduled in support of Sado no Ondeko. The first one clashed with the HKT48 Shamekai event, so I was only able to make it to the last of the three slots. This time I had tickets for all three slots of the event, so I was ready for the full experience.

They announced via the Tokuma Records twitter account that there would be “on the day” tickets available at the event, so technically anyone could come whether they preordered via chara-ani or not. I’m not sure how many people show up solely to take advantage of that. I think it is mainly an opportunity for the people already there to get additional tickets. Also, the scuttlebutt around the event was which fans would be missing (and thus probably attending Sousenkyo) There were a few notable fans not there, although quite a few of the known 48-group fans among the Wasa-faithful were there. Anyway…

It was the usual setup. The anonymous record label building located somewhere between Osaki and Gotanda Stations. We are basically confined to two rooms on the third floor. The room with the queue, and then the other room with the queue directly to Wasamin. When I arrived, some of the fans thought I would be at Sousenkyo. I replied “What’s a Sousenkyo?” LOL. BTW, I arrived with 3 tickets, but ultimately ended up taking five chekis. Here are the pics, and a little bit of commentary for each one.

Slot One

For some reason this particular handshake is sort of a blur for me. Perhaps because I hadn’t eaten all day. But I think we were discussing her new blog. I was telling her that although I could read her LINE Blog. I always got an error when I tried to comment. She asked me if I am able to comment on Ameblo, which I can. (Although I will need to figure out my password, I haven’t used it in a while) Oh, and before I left I purchased two more tickets, one each for Slots 2 and 3. After that I was off to lunch.

Slot 2

Just as I walked into the room with Misaki, she was having a bit of trouble with her costume. So Ichikawa-san was adjusting it for her. I turned my head and exclaimed “Wasamin abunai” She didn’t notice at first, but Sasou-san, who was taking photos, was laughing. Eventually Wasamin saw what I was doing. She asked me what pose, and I asked her if there was a pose for “UFO.” (The Pink Lady song) She kept laughing at the way I was saying it. (like “oooh-fou”) and kept replying “It’s yoo-fou” I said in America it’s U-F-O, which she said she knew. Anyway, that’s the pose we came up with. She sang that song at Ebisu in this outfit, which is why I came up with it.

I told her I received my photo package from the bus tour, and that the picture of her in the tea outfit is really cute. I suggested some sort of “tea pose” and this is what we came up with.

Slot 3

The classic “heart pose” When I walked in I said that I recognized the outfit she was wearing, but I couldn’t remember where I saw her wearing it. It must have been on Twitter, or Showroom. Afterwards I showed her that I had my ticket for tomorrow’s concert in Yokohama. So she said “Okay, see you tomorrow.” But I have one more ticket!

For the final pic I thought the infamous Dandy Sakano “Gets” pose would look good. And actually, I kinda like the way it came out. Before I left I was telling Wasamin (and Ichikawa-san) that I was reading the “Thank You” not she sent with the Bus Tour Photos, and that I noticed the Keigo in the letter, which I explained is what I am currently learning in Japanese. I gave her some examples of what I remembered off the top of my head. She said she was really happy my Japanese was improving. I told her I am doing my best. And with that I was done.

If I went straight home, I would have been back in time for the SSK announcements. However, I decided to do a little shopping instead, so I got home sometime around the Undergirls announcements. Tomorrow I will be heading out to Yokohama for both Wasamin and Minyo Girls’ concerts at the DMM VR Theater. I have no idea how this is going to work since I have never seen a concert done with “Virtual Reality.” But the preview Wasamin tweeted looked interesting. Anyway, I am looking forward to it.

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events AKB48-Group 51st Single “Jabaja” Individual Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama (2017/06/03)

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I originally didn’t plan to attend this event, instead opting for the May and July Jabaja events at Makuhari. However, for some reason Kaotan is not participating in the July event, which kinda left me in a quandary since she is one of my top handshake members. I ultimately decided to go to both June and July, just with fewer tickets. I am glad I made that decision too, as they announced this week that they would be selling some Sousenkyo goods at the event, including the little poster pin badges.

Getting the badges was high on my priority list, but I didn’t really plan it properly arriving at Pacifico 10 minutes before the opening of Slot 2, and my first two tickets. I checked the goods queue. It wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t short either by any means. I could’ve opted to come back later when I had more time, but last year I did that and when I finally got around to getting goods Akiyoshi was sold out. I decided to tough it out, at worst it would cause me to lose out on one of my Slot 2 tickets. Finally, 45 minutes later I made it to the front of the line and got what I wanted.

I affixed each one to my two ticket holders, and I was off to do handshakes…

Slot 2

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 53) Kaotan with a morning slot? That’s unusual. Her line wasn’t very long, so maybe I could make it to my second ticket. The big gimmick of the day were these resumes the members wrote. And honestly, they were the most WTF “prize” I think they have ever offered. The members essentially autographed and wrote a message on a photocopy of the resume, which was like 17×11 and then put into a large envelope. And yes, I won the prize. So I was getting her signed resume…

I told Kaotan that I was watching the video on her Twitter feed, and got worried for a moment. She asked “Why, because everyone was crying?” Yes, and then I explained that somebody in the comments wrote “Kaotan is graduating?” She immediately responded “NAI NAI NAI!!!” She finally asked if I voted for her. I anticipated this question, and didn’t want to be a liar. So I answered. “YES! I voted for you!” What I didn’t tell her was that it was once. (I split my two fan club votes, one each for Kaotan and Yukachan) She made a comment as she handed me the resume about my not being able to read it, but I said I would do my best, especially since I am now taking a Kanji class. She asked if I could read kana, and then I told her I could read some kanji too.

So I was done, and there was still five minutes before gates closed. I was considering doing oshi-mashi with my second ticket, and the member I was considering was in the next lane over. I decided to check which lane might be smaller. Whaddya know, both of them were practically empty.

Yamauchi Mizuki (Lane 103) <oshi-mashi> I have met Zukky a few times now, but I feel I am really beginning to click with her, and I wanted to keep that momentum. Meanwhile, the ticket I gave up was for Komiyama Haruka, who I have never done a handshake with before. Though I do have another ticket for Komiharu coming up, so not the biggest tragedy.

Like I mentioned, Zukky’s line was empty and she waved to me as I was checking in. It was a quick handshake. I admitted to her that it was an oshi-mashi ticket, but I really wanted to see her today. She seemed satisfied with that. I mentioned I have a proper ticket for next event too. Ya know, the great thing about Zukky is that she is kinda shy and reserved, almost like she doesn’t know she’s an idol.

During the break between the slots I was roaming down the outside hall to see if there were any birthday cards I wanted to sign. I thought about signing Orin’s, but never got around to it. When I got to the far end, the Ricopi committee caught me eyeing their booth. Smelling blood, the grabbed me and brought me over. I explained to them that I do know Ricopi, and have met her multiple times. I also happened to have a ticket for her today. They tried to hustle me for a vote or two, but I explained any vote I have will be going to Akiyoshi (or Kaotan) I exchanged Twiiter handles with them and was on my way. They said they looked forward to seeing me in the queue. BTW, here is the cover of a flyer they gave me (more pages of it toward the bottom of the post)

 

Slot 3

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 3) Since Tomonaga Mio was again out for this event, Maichan was my only Slot 3 ticket. I waited until the slot was half over before heading back in, and Maichan’s line was fairly short. I didn’t win the 1-shot video prize, but I think I already have a couple of those with her. In any case, when it was my turn I congratulated her on the preliminary SSK result, and told her I would be really happy if she made Senbatsu this year. Of course she pointed out that I could help her out with that too, LOL. Anyway, she said she would work hard for it.

After that I took a look at the two “walls” they had built in the Hall. On the far right side of the hall were the election posters, with the members campaign promises. On the far left side were all the members’ resumes, so you could see them whether you won or lost. I took a few pics, and then decided to pre-queue for the line I thought might be the most troublesome since I had three tickets for three different members in the next slot…

Slot 4

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 108) By pre-queueing I managed to be second in line. Since they let us in 10 minutes early, I had some time to 1) read some of Zunchan’s signs that she posts all over her lane, and 2) get a firsthand look at the insanity going on in the lane next door. More on that in a moment. In the meantime Zunchan came bouncing into the lane with her cards for signing, which by the way I didn’t win, nor did the fans in front of me and behind me. When it was my turn I mentioned to her again that I enjoy reading her signs, as it is good Japanese practice for me. She puts so much effort into them too. Then I mentioned her “Majime” face on her poster. She asked how I liked at, and I said “Kawaii!” And with that I was off to the far opposite side of the hall for me second ticket…

I mentioned the lane next door, which was probably one of the craziest lanes I witnessed all day. It belonged to none other that Yahagi Moeka. Her line was gigantic. In fact, after they closed it I saw a couple of people wait for the guards not to be looking and jumped the rope into the queue. People had stacks of tickets they were using to oshi-mashi for her. Oh, and watching her with fans, WOW! Talk about Kami-Taiyou. She gets so close to the fans while talking it is almost like she is about to give them a kiss. Seriously, she gets her face inches away. So yeah, I am starting to get part of her appeal. Not that I want to deal with that queue, but the first time I met her she did come across as a fisher, so not totally surprising…

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 4) Finally getting to see Yukachan. However, when I entered the queue she wasn’t there. Instead Fukagawa Maiko was in her lane signing a HUGE stack of autographed resumes for a fan. It took over five minutes from when I arrived. I’m not sure who long they had been there already. I wasn’t worried as I was 6th in line and still had plenty of time for my third ticket. Oh, and I won the prize. It was a choice of selfie or video. This time I chose the video, and I saw a cute little phrase that I thought would be a lot of fun. In fact, when Yuka-chan read it she giggled…

Looks like I have a dinner date! Meanwhile I congratulated her on her preliminary result and told her that I hadn’t yet voted, so she had more votes coming from me. She thanked me as I told her I would be back in a bit.

Kobayashi Ran (Lane 92) <oshi-mashi> I actually planned to use my Mio ticket here, regardless of whether or not Mio was at the event. I waited five minutes for the half-hour mark to pass, and then entered the lane. Actually, quite a few people jumped into her queue at that point, so she is already starting to cultivate a following, Yatta!

She was wearing cute little cat ears, so I came in saying “Neko-Ranchan!!!” She immediately exclaimed, “You came back a second time!” Yes I did, and I told her that I bought some Ranchan tickets for the Teacher Teacher single too, so I would be seeing a lot more of her. Meanwhile, the guards were trying to hastily push me out, and she was desperately holding onto both my hands. Finally she let go. I asked if I get a business card. She said she couldn’t give me one if I was oshi-mashi. Ahhhh? So I guess when I got one last week it was totally by accident. Well, lucky me I guess.

I had an hour until Slot 5. I decided to go back to the goods booth just to see if either Kaotan or Yukachan had sold out of the badges. Neither of them had, and there was barely a queue. I guess I could have waited after all. The same couldn’t be said for the AKB48 Cafe. I was wondering why they had such a huge line, and it was because they were giving away the SSK poster-coasters with drink purchases. In the meantime I ran into my friend Nori, shortly before both of us headed back inside.

Slot 5

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 4) Again I pre-queued since this was my last slot of the day and I wanted to get home early. I was second in line. (There’s a guy who insists on being first in line for every Yukachan slot. In fact he queues up over an hour in advance to claim it) In the meantime I won the resume prize. When it was my turn I noticed I actually had a choice of three different items to be signed. Two were resumes, and the third was a big card. I chose one of the resumes since it looked like she worked hard on it, although to be honest her writing is quite sloppy, LOL.


She also signed the envelope

I had forgotten before, but I wanted to tell her how cute I thought all those “Calcium NOW” tweets were that she made while she was nursing her injured foot. I also called her “Hidarikiki.” Yukachan knows I am also “Hidarikiki” and asked me how to say it in English. At first I rattled off “Left-Handed” quite fast, and I don’t think she got it. But when I said it slowly she still had trouble with the “ed” part at the end. She understood “Left” and “Hand,” but that last part really threw her off, LOL. I got another “I love you so much” at the very end, which always melts my heart, and I said I would see her soon.

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 18) I headed over to Ricopi’s queue, and was immediately greeted by a couple of her fans who saw me at her seitensei booth. When I entered the lane I didn’t notice who was in the next booth over. It was Bibian. She got a good look at me too. She didn’t smile, or wave. Perhaps she was wondering why I haven’t been in her lane to visit lately. To Ricopi’s right was Ogiyuka’s booth, and it was fun watching her be super-genki with everyone. In the meantime, I ran into another Wasamin fan in the queue. It happened to be one of the guys who also won the duet with Wasamin at her Karaoke Party yesterday. (The Temodemo guy) Funny coincidence, especially since I specifically mentioned him in my post about that experience. And we both agreed that it was awesome to sing with Wasamin. Anyway, back to Ricopi…

“Kurisu! Long time-no see!” Actually, I did see her at the 2-shot event, so not that long ago. I told her that I made friends with some of her birthday committee members today. “You did???” And then I told her that I loved her poster, and it was like a cross between E.T. and Die Hard. She immediately laughed. E.T. Yes it is!!! I was halfway out of the lane at that point. I wished her the best and was on my way. And btw, more pics from the Ricopi flyer I was given…

I still had a lot of Japanese homework to do, so I headed home. AND, I found a quicker route home that Hyperdia (an online guide to Japan’s rail system) has never given me. It was slightly cheaper too. What the heck? In the meantime, I don’t think I have any 48-group related stuff on my schedule until July (my last Jabaja event) So this will be a little 48-group vacation, unless I win some theater show. I do have some Wasamin (and Minyo Girls) events coming up in two weeks, so I am looking forward to that.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Karaoke Party at Big Echo Ikebukuro (2018/06/02) ~Singing a Duet With Wasamin~

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Some of the most fun times I have had as a Wasamin fan have been with the special events you can send away for with the inserts in her releases. Back in 2016 I won her BBQ Party, which was the Grand Prize in her album insert. Last year, for Wasamin’s 6th single, I won the second prize which was the Karaoke Party. With Sado no Ondeko, I again won the second prize, which again was the Karaoke party. Yatta!

Now I have to admit, when I filled out the postcards I was really aiming for the Grand Prize, which was another BBQ Party. So when I received my winning postcard in the mail there was a slight tinge of disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to win any prize, since the “real” prize is spending time with Wasamin. However, the BBQ party I attended was so much fun, and the food was so abundant and good, that I was really hoping to go. When I filled out the postcards (which had to be mailed like three days after the single released to be eligible) I was tempted to apply for the BBQ party only, but I threw in a few applications for the Karaoke Party…just in case. Ultimately, I’m thankful I did that, or I may have been shut out entirely. Anyway…

I arrived in Ikebukuro and Big Echo around 10 minutes before “doors” opened. It was at the same location of last year’s karaoke event. The lunch I had before the event wasn’t totally agreeing with me, so I was hoping the unlimited Oolong Tea would help settle my stomach down. We were led in groups to the basement hall, where there were four tables set up for eight people each. I took a seat at the far end of the first table on the right. After being served our first round of drinks, Wasamin’s assistant informed us that Misaki-chan would sing a first round of songs. Then we would play janken for the opportunity to sing a duet with her, after that she would take requests. Oh, and the people who sing with Wasamin would also get an autographed Sado no Ondeko poster and clear file. Two things I already have, but oh well. Anyway, she led off with these two songs…


clear file

1. Natsu no Tobira
2. Goodbye My Love

I just happened to watch Wasamin’s 4th concert DVD before I left, and when I got to the part where she sang Goodbye My Love I thought this would be a great song to duet with her in the unlikely event I win the janken. So while I love that she sang it, it kinda threw me for a loop. After the second song, Wasamin was talking to some of the people who came. When she came to me she asked how her English was, and I told her it is becoming very good. She also asked if I would say the English lines of Goodbye My Love for her, so I repeated them back in my California accent (actually, most people say the origination of my speaking style is quite confusing, and sounds like it could be from a few different regions of America) Everyone got a big kick out of it.

Janken for a Duet with Wasamin

Okay, now on one hand I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do a proper duet with Misaki-chan. On the other, it is kinda worrisome. What song can I sing with her? Which Japanese song do I know well enough to sing? We went through three rounds of Janken. The first guy picked a cute 80’s or 90’s pop song. Not sure what it was, but the chorus has a bunch of lines like “Co-co-co-co-coconuts, I-I-I Love You, Sekushi Island” or something like that. The second guy chose Temodemo no Namida, after Wasamin asked if he was coming to her event on Sunday, and he admitted he was going to the AKB event at Pacifico. She gave him a bit of crap for it, but little did she know there were a few people in the room (including myself) with the same plan, LOL. After the third person won (and chose a relatively new song by one of the artists who happened to be on Utacon with Wasamin a couple weeks ago) I figured oh well, at least I will get a photo that looks like we sang a duet. That was until Sasou-san announced one more round of Janken…

Now I had managed to get myself eliminated on the first round of each previous contest. But in this last contest I happened to win the first round. Okay, not a good chance of that happening twice, right? Wrong. I won again. It was down to four of us, and we kept deadlocking for like four rounds. But eventually, it came down to two of us. The guy I was going against was behind me, and I literally had my head down looking in the opposite direction, so I was going strictly by Wasamin’s reaction only. And after SIX times drawing the same thing, who won? This guy did, that’s who. It was a moment of panic, as I didn’t know what I could sing, but I went up to the stage anyway…

Wasamin asked me where I was from, and his time I said California while hearing a couple people uttering “Itabashi” from the tables, a longstanding fan gag, LOL. I explained to her that I originally wanted to sing Goodbye My Love, but she already sang it. She offered to sing it again, but I pointed out that the karaoke script had no small Hiragana over any of the kanji, so it might be too difficult. Then it dawned on me, and I told her the time I was on Fuji television and sang Mujineki, so I would probably be able to sing that okay, It was settled. As someone in the audience pointed out, this was “Chris-san’s Challenge Campaign” LOL

So we sang together, and it was absolutely incredible to stand up there and sing a full song with her, and it went so well. I aced the first verse, had a tiny bit of trouble on the second verse, and was fine on the end. Every time I would look over at Wasamin she was staring into my eyes with a warm smile. I wanted to just stare back at her the entire time, but I had to look away to see the lyrics. By the end, Wasamin was surprised, as were the other fans, and probably more than anyone else, I was surprised. I had such a feeling of joy as she nodded in approval and gave me a thumbs up. Wasamin handed me my prizes, and I sat back down.


poster

She went around taking various requests from all the fans, and decided on the 2-3 songs she was most comfortable singing. Then finally she performed Sado no Ondeko, and that ended the event. We went up one by one to say goodbye, and take a commemorative cheki. I had originally planned on presenting her with a small gift, but then I thought maybe I would take a photo with the prizes. The problem was whatever I posed with needed to be small since we were supposed to be doing a singing pose with the microphones. At the last minute I decided on the gift after all…

I am taking a Kanji intensive course, and last week we did a little bit of calligraphy. This was one of the two kanji I chose to do. Look familiar? It’s “IWA,” as in Iwasa. Needless to say, Wasamin really liked it. After we took the photo she handed it back to me, but then I asked her if she wanted to keep it. She was like “Really?” I explained that I had another one with the Kanji for “HASU,” so it was okay. Wasamin handed me a small gift pack of senbei crackers. They look like they might be spicy. I hope they are! After that I headed to the bus stop, and back to my place for a relaxing Saturday afternoon.

This totally goes to show that everything happens for a reason. If given the choice now of having the experience I had today,or taking it all away for the BBQ party, I would without a doubt pick this experience. It was like 4 minutes of nobody else in the world except me and Wasamin, and it was awesome!

CK in Tokyo

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