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

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

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

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from Wasamin’s blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I AM THE KING OF JANKEN!

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

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

Bring on the Wasamin Photobook!

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

CK in Tokyo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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From Tani’s twitter

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

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

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

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

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From Mikitty’s twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Iwasa Misaki Saba Kaido Pre-release Week Update

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wasafan party in Ueno after the Asakusa event.

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

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

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

The original version of Hibari no Hana Uri Musume…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy shopping!

 

CK in Tokyo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Santa’s Helpers

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

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

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The Dinner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This was her outfit from the matinee

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

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“The Rat Pack”

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

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

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

 

CK in Tokyo

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

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

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

http://chickgirls.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Christmas Dinner Show at Hotel Nikko Tachikawa (2016/12/17) (featuring Sasaki Isao and Hayabusa)

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Part 14 of my Catch-up Series…

Iwasa Misaki Christmas Dinner Show at Hotel Nikko Tachikawa (2016/12/17)
(featuring Sasaki Isao and Hayabusa)

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This is an event I have been anticipating ever since it was announced. Well…this and her OTHER Christmas Dinner Show which is taking place Christmas Eve in Kanagawa. A lot of idols have done dinner shows, in fact Sasshi just did one a couple of weeks ago. And I thought Wasamin’s was expensive? I think Sasshi’s cost like double of what this show went for (22000 yen) I would also need to get a suit for the occasion, which I needed to buy anyway. There were actually TWO “Christmas Dinners” yesterday as there was also a matinee. However, I chose only to go to the evening show. They were expensive after all.

The other “fun” is booking these events. NagaraPro is sort of “old fashioned” when it comes to their procedures. They hardly use the internet at all. Everything is done via postcard, bank transfer, telephone, fax. It has really made me step up my game when it comes to writing and communicating in Japanese. I mention this because this was one of the first events like this I handled on my own without any help from a Japanese native. I was afraid I might have screwed it up. But my ticket came in the mail, I got my suit, I was ready for the big night…

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Tachikawa is about 30 minutes from Shinjuku Station on the Chuo Special Express. I was running slightly late, but I made it to the hotel around 5 minutes after doors opened. After making it up to the third floor, I was directed to the ticket counter, just past a goods booth. Yes, Wasamin and Hayabusa would be holding handshake events after the show. They checked my ticket and escorted me down to Table A, which was right up against the stage. What a great spot! Although I noticed most of the Wasamin fans were at Table C. Eventually another Wasafan sat down next to me, so I was good to go. Next to me was a little old lady, who I think said she was somehow related to Wasamin? I’m not sure, but she DID have a Wasamin lightstick. The champagne flowed for about a half hour, then it was dinner time. Here was the menu….

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And here were the dishes…

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The Salmon appetizer was excellent. Pumpkin soup was nice, although I usually prefer something a bit saltier. Everything else was good. The funny thing was that they served Olive Oil with the Bread, but I was the only person at the table using it. Finally someone ask me if it was butter. I said no, it is olive oil! After that a few of them started eating it too. After dinner they served more drinks and coffee while there was a small break before the show.

The show finally starts, and of course the MC immediately notices me up front and makes a big deal out of the foreigner in the room. Jeez, just leave me alone! I don’t want to be part of the act! Anyway, Hayabusa and Wasamin came out and did a quick group song, before Wasamin left the stage for Hayabusa. The cool thing was all three of the performers actually walked around the room singing and shaking hands with the tables. Although with Hayabusa only one of the three members came over to our table. I felt kinda dissed by the other two. It was also about this time I noticed at the table next to me a woman who looked like the 40-something year old version of Mayuyu. She seemed to be a big Hayabusa fan.

Eventually it was Wasamin’s turn. I found it interesting that Wasamin came on AFTER Hayabusa. Actually, it is usually how they come out. So I guess in the grand scheme of senpai-kouhai relationships, Wasamin is Hayabusa’s Senpai. Anyway, She opened with Hatsuzake, then proceeded to walk the floor while singing Blue Light Yokohama and Tokyo no Bus Girl. The funny thing was that she came by our table first, and even stared right into my eyes during the first line of the first song, but skipped shaking hands with me and the other Wasamin fan. It wasn’t until the very end that she came back around to us. The real treat was her debut performance of Ishikari Banka, one of the B-sides from her upcoming single. She finished with Mujineki, and it was time for the headliner.

I will be brief with Sasaki-san, but his set was a lot of fun. If you don’t know who Sasaki Isao is he sings a lot of Anime and Tokusatsu theme songs, and he does the voices of many anime characters. He’s been around for 55 years. He is very “Vegas-y”, in fact half the songs he performed were hits by Elvis, Paul Anka, Sinatra, all Vegas Guys. I loved it. Finally he invited Hayabusa and Wasamin back onstage to finish the show. They all performed Silent Night. I was really excited watching Wasamin singing in duet with Sasaki-san. I mean he is such a legend in the business. It is neat to see her perform alongside such amazing people. Oh, and Wasamin’s red Christmas dress was adorable…

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The show was over, but now there would be handshakes for anyone who bought CDs. I was bummed though, this was a perfect time to be doing 2-shots with all of her fans in suits, not to mention her outfit. But it was what it was. For my first handshake I told Wasamin that she looked hawt in her dress. She told me I looked “cool” in my suit. She also asked me if I enjoyed the food at dinner. I told her my favorite was the salmon. For the second handshake I was telling her that I also liked Isao-san’s set. Just then she reaches for her phone and startes framing me with it, at first I was trying to figure out what she was doing. Was she taking my picture? At that point she asked me to start talking about Isao-san again. Oh, so she is recording a message for him to see. At that point I got all tongue tied. I wanted to say that he was singing songs my Dad really likes, but I didn’t quite know how to say it in Japanese so it came out like I was saying my Dad was a fan of his. But I corrected myself and said the songs. I then said he was really good and I enjoyed his part of the show. The funny thing was, it ended up being like a one-minute handshake with all the recording.

That was that, and we will do it all over again next weekend. Oh, and Wasamin recently scheduled a THIRD dinner show for February. Jeez, I have started calling her Wasa-thief, because she sure knows how to extract money from my wallet. There is also a Wasamin Bus Tour in February I need to reserve and pay for. Sheesh!

EDIT: I forgot to mention that there was a fluent English-speaking server staffed at my table. I’m not sure if that was a coincidence or by design. But it if was planned, it was an EXTREMELY nice touch by the hotel. :1st: Although to be honest I am pretty much good enough at Japanese these days to be able to handle these situations without a crutch.

 

CK in Tokyo

SDN48 Hatakeyama Chisaki: “Chaki Live Vol. 6″ at Club Chelsea Hotel, Shibuya (2016/12/15)

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Part 12 of my Catch-up Series…

Hatakeyama Chisaki: “Chaki Live Vol. 6″ at Club Chelsea Hotel, Shibuya (2016/12/15)

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I know a lot of people on Stage48 these days weren’t around when SDN48 existed, and even if you were most of you didn’t pay too much attention to them, which was too bad, since at the time they were my favorite thing about the 48-groups. And I just adored Chaki. I always said that if Meetan weren’t in the group Chaki would be my oshi member of SDN. I occasionally wrote her fan letters too, and she always thanked me at high touch or handshake events after she received them. So after SDN48 broke up I have kept up with her activities, and have occasionally gone to see her perform.

It has been almost 9 months since I have seen Chaki live. She is high on my priority list when it came to artists or idols I like to see. However, since I am living here in Tokyo now I had to rethink how I am going to participate when it comes to seeing idol events. I am no longer here on vacation, so quite often my responsibilities have priority over fun. Even with Wasamin, I don’t go to every event. Although she is the one that I will do my best to see as often as possible. As for the others, since I moved back in the Summer…

FESTIVE: Have seen three times, the last time was about a month ago
Tokyo CLEARS: Seen twice, last time was in early September
Hashimoto Kanna: Haven’t seen.
MWAM: Haven’t seen
PARMS: Haven’t gone, and Kamen Joshi is no longer a priority for me since Himeri left.
Chaki: Haven’t seen, until this event

Anyway, I checked Chaki’s schedule last month and decided I would make a point of seeing her in December since she had quite a few events scheduled. But she had slipped my mind until I saw her thanking people on twitter for coming to her show last week. I thought, “Oh shit I forgot about Chaki again!”

So Wednesday was my birthday, and I was on social media quite a bit responding to people sending me best wishes. I noticed Chaki talking about her show the next day. So I sent her a tweet telling her I was thinking of coming. A few moments later Chaki responded asking me to “Please come to the show <3” So now it was set, and I couldn’t back out now since Chaki knew I was coming. (And yes, Chaki knows that is my twitter, she has mentioned it before when I have seen her that she sees my responses to her)

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This was my first time at the Chelsea Hotel, although I had walked by it quite a few times when going to Tokyu Hands, so I knew where it was. Like so many of the clubs in Shimokitazawa where Chaki usually plays, it was a small, dingy little club in a basement underneath another club and a Kebab shop. Small stage, little bar. To be honest, the place smelled kinda like a men’s room. But whatever, I was one of the first people in, so I would have a good spot. I didn’t go to the front of the stage though, a stayed a few feet back toward the right. I did go over to the goods table since I wanted to a) pick up copies of Chaki’s new single, b) pick up some of her old indie singles that I don’t have, thankfully they had them in stock this time. (They didn’t at the last show I went to). I also knew that Chaki has a Ponta Card, which you can redeem to go to a Chaki drinking party! Awesome prize, eh? I also got a free Chaki poster for buying multiple copies of the new single.

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My Chaki AND Wasamin “frequent buyer” cards

It got to be around 15 minutes before curtain and there still wer only like 25 people in the club, including Chaki’s mom. I was waiting to see if any of Chaki’s SDN48 friends would show up (at Chaki Live Vol. 3 Rachel, Akiko, Hiromin, and Megu were in the audience) Lo and behold, in walks Nachu. She quickly waved to us in the small crowd before jumping into the dressing room, where we all could immediately hear Chaki squealing! Nachu hung out at the back of the venue for most of the show…

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Finally the show started, 10-15 minutes late. Chaki came out in a pretty white dress, and to my surprise she had a new back up band. The all-female “ChakiPro Project”, who were also all dressed in white. The band was really good, especially the guitarist, Kei-chan. She had a real bluesy Santana-like sound, and did a couple of real impressive runs. The setlist for the most part was pretty much her album, “Chakiism”, which I bought back in March. I love the CD, and highly recommend it.

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There is also a lot of audience participation during her performance. In fact, at one point her birthday committee pushed my up to the front of the stage, when Chaki saw this she leaned down next to me, shoved the microphone in my face, and we did a duet of the end of the chorus part of the song “Party”. So now I get to say I have sung with an idol! (Well, actually Wasamin and I sang together once, but that was during a handshake) After that I got a bunch of high-fives from people in the crowd. The show ended after about 90 minutes, and a quick one song encore.

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Chaki’s band: (from left) Guitar: Kei-chan, Bass Guitar: Shin-P, Keyboards: Eimi-chan, Drums: Yuu

I was going to bail, but I knew that Chaki usually comes out and talks with the audience after the show, so I grabbed another drink and hung around. Eventually she came out, and started signing people’s CDs. While I was waiting in the queue I noticed that the occasional fan was talking a cheki photo with Chaki, so I took a closer look at the goods “menu” and saw that a Cheki was 1000 yen. Cool! So I got to the front, Chaki immediately thanked me for “helping” her with the song. I asked if I could get a “Chaki Cheki” too, and she said ofcourse. I mentioned it had been quite a while since she and I had taken a photo together. She was like “That’s true!” It was funny though, when she was signing my CD she got all embarassed that she had to ask my name. I don’t see her that often, so I don’t expect her to remember it. LOL. While she was signing the CD she mentioned our little twitter interaction the previous day. We took the picture, and I told her I would see her again soon. In fact her fans were asking me when I would be coming to see Chaki again. I told them later this month. She has a live in Ikebukuro on Friday, so I will definitely go to that.

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And with that I left….

EPILOGUE:

So a funny thing happened the next day. I was writing a little blurb on Facebook thanking my friends for sending me birthday greetings, and I was talking about my birthday celebration was spent seeing Chaki, and how much I enjoyed the show. I then remembered that Chaki mentioned she had a Facebook page….

That’s odd, I don’t remember ever seeing Chaki entries on my Facebook timeline.

So I checked her page, and I had sent a friend request to her a long time ago and she never responded. So I re-sent it. Within minutes she accepted the request, then she started “liking” a bunch of random entries on my timeline, including some of the birthday wishes from my friends. She also “shared” my post where I talked about her, but she commented that she couldn’t read English, so she didn’t know what I was saying. So I responded telling her that it says the show was great and I had a lot of fun. A few minutes later she “liked” that post too.

All in all it was an awesome time, and I look forward to seeing her again next week.

 

CK in Tokyo

AKB48, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48-Group Love Trip Handshake (Etc.) Event at Makuhari Messe (2016/11/27)

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Part 11 of my Catch-up Series…

AKB48-Group Love Trip Handshake (Etc.) Event at Makuhari Messe (2016/11/27)

This event was a last-minute thing for me, and it was only after I had so much fun with the HKT girls that I decided to grab a few tickets in the last resale. I applied for 9 tickets, ultimately winning four of them. Luckily, most of the tickets I won were at the end of the event, with the exception of one. And that was the member I was most looking forward to see. So the plan was to get there around 3pm, do the one handshake, and then go find a place to veg-out for three hours before coming back at 6:45pm for my final three tickets. I also had tickets for the AKB National Event the day before, but decided to skip it since I did have a few things I needed to get done that weekend.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 5) – Yuka-chan was one of the big reasons I got tickets for this event. For this slot there was a possibility of winning a 1-shot video. I had no idea how the system worked, and when looking at the questions I was thinking “Shit, I will never figure this out quickly, so I will just pick one at random. It didn’t matter though since I lost the lottery, and would simply get a handshake. To be honest, I was slightly relieved.

Akiyoshi’s line was taking forever, it was then I realized she had left the lane for quite a while. I wondered if she was bailing on the slot, but she eventually returned. I finally got to the front of her queue. I like that she yells my name every time I come into her booth. I essentially told her that the reason I was there was for her, and although I didn’t win the one-shot I was glad to be talking with her. I was glad to see that her queue was pretty long (and I lost trying to apply for her Slot 6) since at HKT events her line is relatively empty. And of course I was wearing my Yuka-chan flower and ticket-holder.

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After grabbing a Kebab wrap from one of the food trucks outside, and talking with @Sakuraism for a few minutes, I went and hid out at Caffe Veloce over by the train station.

Akiyoshi Yuka/Tanaka Yuka/Kurihara Sae Interview/Photo-op (Slot 7) So I didn’t win my other applications for Yuka-chan, but at least I won this ticket. I actually like these little mini-events. They are kinda short, but they are fun. They remind me of Wasamin’s mini-lives. Whi I was waiting for the queue to open up a random Japanese fan came over and started talking to me. It was a really good opportunity to practice my Japanese as he didn’t really know English at all. In fact, ever since the guy has been LINE messaging me quite a bit, which has also been really good language practice for me…

I drew entry ticket #67, which was good enough to get me into the third row on the left. The event started and Yuka-chan immediately noticed me sitting on the left, which luckily was where she was positioned. The photo-op started, this time I decided to take a video.


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(Yuka-chan glancing in my direction)

So the funny part was at one point Akiyoshi begins to focus on me, smiling and waving. All of a sudden Tanaka Yuka notices me and begins trying to fish me. She repeatedly looked my way, waving and mouthing “Hello!” at me. What’s with all of these girls trying to steal Akiyoshi’s fans? The previous week it was Lovetan, this time Yuutan. A little respect for Akiyoshi please! BTW, I barely paid attention to the questions, although I sorta remember one being about the outfits the choose to wear at events.

Murakawa Vivian (Slot 8) I was able to score one Bibian ticket, and I would be playing old maid for her autograph. Earlier I had seen people walking around with the Old Maid cards, some winners and some losers. To be honest I would have been just as happy with a losing card with the pictures of the managers on them. Yuasa’s was especially funny. In this round they gave you the form to fill out first since you don’t know whether or not you will win until you meet the member. In the meantime I was watching Tomiyoshi play old maid with her queue. She was obviously trying to make everyone win as she would show them the cards face up first, and then slowly shuffle them. Would Vivian make it that easy too?

No such luck, she shuffled them under the table and then brought them out face down. I had a 50/50 shot, and…

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I won! Vivian finally learned my name, so I was happy about that.

Matsumura Kaori (Slot 8) – My final ticket was for Kaotan, and it has been a while since I had spoken to her. I was a little nervous since I wasn’t sure what to talk about. In the meantime there was plenty of action going on around Kaotan’s queue. First of all, Suda Akari’s day was just ending a couple of queues over, and she was coming out to say goodbye to her fans. She was wearing the tightest little mini-skirt, and cute little beret and a tight black sweater. She looked so hawt! At one point she was waving to us in the Kaotan queue too. Then, Masanya had nobody in her queue for the longest time, so she was practically living in Kaotan’s booth. It was like having a handshake with both of them. Unfortunately (or not) she got a few people in her queue just before it was my turn. As far as the Old Maid card was concerned, like I said before I liked the Yuasa card. I also already have a Kaotan autograph, so it really didn’t matter to me if I won or lost…

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I won anyway. Then Kaotan completely amazed me. First she asked me how school was going. Then she asked me where in Itabashi I lived. I couldn’t believe she remembered so many details about me. When I told her what part of Itabashi I lived in she got very excited, and told me she was familiar with my neighborhood. After all, it isn’t too far from Wakoshi, where she grew up. I told her I would be sure and get tickets for AKB 2-shots with her. Kaotan is an amazing idol because she knows how to relate to people. It is the biggest reason why she has become one of my favorite members to see.

And that was that. Short and sweet. I remember the old days when I would get 25-35 tickets for these events. These days I am just as happy with 5-10 tickets. In fact, earlier this year I went to two events where I had only 2-3 tickets. These days the lines go a lot slower with all of these little games and videos, so there is a much bigger risk of eating tickets when you buy too many. As for the little extras they are now offering with the handshakes, to be honest they are not really a big selling point for me. I am just as happy simply talking to the members.

 

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 2nd Album Release Week and Christmas Fan Club Live! (2016/11/30-2016/12/04)

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Part 10 of my Catch-up Series…

I guess it is time for me to give an update on Wasamin’s release week. Actually, this was the first time since her second single that I did not attend every release event. Since I am no longer eligible for a railpass, it becomes much more expensive to follow Wasamin around Japan. Furthermore, I had business to tend to in Tokyo, so I would have to settle for 3 of 5 events. That’s okay though, since I have been going to her pre-release events all month…

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Release/Press Event 2016/11/30 Sunshine City, Ikebukuro

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It was really neat seeing Wasamin’s PVs being played on a loop on the giant screen in the middle of Sunshine City. Interestingly, this was the first time that they have only had one event for release day, and it was the first time that there was no event for Furage day. I think part of the reason was because of her London appearance. But one would think as busy as Sunshine City is, two events would have been worthwhile.

The event was at 5:30, but the original sale and seat draw was 7 hours earlier, at 10:30am. I wasn’t able to make that, but they announced that a second chance draw for seats would occur at 3:30, so I was in time for that. It was no surprise that I didn’t get the best seat draw…

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I’ve had worse. No matter, ultmately I made it to the far left seat in the second row, which was fine. I said hello to Higashi-san, who does the MCs for Wasamin’s big events, as well as all of the NagaraPro concerts. I was also happy that I finally got my hands on the new album. Right now I have 20 copies. (Well, 18 since I have given two away) This was also the first day that they were doing preorders for her upcoming single, Saba Kaido. But I decided to stick to the album for the time being. There will be plenty of time for single preorders. I’m sorry that I don’t remember the setlist, but iirc it was something like…

1. Gomen, ne Tokyo
2. Itako Hanayome-san
3. Toki no Nagare ni Miwo Makase
4. Mujineki

During the MCs, Higashi-san interviewed her about her London trip, the album, and he was the one who announced that she would be going back to France next year. After the event ended we waited around 30 minutes while the press did their interviews. I love watching Wasamin dealing with press people, she just glows from all the attention. Finally we had our opportunty for Shamekai. I had two tickets, here is one of my pics.

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Per usual I had no luck drawing for a signed cheki. Wasamin was eager to tell me she ate fish and chips while in London. I told her that I saw the picture she posted on her blog (and twitter). I then asked her if she improved her Englsih for her trip. She was like “Uhh…” That’s my Wasamin! I apologized for not being able to travel with her this week, as I had a final exam in Japanese to take. She wished me luck. I had to leave early since I was meeting a friend on the other side of Ikebukuro, and this event was going a bit overtime. Anyhow, I would see her on Saturday…

Wasamin spent Thursday and Friday performing and promoting in Osaka and Hakata, before flying back to Tokyo in time for…

HMV Release Event, Aeon Mall Urawa-Misono, Saitama Prefecture 2016/12/03

Since I live on the North end of Tokyo, it is quite easy for me to get to most of these Saitama events. This particular Aeon Mall is very close to the home of the Urawa Reds, and this day happened to be the day of the J-League Final. The mall was packed, and at least half the people there were wearing Urawa Reds gear, and if you count everyone wearing red it would have been around 80%. Oh, and it had one of the biggest food courts I have ever seen in a mall. By the way, all of the Wasafans seemed to be in a very rambunctious mood. They were screaming their heads off throughout the events. Wasamin was like “What the hell is going on with you guys???” But we were definitely attracting people from around the mall as the crowd grew as the events went on.

As for the songs she performed, I don’t remember the exact order, but I do remember that she sang the following songs…

Four of her singles (except for Moshimo),
and Four songs from her new album: Itako Hanayome-san, Tokyo no Bus Girl, Gakusei Jidai, and Kita no Hotaru

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This was my favorite of the two Shamekai I had. Wasamin has this new habit of grabbing your cellphone and checking out the photo before you get it back. She really liked this photo too. She had asked during her MCs if we had listened to the CD yet. So I told her how impressed I was with the acoustic version of Nada Sousou, and that I want to hear more acoustic Wasamin. For the second 2-shot I asked her if she had attended Lovetan’s Seitensei in Fukuoka. (She had tweeted about it) She said that sadly she didn’t have the chance. I said that I knew that she was really busy. She replied in English. “Yes, I am busy!” LOL Release week culminated with a Fan Club event in Shibuya…

And in case you were wondering, Urawa lost.

Iwasa Misaki Fan Club Christmas Live at Shidax Shibuya (2016/12/04)

Yeah, it might be a little early for a Christmas Party, but Wasamin’s schedule is so full that I guess this was the only chance to have it. As we entered the venue they were selling what they had left of her fan club goods. I had everything already, but I picked up another bottle of “Wasamin Water.” Since we didn’t know how this event was going to go, pretty much everyone was buying copies of the album for Shamekai. We would find out later that we all would get a 2-shot just for attending. We also knew that Wasamin would not be wearing her “Santa-min” outfit since she tweeted that the night before. Instead she came out in a really beautiful dress. She looked adorable. We also got a questionaire before the show (which is standard for Wasamin FC events), this would be the first time I would actually try and fill it out.

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She sang a few songs in the beginning, one of them was “Shojo A”, which I am not familiar with. She also did acoustic versions of Nada Sousou (from her new album) and Nagori Yuki (from her upcoming single). We then got to watch a long video of her trip to London. It showed her riding around the city, walking around the Christmas market, her first performance with Hayabusa. The rest of the video was Wasamin repeatedly failing at playing with a Kendama. Next there was a drawing for 10 lucky people to win a Christmas present from Wasamin. But there was a catch. If you were one of the 10 winners you had to confess to her. Unfortuntely I didn’t win. However, my friend Doikatsu won. (Doikatsu is one of the Japanese fans who went to London. You know, the loud guy) Jeez, he has the best luck at Wasamin events. Anyhow, she finished by singing a very pretty song called “Sweet Memories” and finally “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” It is fun to hear those songs since you can really hear how bad Wasamin’s English is. Finally, it was 2-shot time, which took an extaordinarily long time for some reason. I spent the wait filling out all of my postcards for the album prize drawing. I am hoping to win a ticket to the Wasamin “Barbeque Party” this Spring. For the first 2-shot I showed her my questionaire. She read it aloud and exclaimed “Good Job Chris!”

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We are reindeer. And yes I have a Santa hat. For the second 2-shot I showed her that I could now write her name in Kanji. She showed it to Ichikawa-san, her manager. I then asked her if she had a day off this week. She said no. I was like “Hey, Wasamin needs a day off, and so does Ichikawa-san” Wasamin was laughing that I was concerned about her manager. Anyway, we all got a little gift for coming to the event…

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And, after an extremely long drought, I finally drew a signed cheki. Only my second of the campaign…

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Konnichiwasamin!!

By the way, this was the day that most of the fans received their official fan club Happi coats. I initially didn’t order one since “free size” usually means too small for me. In fact I have an AKB48 Team B Happi, and it is a bit snug. But I noticed a lot of her larger fans had them so I asked to try one on. It wasn’t too small, so I went and ordered one today. (The order period had passed over a month ago, but I called NagaraPro and they said they still had some if I sent the money in this week, which I did) Anyway, after the show I headed to Harajuku for dinner, but not before passing Yoyogi Gymnasium which was packed with girls excited to see Yamapi live. I kinda like Yamapi too, so I was a little jealous.

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(Sorry the pic didn’t come out, but it says Tomohisa Yamashita Future Fantasy)

Tomorrow is “officially” the first preorder event for Wasamin’s 6th single at Sofmap in Akihabara (right across the street from the Donki) I also received a fan club mailer yesterday filled with Wasamin events, including a Valentine bus tour. So no rest for Wasamin, and no rest for Wasafan’s wallet!

 

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Wasamin Events in October/November: Fan Club Live, Live on NHK, and Live at Ueno Park’s Ninja Fest

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Part 9 of my Catch-up Series…

It has been a big weekend for Wasamin and her fans. Friday night she kicked off Yamano Music’s Ginza Enka Matsuri. Tonight (Saturday) was her second Fan-club premium live which was split into three segments to keep it intimate and fit all the fans who wanted to attend. We were treated to cosplay, a 10+ song performance, one-shot photo session, 2-shots, and there were Fan-club exclusive goods available. I will give you a quick preview….

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Sunday she will make a quick trip down to Kobe to appear at the Kobe Vissel soccer match, then back to Tokyo for recod store appearances in Shibuya and Ikebukuro on Monday and Tuesday.

Wasamin appeared on NHK Utacon last night, along with Nogizaka46. I was in the audience with @Tensai For me it was my first time seeing Nogizaka. Wasamin didn’t do any solos, she sang along with other artists, and did a lot of backdancing. Nonetheless it was a really good show…

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Not sure how long these will stay up…

Highlights,

Shamisen Boogie Woogie.
Wasamin w/ Ichikawa Yukino, Kawano Natsumi, Kudo Ayano, Nishida Ai, Moriyama Aiko, & Nogizaka46 as backdancers

Geisha Waltz (Wasamin sings on this one too)

Oh, and one more thing…

Wasamin announced on her blog her 6th single will be released 2017/01/10!!!!

It is called 鯖街道 (Saba Kaido)

 

And as a bonus, here are a couple of shots from Wasamin’s appearance this weekend at the Ninja Festival in Ueno Park.

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Wasamin was the final act of the night, right after Minyo Girls. Remember them? They are the cute traditional idol act (one girl even plays the shamisen!) who sometimes appear with Wasamin. They also belong to Nagara Pro, AND they were recently signed to King Records (heard of them? [hehe] ) After the show Wasamin and Minyo Girls were sharing the same booth for handshakes. Oddly enough, for Wasamin they were only selling copies of Gomen ne Tokyo, probably because it was cold, wet, dark, hardly the appropriate situation for a shamekai event. Minyo Girls, on the other hand were autographing their CD. Plus, you could get a group 2-shot.

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I actually had a group-shot with three of them back in January too. I am becoming a Minyo Girls regular!

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As a final bonus, a 2-shot from Sunday at Aeontown Yukarigaoka. I am building quite the collection of these from all the pre-ordering! BTW, Wasamin is ready for London. She asked if any of us were flying out with her, and we all said no. :p

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CK in Tokyo