AKB48, Concerts Horipro Thursday FES 2018 ~Spring Song Battle~ at Zepp Diver City (2018/03/15)



A lot of odd events occasionally show up on the AKB-Group Ticket Center. I wasn’t sure what this event was, despite the “Hori” at the beginning being a major clue. It wasn’t until I checked the details that I got really excited….

Ishida x2?



My first true oshimen, and I have not seen her since shortly after she graduated from SDN48 when I went to her Gravure DVD release event at Tower Records Shibuya. That was what? Six years ago??? This was the clincher for me. Not to mention Ishida Anna and Tomochin, two former 48-group members who I enjoy visiting would also be there. On the other hand, it had been quite a while since I had actually won a concert via the ticket center. So I was truly surprised when I got the winning email.

I received a second surprise when I picked up my ticket and saw that I had entry #26. Diver City can fit over 2000 people, although I didn’t know how many people were actually coming, especially since the Horipro website said the show wasn’t sold out. But needless to say, with that ticket I would be very close to the stage.

Anyway, I got to DiverCity relatively early, had lunch, and then hung out at Tully’s waiting for doors to open. I checked the goods on the website, and frankly nothing appealed to me at all, so I had no interest in the “early bird” goods table. At 5:30 pm, they didn’t line us up. Instead everyone was in this mass of people as they called people in one by one. That seemed like quite an ineffective way to handle the queue, but whatever. They also made you buy a drink ticket, which I thought was slightly lame considering the cost of the show ticket. Oh, and the crowd was a sea of orange Ogino Yuka T-shirts. It seems like at least 1/3 of the crowd was there to see her. The only other performer I saw any evidence of a support group for was Yamauchi Suzuran.

When I got in, they quickly checked my bag. I ran over to the bar, and quickly grabbed a beer (took about 15 seconds) and then jogged in to get a spot. There was a walkway in the middle of the arena, so you could either go to the left side or right. Everyone was going to the right, so I took off for the far side, and got a spot right against the rail. Not really close to the center, but a good spot nonetheless.

I mentioned a few of the members who were performing. Let me give you the full lineup. The majority of the performers were current and former 48-group members….

The hosts were Ijiri-san and Oshima Mai
Current 48-group members were Myao, Suzuran and Ogino Yuka.
Graduates (other than MaiMai) were Meetan, Iwata Karen, Kasai, Tomochin, Harukyan, and former Nogi member Nagashima Seira. Ishida Anna was supposed to be there, but ultimately wasn’t. I didn’t read the reason for her absence, but I was kinda bummed out about it.
Non-48 Women: Kojima Ruriko, Sasaki Moyoko, Hamaguchi Junko, Yamane Chika, Koso Yoko
Male Talent: Ueda Kandai, Sadaoka Yuho, Okamoto Tomotaka

This was a “Spring Song Battle,” and the performers were put into two teams, red and blue, captained by Meetan (blue) and Kasai (red). The members chose teams by picking balls out of a box, which was shown via VTR at the beginning of the show. BTW, Anna WAS in the VTR, which made it surprising not to see her performing. Also, Kasai had some sort of throat condition, and was not allowed to speak. Instead she carried a art book with pre-written lines in it. As for their outfits, all Team red members wore some kind of red themed outfit, wile the blue team wore blue or white attire.

The first half of the show featured members singing various songs in various pairings and groupings. Interestingly, the Horipro members all have varying degrees of skill when it comes to singing. I’m a Meetan fan, but I am painfully aware that she is an awful singer. There’s really no one among the 48-girls who is an exceptional singer. Karen probably comes the closest, and Myao is surprisingly decent. Ranran’s not bad either. On the other hand, the other talent really carried the show, singing-wise, especially Koso and Uedo. Oh, and Okamoto Tomotaka, well….

This guy is amazing. He is billed as a classical singer. He’s gigantic. He towered over everyone in the group. He’s huge, from shoulder to shoulder he looks like a human wall. Couple that with the long and flowing gown he wears, he is quite the site. And, his singing is incredibly powerful, which is even more surprising considering he is a Soprano. He did a duet with Ranran that for me was probably the biggest highlight of the show.

The second half of the show was the AKB Battle, where they for the most part sang all 48-group related songs, and Tomochin performed her solo song OMG with two backdancers. They sang a lot of short versions of songs, and for the life of me I can’t remember all the songs they performed. I do remember Only Today, Korogaru Isshi ni Nare, Sakura no Hanabiratachi (Ranran/Okamoto duet) and Heart Gata Virus. I would have loved to see a performance of Oshi/Meshi, but since Kasai couldn’t perform. Speaking of Kasai…

It was nice to see the graduate members, and most of them looked for the most part the same. Iwata has the short blonde haircut, which is quite cute on her. However, I did not recognize Kasai when she first came on stage. Her entire face looked completely swollen. Now it IS possible that whatever her ailment is might be affecting her face, since I didn’t notice this in recent photos. Moreover, the rest of her body looks fine, so it isn’t like she is putting on a lot of weight. But yeah, she looked different. Meetan, on the other hand looked really good. I like the short top w/side-ponytail look on her.

As for the non AkiP-Idols, the one that stuck out the most for me (aside from Okamoto) was Kojima Ruriko. Let’s just say she has a slammin’ figure. It was fun to watch the non-singing idols trying to perform AKB songs. One of them commented (I think it was Hamaguchi) that after performing these songs, she had a newfound appreciation for the work if idols.

The end of the show was 1) the vote, and 2) the photo-op portion of the show. We were all given a red and blue glowstick to use during the show, not only as a cheering tool, but to ultimately vote on who won the battle. In the beginning, my glowstick refused to work properly, but after smacking it a few times, I finally got it to light up and stay lit. I was in a quandary, since I wanted to vote for Team Meetan, but I was standing against the Team Red side of the stage, so they would clearly see me voting against them, including Tomochin. Nut what the hell, I voted for Team Blue anyway, and we won. Yatta! It was pretty much a given since Ogino was on the blue team. But it was close, there were a lot of red sticks too.

I was looking forward to the photo ops, but ultimately was disappointed in the way they carried it out. In other shows I have been to, when they offer this benefit the performers will move around the audience to meet more people. However, in this show they stayed stationary throughout the song, I ended up with Iwata Karen right in front of me, so I got lots of great closeups of her. But Meetan and Suzuran were far away from me, so I didn’t get any photos of them. Bummer.

After the show there was a promised High Touch. A couple of the older non-48 group related performers didn’t participate. It was quite a line, and you were pushed through fairly quickly, but I was sure to pause when I got to Meetan. Actually, I saw her eyeing me from when I got about three away from her too. I also got nice reactions from Ranran, Tomochin, Iwata, and the Nogi girl Nagashima, who started speaking to me in English.

And with that I was out of the hall and ready for dinner. But unfortunately last order at all the Diver City restaurants was 9:30, and I got out at 9:31. So I was out of luck. Ultimately the show was fun, but I was mainly happy that I got to see Meetan again. Who knows when/if I will have another chance to meet with her. But never say never, right? It had been almost six years and here came another opportunity

CK in Tokyo

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Events, SKE48 SKE48 National Handshake Event at Yokohama Arena (2018/03/18)



I think I look forward to these Zenkoku handshake events even more than the individual events. Granted, you don’t get much time at all to actually talk to the members, but you DO get a chance to shake hands members that you might otherwise never meet. It’s always a crapshoot, but at just about every event there is at least one member that impresses me out of nowhere. This event was no exception.

I kinda waited until the last minute on this event. As of yesterday I had no tickets, although I knew I could purchase CDs at the venue. Ultimately I had a friend with a bunch of tickets, and he wasn’t going. So he tossed me a handful. I bought two more at the event to make seven tickets in total. I was also hoping that they would be doing make-up for Souda Sarina, who missed an individual event last year. I have been holding this ticket for almost eight months, and have not heard about any recourse. So I was somewhat disappointed when they announced they would be holding a special lane for make-ups for Ichino Narumi, and not Souda. But I digress..

I had no intention to get to the venue early, and waited until almost curtain time before I showed up. Since it was assigned seating, there was really no reason whatsoever to queue early. I got a 20th row arena level seat, dead center. It was a really nice view, well…until some tall dude with a huge head sat right in front of me. While we waited for the show to start we were entertained by a bunch of acrobats jumping around on stilts. Anyway, here is the setlist of the mini-live…

1. Muishiki no Iro (Senbatsu)
2. Igai ni Mango (3rd gen. draftees)
3. Hanshateki Through (Love Crescendo Senbatsu)
4. Aishiteraburu! (Tani/Kaotan W-Center)
5. Madogiru Lover (I think Ichino centered this)
6. Wagamama na Nagareboshi (Eigo/Ichino)
7. Nakama no Uta (All)

The highlight of the mini-live had to be the 3rd gen. draftees. They are quite the adorable little group. They all did their personal introduction, and then performed Igai ni Mango. I could be wrong, but I don’t think they were singing live. I thought Hirata really shined on stage. And the two petite girls, Otani and Nishi, are both adorable and full of personality. Anyway, that was my first impression.

This is the first time I can think of where they did a ‘mini-live’ event at Yokohama Arena. Minarun commented during the first MC, and I absolutely agree, that it actually felt like a big concert. Granted, the arena wasn’t at capacity, but the stage and seating setup really made it feel that way.

Tani/Kaotan W-center on Aishiteraburu! Obviously that’s heaven for me, although somebody was off-key in the chorus. This one was definitely done live. Also, they didn’t make too big a deal about Ichino’s pending graduation, aside from having her out front for a couple of songs. And finally, they showed a preview of the new SKE TV show, the one where they are in a public bath. Should be interesting. Anyway, the live ended, and we had over an hour before the handshake event started. I bailed, and then returned just before doors. I wanted to use my first ticket on a “heavyweight” before the lines got too long. But who would I choose???

Matsui Jurina (Lane 1) It was between J or Dasu, and I have tickets for both of them next month. I decided to go with Jurina since the person who gave me the tickets is a Jurina fan. The queue was huge, but I was confident it would go relatively quickly. This was also when I ran into @Boma Adhi in the queue. Eventually it was my turn. Jurina started to pull the “wow, a foreigner” thing with me, but I think she remembered that she has met me before on multiple, although sporadic occasions. Anyway, I got out that the tickets I was using belonged to ….-san, and she was like “Ehhh, Uso!!!” Lucky for him, I didn’t have time to tell her that he didn’t come because he was more interested in seeing HKT today, LOL.

One other thing, they had a camera behind the lanes, and they were filming the members coming in and out of the handshake area. The girls were hamming it up for the camera, and there were many funny moments. Play-fighting, pulling faces, and other general silliness

Kamata Natsuki, Matsumoto Ckikako, Matsumura Kaori (Lane 6) Kaotan had some of the shorter queues of the day, but the lines move so fast, you can use a lot of tickets rather quickly. I had no idea what I was going to say to Kamata, so I basically introduced myself. When I got to Chikako, I reminded her of a fun experience I had with her when she was in the booth next to Mikitty a couple years ago, and she seemed to remember it. Finally, Kaotan asked me if I enjoyed the live, and how many times I would be seeing her today. LOL Kaotan, such a detective. I told her I would see her again a little later.

Inoue Ruka, Tani Marika, Goto Rara (Lane 11) I actually went to this lane before Kaotan, but then realized it wasn’t opening until 1:30. By the time I came back it had swelled to three times the size. But I actually had a while until my planned next ticket. Eventually I made it to the front. Wow, Ruka-chan, nice English!!! I expected to hear English in this booth, but not necessarily from her. She spoke quite fluently, and without much accent. It actually reminded me of my first ever encounter with Akiyoshi, which went much the same way. I told Tani that I loved her W-center, and it was the best part of the show. Finally, Rara started speaking to me in Japanese, but then switched to English midway through, LOL. I responded to her in Japanese though.

I took a break, since the lanes I planned to visit next weren’t opening for 30-45 minutes. In addition to the handshake lanes, they had the badminton setup where you could play against members. They also had a poster booth, a perfume booth, and a “costume try-on” booth (ladies only) There also seemed to be some kind of member stage, but I wasn’t interested in any of that stuff. I did go to the goods booth to pick up a Tani ticket holder, since she has been bitching at me for months to buy Tani gear to wear at the events. To my surprise, Mizuno Airi was working the goods booth. They had a special line if you wanted her to serve you. Frankly I wasn’t too interested in meeting her, and I wasn’t going to buy her goods, so I went for the shorter queue. She is cute up close, though. It finally approached 3pm, and I was pretty sure what lanes I would be visiting for the rest of the day…

Sugawara Maya, Nakamoto Izumi, Matsumura Kaori (Lane 6) Back to visit Kaotan, but with a different supporting cast of characters. Tani caught me in this lane as she was passing to go backstage, and gave me a nice wave. Meanwhile, I could see Kaotan and her crew entering since they were on camera. Kaotan was wearing pink Crocs (Tani was too!) Sugawara started introducing herself, but I explained to her that I was friends with …-san, who she knows. “Wow, really?” For Izumi, I had nothing, so I basically introduced myself. And then I asked Kaotan about her shoes. She told me not to tell anyone, but then I asked if they were comfortable. She laughed and said yes as I was pushed out.

3rd Generation Draft Members (Lane 12) I was really impressed with them during the live, so I made a point to save a ticket to meet them. During the live, I had earmarked Hirata Shiina as possibly my favorite, with Nishi Marina a close second. But I also thought Otani Yuuki was really cute. I actually lined up very early for this lane, and it was a good thing, since by the time the lane opened the queue had almost swelled to “Jurina-level.” Not a complete surprise, since it seemed like most everyone has been charmed by the new draftees. Since I had never met any of them before, and they are so new, I spent my time in the queue memorizing their names. It’s nice that they all have a different look, which made it easy. So as I stood in front of all of them, I made a point of saying their names. (Although they were ultimately wearing badges, so my memorizing was kind of pointless) Anyway, saying their names got a lot of good reactions.Kouzuma Honoka was first, and I stumbled on her name, but I knew Otani, who was very genki and cute. Perhaps the best reaction I got though was from Nakano Airi. For some reason they kinda forgot about me for a few seconds, which gave me a bit of time to talk to her. I told her that I enjoyed watching them all perform, and she said my Japanese was very good. Finally I got good reactions from Nishi and Hirata, especially when I told Hirata that she was my favorite new member.

Obata Yuna, Tani Marika, Nomura Miyo (Lane 11) Again Tani had a very big line, although I’m sure sharing a lane with Obata had a lot to do with it. I had removed my Kaotan ticket holder, and replaced it with Tani. I was ready! Obata was first, and I pretty much said the same thing I told her the first time I met her, that I adore her smile. Actually, I do have a lot more I would like to say to her, but it would take a normal handshake ticket to convey it. Perhaps that’s something I will plan for the future. I held up my ticket holder, “I bought it!!!” Tani had already noticed it, and was gesturing toward my chest as I said it, then she raised her hand and gave me a high-five. I had nothing for Miyo, so she just said thank you for coming, basic stuff.

I had one last ticket. I was pretty sure I knew who I was going to use it on, but then I noticed another lane that looked interesting. Lane 8 had Sato Kaho, Furuhata Nao, and Fukushi Nao. I really want to meet Kaho, and have a ticket for her next month. There was also Dasu’s lane, but she had just gone on an extended dinner break. Ultimately I went with the original plan…

Hidaka Yuzuki, Nojima Kano, Aoki Shiori (Lane 4) I always try to meet Yuzuki at the Zenkoku events. Plus, I like Aoki, and I don’t remember ever meeting Nojima before. So it was decided. It was a very short queue, and the three of them were on the big screens as they entered into the handshake area. Yuzuki was making faces at the camera. But we had to wait for Shiori who was late coming out. Yuzuki gave me a big osashiburi!!! I asked her how she was, and told her I enjoyed watching her onstage. I basically introduced myself to Nojima, and said osashiburi to “Shiori-chan” For some reason “Shiori-chan” got a laugh out of her. She then pointed to my ticket holder and asked if I oshi’d Tani. I didn’t have any time to explain it, so I just said yes. [hehe]

And that was it, I made a beeline back to Shin-Yokohama Station and headed back to Tokyo. SKE will be doing an entire weekend of handshake events in Saitama next month. I am going to the Saturday event only, since that Sunday I have the HKT Shamekai event, AND a Wasamin cheki event. So that’s going to be a busy weekend.

CK in Tokyo

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Events Stumbling Across a Mizumori Kaori Live Event (2018/03/11)


A cute little story, peripherally related to Wasamin….

On Sunday my plan was to head to Asakusa and Higashi-Jujo to finally pick up my last two preorders of Wasamin’s new single. I got sidetracked, since I was passing through Ueno. I decided to take a walk through Ueno Park to check out how the Sakura were blooming, and to see if the food stalls were open yet. Most of the trees were bare, but some of the food stalls were open.

SCORE! So for lunch I had grilled beef kalbi, grilled squid, and a small okonomiyaki. After that I continued to Asakusa…

When I got to Yoro-do, the music shop Wasamin often performs in, I noticed a small crowd hanging out outside. I checked the sign. Mizumori Kaori, Wasamin’s senpai, was appearing. Well, since I was in the neighborhood anyway, I decided to buy a CD for the event. However, the shopkeeper informed me I could get a 2-shot if I preordered two copies. What the heck, I’ll go for it.

I had reservation #71, which meant I would surely be standing in the back. And to be honest, most of her fans or of the geriatric set, so I would feel kinda bad taking a seat anyway. By the way, Yoro-do has completely redecorated their performance venue. It looks really nice, and I LOVE the vintage movie posters framed on the walls!

It was a fun little event. It wasn’t very long, and she only sang one song (the new single) And of course, being the one foreigner in the audience, Kaori-chan made a big deal out of my presence. Since there was a very big crowd, they decided to shorten the live, and get to the 2-shots.

I was in the back of the venue, so I was one of the last people to go. She greeted me, and I reminded her of the interaction we had at NHK Hall last month. She immediately lit up. She remembered what I was wearing, where I was sitting, and then she told me afterwards when she went backstage she mentioned to Wasamin that she met her foreign fan, LOL.

Come to think of it, I think Wasamin was trying to tell me that at one of her release events, and I didn’t understand what she was saying. LOL.

Anyway, when I told her I lived in Itabashi, she asked if I was coming to the Nagara Pro show in my neighborhood. When I said yes, she said she would see me there! LOL. I have mentioned before that Mizumori-san (I remembered to call her that) is like a big kid during lives, and she is no different in person. After that I left to go to Higashi-Jujo…

I just happened to snap a pic of Hayabusa’s signboard at Yoro-do

When I arrived a Higashi-Jujo to finally pick up my last Wasa-package, they were also holding a live event. LOL, it was Hayabusa! I was running into NagaraPro acts all over town. It was their last of three events that day. The shop owner asked if I wanted to go into the event, but it was already half-over, I didn’t feel like purchasing any more CDs that day, and of course, I am more into the female performers. Although if it had not started yet, or was just beginning, I probably would have gone in.

Anyway, quite an interesting Sunday. And to make sure this involves Wasamin properly, here’s a picture of her autographed signboard at Yoro-do…

CK in Tokyo

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Iwasa Misaki Wasamin’s Mini-Live in Ebina, plus a funny little story (2018/03/10)


So this is essentially a report about Wasamin’s Event in Kanagawa Prefecture today.  But first, last month I wrote a post about Wasamin’s pre-concert party, where I mentioned giving her a birthday gift…

“After that it was time for our promised 2-shots. This would also be my chance to give Wasamin her birthday present. I asked Ichikawa-san, her manager if it was okay to give her a gift today, and she said no problem. I always have trouble deciding what I want to give her. I settled on a gift box of soaps and bath salts from Lush Cosmetics.”


And the other day Wasamin tweeted this…


Wasamin tweeting about using bubble bath and bath salts she received as a gift. Could it be???

In all honesty, bath salts are a popular gift, and LUSH is a popular place to buy gifts since they create very nice gift boxes.. That said, I’d like to believe that is my present she is using. I know she likes LUSH products since she has mentioned it in the past. I’m debating about asking her.

It’s funny though. A few years ago I gave her this big brown scarf/shawl as a gift. And I have occasionally seen her post photos with her wearing something very similar. I have always wondered if it was the scarf I gave her.

Anyway, on with the performance….

Iwasa Misaki ‘Sado no Ondeko” Mini Live & Handshake/2-Shot Event @ Lalaport Ebina (2017/03/10)


One week after the big push for the new single, Wasamin was back at it with an event out in Kanagawa Prefecture, not too far from Atsugi Airbase. In fact, going to Ebina brings back memories, since this is also the town where Wasamin had her Christmas Eve Dinner Show back in 2016. Such an awesome memory.

I debated whether I wanted to trek all the way out to this event. But I really have nothing else to do this weekend, so I decided to go for it. I got to Ebina 90 minutes early, with the idea that I would enjoy a nice lunch before the event. However, I often run into this problem any time I go to a huge mall in a relatively small town. It seems like the entire city population heads to the mall on the weekend, which makes the mall insanely crowded. Moreover, it is nearly impossible to get a table anywhere. In the restaurants, in the food court, it is insane. I took a number at the Kaitenzushi, and after waiting 40 minutes I gave up. I ultimately had a Subway Sub for lunch, and even that restaurant was packed!

The event was actually being held inside the small music shop in the mall, Vanda Records. I had never heard of this chain before. They seem to have a lot of shops in Hokkaido. They had a stage setup just inside the entrance, with a few chairs and a small standing area. However, a lot of people watched the event from outside the shop, since like most mall shops it had an open front. I was in the standing section for both events, sporting my Wasa-Happi. Here are the setlists…

1pm Setlist
1. Saba Kaido
2. Blue Light Yokohama
3. Kukou
4. Sado no Ondeko

3pm Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Akai Sweet Pea
3. Yume Shibai
4. Sado no Ondeko

Wow, I don’t remember the last time we heard Wasamin perform Akai Sweet Pea. According to Wasamin, it was by request of her manager. Also, it seems as if Wasamin likes to perform Blue Light Yokohama whenever she’s in Kanagawa Prefecture, for obvious reasons. She was once again wearing her new Blue Happi Coat, which she has pretty much worn consistently throughout the 7th single campaign. She also spent some time promoting that television show she did with Mizumori Kaori, which I guess will be broadcast relatively soon.

They were still offering the 2-shot if you used two tickets. I had a total of three for the two events, so I decided to do the 2-shot early…

They gave me a little extra time to talk with Wasamin, so I discussed her SHOWROOM from the previous evening. Actually, I only watched half of it, but I saw when she did a drawing of an Oni. I told her my favorite was the Oni’s surf shorts, and I called him “Surfing Oni,” which got a laugh.

In-between performances I hung out in the Tully’s, one of the few places you could find a seat. I also did a little shopping. And since White Day is coming up, I decided to pick something up for Wasamin. I found this cute little set of gourmet cakes, which looked good. I also bought a smaller set for myself, and they are very tasty. Anyway, I was excited to have a gift for Wasamin…

It was odd, when the 2nd handshake event started, nobody seemed to want to line up. So after two people, the line was completely empty. Heck, I’ll go! So I went up with my present, and wished Wasamin a happy “White Day” I asked her if this was the correct custom, and she asked “Do they have White Day in California?” To which I replied “No, just Valentine’s Day.” So she asked me what you give on Valentines, and I said flowers or Chocolate. But I pointed out that my gift was cake. I’m sure she will enjoy it. I liked mine.

So it was nice to spend a Saturday afternoon with Wasamin. She has another event next Saturday as well in Saitama. I’m debating whether or not I want to go. It’s actually not far from my apartment, train-wise. But it is one of those malls that isn’t close to the train station, so you have to find a bus or taxi to ultimately get there. So we’ll see.

CK in Tokyo


Iwasa Misaki, New Release Iwasa Misaki 7th Single ‘Sado no Ondeko’ Release Week FINAL @ Ito-Yokado Higashi-Yamatoshi, West Tokyo (2018/03/04)


Yeah, I knew this would end up being a crazy day. For Wasamin’s release week, she performed in a few ‘off the beaten path’ areas on the outskirts of the Kanto District. The final event was no exception, out in the burbs of Western Tokyo. For me it was about an hour ride, and then about a 15-minute walk to the mall. I got there relatively early, but the place was already bustling.

Wasafans have made a tradition of doing one last big push on the final day. There were two performances, each followed by a handshake/2-shot event. The last event went for over three hours. There were a few fans with over a hundred tickets. Personally, I considered leaving since I did have work to do, and I was really tired, but I held on to the end. Here is the early setlist…

1:00 Setlist
1. Saba Kaido
2. Ihoujin
3. Kukou
4. Sado no Ondeko

Wasamin was again wearing her new, personally designed Kimono, which you can see in the two shamekai. BTW, I was sporting my newly signed Wasa-Happi coat, as well as an Oni mask I picked up in Asakusa last week. I managed to get quite a few laughs from the fans AND the passing locals. I purchased five copies, leaving the option to purchase more later if I wanted to. If I wanted to do a shamekai, it would cost two tickets. A handshake was one ticket, and they were doing the special prize giveaway. For my first handshake, I chose the shamekai…

I’m actually not the first person to bring an Oni mask to the event. I couple fans brought them during the preorder events. But since I brought it, I figured I had to use it in the photo, right? Wasamin asked me where I got it, and when I bought it. I explained to her that I picked it up when I went to get my CDs from Yoro-do.

After my handshake, I drew two tickets. They were both losers. However, if you had 10 losing draws, you could get a Wasamin pin. I had eight so far, and I had three handshake tickets left. If I got two losing tickets out of those, I would get a pin. However, I was saving my three tickets for the late event. In the meantime, I grabbed some Tempura and cold Udon for lunch.

3:30 Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka ver.)
3. Yume Shibai
4. Sado no Ondeko

I was able to nab a front and enter seat for the late performance, so I had a nice view. Sasou-san was taking photos of the audience, so I kept my Oni mask on for much of the performance. However, I didn’t want to make Wasamin laugh. She smiled at me a few times.

I waited a little bit to queue up in the handshake line. For this 2-shot, I decided we could hold up my Happi coat. Most fans who get their coats signed do a ‘signed Happi’ shamekai, and some do it the way I do it. Others do it with their back to the camera.

After the photo, I asked Wasamin if she noticed my hair. She was like “What, huh??” In the meantime, Wasamin’s manager is totally acknowledging my haircut. I finally pointed to my head, and said “Kami???” “Doko???” She burst out laughing at that. I can’t believe she didn’t notice that I buzzed most of my hair off, LOL. And of course I got to draw two more tickets. Hey Hey!!! A winner…

I got the autographed poster, which I was extremely happy about. The only other prize that I would really want aside from the two I had won this week was the signed CD. I had one ticket left. I had decided that if I didn’t win a prize, it would be my last ticket. If I did win a prize, I would purchase another CD. Eventually I queued up. I decided to talk to Wasamin about the DVD portion of the single, which I had watched over the weekend.

BTW, the ‘making of’ video is very nice. It starts with her ferry ride to the island, followed by a pre-recording dinner. Wasamin looked adorable, and was scarfing down food. She also visited some sort of aquarium. It was very low-key, with various fish in tanks. Wasamin has fun scaring the squid into squirting ink. Anyway, if you pick up the Limited Version, it is worth the watch!

I told Wasamin that I enjoyed it, and I would love to eat at that restaurant. I lost the last draw, which meant I had enough to get one of the Wasamin pins. The one I draw isn’t a photo of her, but a drawing she did of an elephant, LOL. Since I got my pin, I decided that was enough for today. What I didn’t know was that the handshake event would go on for another two hours or so. I contemplated getting more tickets, but ultimately just ended up watching people circle the queue. And it was a good thing that I stayed, since one of the fans reminded me that the deadline to send in the postcards for the single prizes is Tuesday. I thought it was mid-month. So I spent most of this evening filling out postcards so I can get them in the post box by tomorrow. The Grand Prize is a BBQ Party, 2nd Prize is the Karaoke Party, and the 3rd Prize is a personalized and signed poster. I already have a signed poster, and last year’s BBQ Party was awesome. So I put most of my tickets in for that, and a few for the Karaoke party, just in case.

And that was it. A group of us headed to Saizeriya for a post-show dinner, before heading back to Central Tokyo. The next event is next weekend in Kanagawa Prefecture, and then the following weekend in Saitama. Hopefully Wasamin will get a little break in the next two weeks.

Oh, and Sado no Ondeko has been hovering around the 10th Spot on Oricon for the entire week, so I am guessing we will see a Top 10 finish for the week. What I am really interested in is how the single fared compared to her previous releases.

CK in Tokyo


AKB48, Events AKB48-Group 11-Gatsu no Anklet Individual Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2018/03/03)


It seemed like it had been a while since I had been to a 48-group related handshake event. Since the first weekend of 2018 I had only been to one, and that was kind of a blur since I basically showed up at the end of the night and oshi-mashi’d all of my tickets. So it was nice to spend a proper afternoon meeting with members.

I had eight tickets in total, spread out between Slots 4 and 7, pretty much all for my regular girls. That meant I could cruise into Makuhari in the early afternoon. I actually tried to get there early and have a leisurely lunch before the event, but there was a delay on the Yurakucho Line that caused me to miss my transfer, and get in a lot later than I had planned. I still managed to shovel in a quick lunch before heading to the halls. I didn’t need my tickets stamped, so once I got through security I went to queue up for my first ticket.

And a reminder, the prizes were in play. The usual 1-shot videos, 2-shot selfies, signed photos, and the trump game. BTW, here’s what the back side of the trump game prizes looked like. The other side is the member photo, and signing spot, which you will see below.

They gave you a plastic slip to put these in, but I couldn’t figure out how they fit, until I realized you are supposed to fold them, LOL!

Slot 4 

Tani Marika (Lane 96) Marika’s queue wasn’t very long. However, she wasn’t in her booth yet, and Slot 4 had already started. I didn’t win the signed photo, drats! In the meantime I had a good view into both Goto Rara and Tsuzuki Rika’s lanes. Eventually Tani came out, but she was taking a long time signing the photos for people who won the prize. When it came my turn I congratulated her on her 400th theater show. Tani did her usual “Yeah, let me hear it” pose. However, I mentioned that I have never seen her perform in a theater show, and I really want to win one day. She was like “Yeah, you gotta come see me!” LOL.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 18) <1st ticket> As expected, Zunchan’s queue was really long, and that was just to get to check in. The inner queue was at capacity. Interestingly, she was in the lane right next to Okada Nana, and during Slot 4 actually had a longer queue than Naachan. I didn’t win the prize for either ticket, which were 1) 2-shot/1-shot and 2) signed photo. I have actually gotten to know a couple of Zunchan’s big fans, so I had people to chat with during the wait. There were also other Wasafans in her queue, as well as the queue to my right, so we were talking as well. Per usual, Zunchan’s lane was filled with all the signs and decor. Jeez, I wish I could take a pic, it is all so cute. I already planned what I wanted to say to her for the first ticket, so I didn’t pay too much attention to the signs. I essentially told her that I had gotten cancel machi last weekend, but didn’t make it into the show, so I was sorry I didn’t get to see her.

Slot 5

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 95) <1st ticket> I got to her lane just before it opened, and only one person walked in. So I ended up second in line. Finally I had won a prize, the 2-shot/1-shot. I know I’m a glutton for punishment, but I decided to go for the selfie, despite the fact I am horrible at taking them. Kaotan had a really cute skirt on, which unfortunately wasn’t going to show up in the pic. I mentioned my lack of photo-taking skills to Kaotan, so she helped me steady the camera, and voila! I had a nice selfie!

Afterwords she asked how I was, and I told her that I was a little worried. She asked why, and I blurted out “Don’t graduate!!!” She started laughing, “That was just a joke” I knew that, and told her that I saw it being talked about online. Anyway, we had a good laugh.

It was somewhere around this time that they showed the HKT, NGT, STU, and whatever that other PV was. (They must have shown SKE and NMB’s before I arrived) To be honest, none of them got me too excited, although STU’s seemed quite nice. I was really only paying half attention to them though…

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 18) <2nd ticket> After heading off to another lane, I came back to find Zunchan’s queue only slightly smaller than before. I compared it again to Naachan’s lane, and this time Naachan’s was somewhat bigger. But I point this out to show that Zunchan’s popularity has reached the level of the big members of AKB, and that management should take a look at her potential for being a significant part of the group’s future. Anyway, I couldn’t think of much more to say to her, but I did notice the big sign behind her. It was something about “Hina Matsuri” and eating Chirashi “something of other” The rest was about looking forward to eating it. So I asked Zunchan what it meant, It was Chirashizushi. Okay, I should know that! She asked me if I had eaten it, which I had. So I told her I have eaten it, and liked it.

Slot 6

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 95) <2nd ticket> Again I got there before the slot started, but this time four people jumped in, so I was fifth in the queue. This was important since I had three tickets for Slot 6, and I was trying to fit all the tickets in. Then Kaotan was like ten minutes late to the lane. I passed the time watching Kitagawa Ryoha in the neighboring lane. Eventually it was my turn, and I got to play the Trump card game with Kaotan. It worked somewhat differently than before, and I didn’t really understand it. I just picked a card, and she said I won. GREAT! So I got a signed photo.

While she was signing it, I mentioned that the Trump card game is okay, but Trump the President sucks. She was like “Huh?” I was really surprised that she didn’t get it. After explaining it a couple of times, it finally clicked for her who I was talking about. “Oh yeah, people don’t like him, ne?” After she finished signing, she asked when she would see me again, and I said the SKE handshake event (forgetting the AKB shamekai is a week earlier) Oh well, by then she will have forgotten what I said.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 76) I was actually heading to Akiyoshi’s lane, when I saw that Maichan’s queue was virtually empty. Really? At the January event her lane was ridiculously long. In fact, I ended up skipping her ticket as a result. In any case, I figured I would take advantage, and I won the prize, which was the 1-shot video. Per usual, Maichan looked adorable. Amazing looking one-piece dress, and the twin tails, WOW! Made me very thankful I won the video…

It had been a long time since I had talked to her, and she pointed that out. Probably because she saw me at the last couple events where I didn’t go to her. Anyway, I told her I loved the outfit, and that I hope to see her during HKT’s Spring Tour. She kinda spun around and did a quick modeling for me. She really knows how to melt a guys heart!

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 71) <1st ticket> Yuka-chan had a decent sized queue, and I was in line right behind the old guy who always tried to be first in her queue. This was later in the slot, while he was looping the queue. He and I were talking about Yuka-chan’s trip to Singapore, and how she tried speaking English and Chinese. According to him, she had limited success. So we decided I would give her an English lesson. While I waited I was watching Yamashita Emiri in the next queue, who was wearing a somewhat revealing black top. Finally it was my turn. This was another Trump game, and according to Yuka, I won, GREAT! While she was signing I said to her in English; “Did you Enjoy Singapore?” and then “What was your favorite thing in Singapore?” This time she admitted that she didn’t understand the 2nd question, so I repeated it in Japanese. She said that the Singaporean Chicken and Rice was OISHII!!!

I had to wait an hour before I could use my last Akiyoshi ticket. In the meantime I went out to the food garden, and they have gotten a bunch of new food trucks, including this one!

Skewers!!! Pork, beef, chicken, shellfish, tons of great stuff! So much better than when our choices were pretty much ramen or gyudon. I had a Pork Kalbi and a Sazae skewer while I waited for Slot 7 to begin…

Slot 7

Akiyoshi Yuka (lane 71) <2nd ticket> I pre-queued fairly early, and ended up being 2nd in line, and I won the prize! Again I was tasked with the choice of the 2-shot selfie, or 1-shot video. Since the last selfie I attempted to take with her came out badly, I decided to try and redeem myself. I told her about the last one coming out poorly, so she told me to take my time and make sure the shot looked good.

Well…at least it isn’t blurry. The guard was pretty much pushing me out from the moment I finished taking the pic, but I confirmed with her that she was not going to be performing with HKT at Sendai. She said she would only be at Saitama. I told her I would see her at the upcoming 2-shot events, and was off…

For those keeping score, I was 5 for 8 on the prizes, which is damn good! I got skunked on Zunchan though which was a bummer, and didn’t get any autographed pics. But hey, I was 4 for 4 with my 2-top, Akiyoshi and Kaotan. Yay!

Before leaving Makuhari, I stopped at the 7-11 by the station and picked up my ticket for Horipro Matsuri, which is in a couple weeks. The show is at Zepp Diver City, which is mainly standing room only. I got a great queue number too, so hopefully I will be very close to the stage.


I am not attending next week’s handshake event, which means that aside from the aforementioned concert, my next 48-group related events won’t be until April, where I will be attending AKB and HKT’s album shamekai events, plus SKE’s single event. So things to look forward to. And tomorrow is the last day of Wasamin’s 7th single release week promotion. It should be a crazy day!

CK in Tokyo

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Concerts, Minyo Girls Minyo Girls: “Mingaru Dream Paradise” One-Man Live at Asakusa Gold Sounds (2018/02/25)



This has become somewhat of a “home base” for the Minyo Girls, as they have been doing a monthly solo live at this club for a little while now. It’s nice, since they do advance ticket sales for a discount at their other events, and it’s relatively inexpensive considering you are getting a full show, usually with the full group. Although unfortunately Yutori, who is a big part of the personality of this group, was out because of school commitments.


Photo gift, pretty much a solo live tradition for this group

The more material Minyo Girls do, the better they are sounding. Needless to say, I have really been getting into them lately. Plus, their lives are a lot of fun!

I arrived at the station around 15 minutes before doors opened. I was surprised that they were doing crowd control at the station, although it wasn’t very crowded at the time. It turned out that this venue was right in the heart of the Tokyo Marathon. Luckily, everyone was already watching the race, and Asakusa Gold Sounds was off on a side street, so I had no trouble getting to the show…

The venue is pretty much standing room only, with the exception for a side seating area for family and kids, plus another section reserved for the members’ parents. We were led in by our ticket number. I had #35, but I was able to get a standing spot on the right side, one back from the stage. (It’s a very small venue) After reserving a spot, I headed to the goods table, and bought the two items I still don’t have, the hoodie and the “new” oshi towel. (I have the original oshi towel) This afforded me three handshake tickets to use later, and I spent a lot of time lamenting how I would use these tickets…



As I went back into the venue, I was again greeted by Yuua-chan’s mom. Miyabi’s mom also gave me a little wave. Yuua-chan’s mom came up to me after the show as well to thank me for coming, which was really nice.


The theme of the performance was “casual.” This I knew. The members would be wearing their normal clothes, plus their official hoodie. What I didn’t know was that the show had another theme; cover songs. I had mixed feelings about this, since I am really joying their new songs and wanted to hear them perform. On the other hand, the songs they did perform were also interesting. I didn’t know all of them, but among the songs I did know…

Momen no Handkerchief
Sochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu
Valentine Kiss

What do these songs have in common? They are all songs Wasamin has performed. In fact, two of them she has recorded! I couldn’t wait to tell Wasamin about this. (In fact, I did yesterday, as told on the previous post) A lot of the songs they performed were also fast paced. In fact, their version of Momen no Handkerchief had a real “metal” feel to it. Adding to that was Miki on the shamisen, who seemed at times as if she was channeling Eddie Van Halen.


Although the theme was cover songs, it wasn’t ALL covers. They did perform Ureshii Namida in the encore, which is kind of their staple “end of the show” song since it gets everyone to wave their oshi towels. They also performed a brand new song called “EMOTION,” which you can see below on this official video…

Plenty of shots of the back of my head, LOL.


What really made this show special were the big announcements at the end of the show. The VTR began with a message from Yutori, who was the one member not in attendance. This was followed by a few surprises. First…


Minyo Girls will be continuing their monthly performances at Asakusa Gold Sounds. Okay, cool. And then…




Rina-chan will become a full-fledged member of the group! Okay, good for her. I like Rina-chan, except that she still seems like she is “getting her proverbial feet wet” in this group. She doesn’t seem entirely comfortable yet, although they did give her plenty of solo lines, and she actually centered one of the cover songs. She is still relatively new, so we’ll give her more time to mesh with the other members. Although her senpai were really excited about her promotion. And that’s not all…



Minyo Girls will be releasing their first major single. Not only that, it will be the ending theme to an Anime. Wow, this was unexpected. Half the girls lost it on stage. All crying, LOL. A couple of them were still whimpering a bit during the last song. Then it was time for chekis and stuff…


As I said, I had three tickets. I had decided to do 2-shot chekis with Miyabi and Yuua. However, I wasn’t sure what to do with the third ticket. If Yutori was there, I would have used it on her for sure. I also considered using it on Miki, or even Kako or the new member. But when I got to the front of the queue, Miyabi was staring at me, so it was decided; two Miyabi chekis.


Miyabi chekis

Now the way they do this is kind of unique, and if I had known the procedure beforehand I would have picked a third member to take a cheki with. After all the group shots and chekis are done, everybody re-queues, and you essentially get a handshake/autograph session with everyone you did a cheki with. Since I had two Miyabi, I ended up losing the opportunity to do a handshake with another member. So I was slightly bummed about that. On the other hand, I have always said that if I picked a third member, it would be Yutori.  But alas, she wasn’t there.

Yuua went for the seifuku cosplay. She’s learning…

It’s so cute how both Yuua and Miyabi both know me with different names. To Miyabi, I am ‘CK-san.” and to Yuua, I am “Kurisu-san.” LOL. I talked to both of them about how they were singing the same songs Wasamin performs. Interestingly, neither of them seemed to be aware of that. I also talked to both of them about meeting their parents in Yokohama. Miyabi seemed somewhat surprised, however Yuua knew all about it. She got all excited when I mentioned it, especially when I said that her mom’s English is very good. Finally with Miyabi, I told her that I enjoyed her birthday SHOWROOM.




So I think I will make this a monthly thing, since I do enjoy Minyo Girls’ solo lives. It is interesting that this venue, Asakusa Gold Sounds is somehow becoming their home base. I have noticed this lately with a lot of the groups I like. They do play at different venues, but ultimately they have a “go-to” venue that they regularly play at.  FESTIVE has Twin Box AkihabaraTokyo CLEARS has Akihabara ZestKissBee has Diver City & Venus Fort, even Himeri, when she was in NoPlan had Yoyogi Muse. Interesting…

After I had all of my stuff signed, I headed out. The Marathon had long passed by, so the streets had become somewhat deserted. The show was a lot of fun, and I already have a pre-order ticket for their March solo-live, so I am looking forward to that. Not sure if I will be seeing them between now and then. We’ll see.

CK in Tokyo

Events, Iwasa Misaki, New Release Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Sado no Ondeko Release Week Festivities (2018/02/24-2018/03/04)


I remember during Wasamin’s early singles, I would make it a point to attend every single release week event. Of course this was back when I was merely visiting Japan, and had a railpass that enabled me to travel far distances more easily. My how things have changed…

Wasamin’s final big push for her new single started last weekend, with events at DynaCity Odawara, and at Aeontown Kamisato, which is in Northern Saitama Prefecture, almost to Gunma Prefecture. I had already planned and bought a ticket for a concert on Sunday, so that was out. And then I won cancel machi for AKB48 on Saturday. It was a tough decision, since I make it a personal rule to never skip out on any AKB48 Theater win, even a cancel machi. As a result, I ended up not seeing Wasamin the entire weekend. Then on Monday, I missed her furage event at Shibuya Tsutaya since I had two mid-term exams to study for. Those exams also caused me to miss her Tuesday matinee event in Asakusa. It wasn’t until Tuesday night that I would finally be able to attend a release event. But first…

(BTW, this stack has doubled in size since I took this pic)

Wasamin has been doing preorder events around Tokyo for pretty much the last two months. When I attend the events, I usually choose the ‘pick up’ option, instead of paying for shipping at each venue. Since I had five hours to kill before Wasamin’s release event at Osaki Gate City, I decided to use the afternoon for a whirlwind trip around Tokyo picking up various preorders. And what a trip it was. Here was the itinerary….

Shirokane-Takanawa Station (starting point)
Tokyo Metro Namboku Line…
JR Yamanote Line
TWTR Rinkai Line (33 minute ride in total)

Tokyo Teleport Station (CD pickup at Diver City)
Yurikamome Line (16 minutes)
Toyosu Station (CD Pickup at Lalaport Toyosu)
Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line (25 minutes)
Ikebukuro Station (CD Pickup at 2 locations, on opposite sides of Ikebukuro)
JR Yamanote Line
JR Sobu Line (14 minute ride in total)

Nakano Station (CD Pickup at Nakano Broadway)
JR Chuo Line (4 minutes)
Shinjuku Station (CD pickup at Tower Shinjuku)
JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line (12 minutes)
Osaki Station (Wasamin Release event, and CD pickup)
JR Saikyo Line
Toei Mita Line (28 minute ride in total)


Over 2 hours of train time, on ten different lines!  That doesn’t include the walk time.  I was able to hit all but two of the shops that I has preorder pickups, and ultimately had around 16 CDs stuffed into my bag. (along with my school books) I made it to Wasamin’s event with around 30 minutes to spare…

Release Day Press Event at Osaki Gate City (2018/02/27)

This area is a relatively new development, built onto the South End of Osaki Station. It is a beautiful office complex/restaurant and shopping complex. Anyway, as I came down the escalator I saw the rows of cameras positioned opposite the stage, as well as the huge stage backdrop promoting Wasamin’s single. This is a bustling mall, with lots of restaurants positioned all around the atrium, so the event promised to draw plenty of onlookers who would be passing by. I immediately went to the CD booth and purchased three copies of the new single, and grabbed a seat in the third row. In the meantime, Nishiyori Higashi, NagaraPro’s emcee, was warming up the crowd. He asked us not to use lightsticks, and then tested our cheering to see how loud we would echo in the venue. Ultimately it was decided that calls and cheers were okay.

Nishiyori Higashi

Then Higashi-san turned to me and asked where I was from, which I thought was slightly odd since by now I have seen him enough for him to know I probably live in Tokyo. After I told him I was an American, a few minutes later he turned back to me and acknowledged that he was pretty sure I lived in Japan, and asked where. When I said Tokyo, he was like “Yeah, there are like 23 wards in Tokyo, which one?” When I said Itabashi, he was amused that someone would come from America to live in Itabashi, LOL. After all that, it was finally time for the event. Here is the setlist…

Setlist 18:00
1. Saba Kaido
2. Yume Shibai
3. Toshishita no Otokonoko
4. Sado no Ondeko

Also, her matinee setlist, which I didn’t attend…

Setlist 13:00
1. Hatsuzake
2. Shitamachi no Taiyo
3. Nora
4. Sado no Ondeko

Wasamin was wearing a new blue Kimono, which was made especially for her. The event itself was extra long since 1) Higashi-san was emceeing, and 2) there was a section reserved for press photography. In fact, the press cameras were moving all over the venue recording and photographing the event. (I looked for footage in YouTube, but haven’t found any yet) It was also announced that her fourth concert DVD/BluRay is in the works, which was expected. It was a lot of fun watching Wasamin interact with the photographers. It reminded me of her old AKB days, and the way she can effortlessly shift from pose to pose. One funny moment, when Wasamin announced that she was going to sing Yume Shibai, they accidentally played Shitamachi no Taiyou. Wasamin looked confused for a second, then started laughing. Ultimately, they turned it into a promotion since both songs are on the new single. After Wasamin disappeared for around 30 minutes for press interviews, she came back out for the handshake/2-shot portion of the event.

Signboard and sticker bonuses

Yes, they were offering a shamekai option for release week. They were also doing a drawing for prizes, where you could win either 1) Your CD signed, 2) Personal item signed, 3) Release poster, or 4) signed 1-shot cheki. I’ll tell you right off the bat that I got skunked on prizes, although my friend and fellow Wasafan Andy-san won. It was his first Wasamin event in almost four years, I was so happy to see him. As for the 2-shot, you simply needed to use two tickets, which was easier than last year, where you had to buy one of each version for the 2-shot. Oh, and while I was waiting in line, Higashi-san was standing off to the side, so I went over to him and told him that I was really surprised to see him sing at NHK Hall last week, and that he was a surprisingly good singer. He laughed, shook my hand, and thanked me. Meanwhile…

Basically, for my two trips to see Wasamin I was telling her about my experience at Enka Matsuri last week, and that I had a prefect seat and got to meet all of the big stars. I also told her how Mizumori-san gave me total kami-taiyo treatment, and was trying to speak English with me. Wasamin was laughing, saying that it is so like her to do that, but she was also laughing at my Japanese. It’s odd, when I mention the other Enka singers, for some strange reason I always forget to add an honorific when saying Mizumori-san’s name. I use them for everyone else (Kiyoshi-san, Toshimi-san), but I always just say “Mizumori.” Anyway, Wasamin thought it was kinda funny.

The 2 1/2 hour event finally ended, and it was late. I needed to go home and do some reading. I had another ‘date’ with Wasamin tomorrow night…

Sado no Ondeko Release Event at Tower Vivre, Yokohama (2018/02/28)

When I left for the day, I almost forgot to grab my Wasamin Happi Coat. I hate stuffing it into an already semi-full bag, but I wanted to have it in the off-chance I won a prize at the event. Anyway, I was off at 4:45, and it is an easy trip down to Yokohama from Azabu, so I arrived in Yokohama two hours early. After spending an hour at 82 Ale House for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, I headed over to Tower records. There were only a couple of people there, so I was able to buy my CDs and get a spot right in front. It was 40 minutes before the show. As they were doing the pre-show instructions and promotions, Wasamin sneaked up onto the stage while we were looking the other way, LOL. Here is the show setlist…

Setlist 19:30
1. Hatsuzake
2. Blue Light Yokohama
3. Shitamachi no Taiyou
4. Sado no Ondeko

And for those keeping score, here is her matinee setlist from her Koiwa event, which I didn’t attend..

Setlist 14:00
1. Saba Kaido
2. Gakusei Jidai
3. Kukou
4. Sado no Ondeko

It isn’t often that I am front and center for Wasamin events, but it is fun to be two feet away from her while she performs. During her performance of Sado no Ondeko, I was trying to mimic some of her hand gestures. There is also a ‘call’ portion during the instrumental part where she does various ‘oni’ poses. She was again wearing her new blue kimono, which I got a nice look at. Wasamin was commenting how she knows many of her fans do work, and can’t make the matinee shows, so she was thankful people came out after work.

Once again, the 2-shot option, as well as the prize option were on the table. I also asked about the stamp card promotion, which ended. I am a card short for getting the bag, but Ichikawa-san said it was okay. They also have another prize where if you have 10 losing draws you can get a Wasamin pin as a consolation prize. Like the previous day, I had three tickets, and planned to do one 2-shot and one handshake…

And whaddya know, I won the signed personal item prize. FINALLY, I was going to have my Happi coat signed!!! But I would have to wait until the end of the event for that. For my first visit I was telling Wasamin about seeing Minyo Girls perform recently, and a few of the songs they sang were also in Wasamin’s catalog. (Momen no Handkerchief, Shochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu, Valentine Kiss) Wasamin was surprised to hear this. I told her that Yuua-chan (from Minyo Girls) was also surprised when I mentioned it to her. Oh, and we sang a few bars of Sochuu Omimai together.  Later, we talked about the hand motions, as she said she was watching me try to to them. I told her that it is because I have idol fan roots, LOL.

(I’m in dire need of a haircut)

And here is my signed Happi! I have leveled up, and am now among those with a signed version. I can’t tell you how happy I am about this!

I even got a special Wasamin ‘neko’ drawing!

Wasamin flew to Fukuoka this morning, and will be doing appearances in Tenjin and Osaka, as well as the last date of the Nagara Pro tour, before coming back for one final event on Sunday in Western Tokyo. I’m sure the Wasafans will be out in full force for this one!

Note: Sado no Ondeko debuted at #2 on the Oricon pop chart (behind Arashi) and dropped to #14 today. Not a bad start at all!

CK in Tokyo


Concerts, Iwasa Misaki A Wasamin Weekend Part Two: The Nagara Group Enka Festival (2018/02/18)


The Nagara Group Enka Festival at NHK Hall, plus a couple of Wasa-News Updates

Today was the Tokyo leg of the Nagara Group Enka Festival. Earlier this week they performed in Nagoya, and two weeks from now they will be in Osaka. I will give a semi-brief experience review. But first, a few news items…

1. Wasamin will again be performing with Umezawa Fumio in a play/performance at the Meijiza Theater in Tokyo.
This is similar to the play she was in last Summer in Osaka. That play starred Umezawa, as well as Wasamin senpai Tegawa Toshimi. This time alongside Umezawa, Wasamin will also be sharing the stage with Enka artist Ken Naoko. The show will take place from 31 August through 25 September, and there will be special offers for Wasamin Fan Club members.

2. Wasamin confirmed today that Akimoto Yasushi composed and produced her 7th single.
I was wondering if Aki-P would be continuing his support of Wasamin’s Enka career. I guess I should have asked her at some point. But she confirmed it in today’s concert during the MC. Emcee Nishiyori Higashi remarked that it’s really nice that Akimoto has continued to support her post-graduation

3. MusicVoice article touts Wasamin’s versatility as a singer.
This is essentially a concert review from her Ebisu show two weeks ago. The writer notes Wasamin’s singing ability, and considers the possibility of Enka reinventing itself for a new generation…or something like that
http://www.musicvoice.jp/news/20180217087323/ (in Japanese)


I will keep this review somewhat brief. NagaraPro’s Enka Festival is a showcase for their top music talent, and stars heavyweights of the genre like Hikawa Kiyoshi, Mizumori Kaori, Tegawa Toshimi, and Yamakawa Yutaka, all of whom have appeared multiple times on NHK’s Kouhaku Uta Gassen. The show also features Wasamin, Hayabusa, Fujino Toshie, and Shiina Sakiko. Wasamin does spend considerable time on the stage, and did get the chance to sing her upcoming single, but the NagaraPro “Big Four” are definitely the stars of the show. On the other hand, it is really neat seeing Misaki-chan standing shoulder to shoulder with such big and important recording artists.

Before the Show

I originally debated whether I wanted to go at all. The tickets were quite expensive. 10,000 Yen for a seat on the floor or 1st balcony. 8,500 Yen for the Third Floor. However, they set up a special booth for tickets at Wasamin’s Love Live back in November, and you got to handpick your seat, so I went for it. I picked the perfect seat too. It was a “double aisle” seat, meaning I had an aisle in front of me and on the left of me. Given that the NagaraPro artists roam the venue during the show, this would be a great chance to see them up close.

Pre-show festivites, including a Wasa-handshake session.

I was running late all day, but got to the venue just as doors opened. The queue to get in was really big, but didn’t take too long. I immediately headed to the goods booths. All of the artists sell CDs, DVDs and other stuff at the shows (In fact, Wasamin’s 4th concert goods were all there) Additionally, both Wasamin and Hayabusa do a pre-show handshake event. I was originally just gonna get one CD, but when I saw they were giving away Sado no Ondeko clear files, I bought a 2nd copy. As for the handshake, I used both tickets at once since they were running late and Wasamin was going to have to leave soon. “Chris-kun!” “Misaki-chan!” The first thing I noticed was that Wasamin was again wearing the green Kimono given to her by Toshimi-senpai. She asked if I liked it. Now she was standing right next to Hikaru from Hayabusa, so I told Wasamin that I was also looking forward to Hayabusa’s “Spider Man” song. (Kumoo no Dansu) Just then Hikaru turned to me and said “Yeah, Spiderman!” I mentioned that I saw him perform it in Saitama. Meanwhile, Wasamin was mildly amused at my interaction with Hayabusa. I turned back to her, leaned in close, clasped her hand in both of mine and told her to do her best.

Part One (in brief) 

The show actually started early, with one of NagaraPro’s new Enka performers on stage. Last year they did the same thing with Minyo Girls. I found my seat, which was a little higher than I expected, but still a great strategic spot. After introducing the performers, Kiyoshi lead off with his infamous Kiyoshi no Zundoko Bushi. The first half of the show mainly focused on the top four’s big hits. The rest of the performers sang in group songs. It was after the intermission that things got more interesting. By the way, I was kinda dozing off in parts of the show, so during the break I drank one of those Vitamin C Boosters AND a large black coffee. Needless to say I didn’t doze off again, LOL.

Part Two (the best part!)

The second part of the show begins with a Nagara Group staple, all the performers roam the audience and shake hands with the fans for like a six song set. It is a lot of fun, and they always sing the Japanese version of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” We were all excited to see who we would get on the second floor, and all the obasans in my section gasped when they saw we had Kiyoshi. We also got Toshimi-san. After 3-4 songs, they all switch floors. Would I get Wasamin in the second part? Nope. Instead we got Mizumori and Hayabusa. Now remember I mentioned I was in the perfect spot for this portion of the show? Here were my experiences…

Hikawa Kiyoshi: It’s The Prince of Enka! Toshimi actually started off closer to me, but Kiyoshi made his way toward my section rather quickly. Oh my God!!! All the women go absolutely batshit for him. They are climbing all over each other to get close to him. He is flanked by like six guards who actually have to pull these women down, fight them off. It’s really funny to watch. They even get out of their seats (which they aren’t supposed to do) At one point I watched a guard jousting with this little old lady who was doing everything she could to run past him and get to Kiyoshi. Anyway, he passed right in front of me and immediately thrust his hand right toward me, so I shook his hand. He quickly glanced at me and smiled before getting mobbed by more obasans, LOL.

Tegawa Toshimi: I really like the sound of her voice! I always think of her as older, but she is actually the same age as Kiyoshi. Anyway, she finally made it to my section, and shook hands with the people on my left. After that she turned around to the people in front of me and passed me by. Oh rats! But then, she turned around and saw me. Her eyes got real wide, she waved and mouthed “hello” to me. Nice save!

Mizumori Kaori: This was the best interaction! I was really hoping she would come to me since I have always wanted to meet her. Mizumori is so cute, she is like a kid. It is astounding that she is almost the same age as me. She came across my section, and like Toshimi-san she shook hands with the people to my right, and then turned around and focused on the rows in front of me. Rats, I got skipped again! Or so I thought. Eventually she turned around and saw the two Wasamin fans sitting across from me. She motioned toward their Wasa-Happi coats and gave them a thumbs up, and out of the corner of her eye she saw me. It was like her jaw hit the floor. She came running straight toward me, grabbed my hand, said Hello, and Thank You! Her smile is so beautiful too. Just awesome!!!

Hayabusa: Unfortunately never came by me during the show. Both Hikaru and Yamato got close, but then the last song ended. That’s okay, since I have met both of them before, and talked to Hikaru before the show. Wasamin and Yamakawa Yutaka didn’t come to the 2nd floor, but I have met Yutaka-san before, and Wasamin, well….

The End 

After a couple of long MCs, all the members got to perform their new and/or upcoming singles. It was great to hear Wasamin belt out Sado no Ondeko on such a big stage. She did a great job! They had a Taiko drummer in the live band, and he actually sounded better than the Taiko on the recorded version of the song. I do like Hayabusa’s new single too. Actually, it seems that pretty much all of them have new releases coming out in the next month or two. Overall it was a really nice show, but I think the real fun happens after the intermission. The part in the audience is pretty much what everyone waits for. I enjoy the Nagara Group shows, but it isn’t the type of concert I could sit through more than once. That said…

Nagara Pro also has a special “Ward Concert” that they do every year, and this year happens to be the Ward I live in. In fact, I could almost walk to the venue, although I will probably jump on the train. That’s coming up in April. And of course the big push for the new single begins next weekend. So a lot of Wasafun coming up.

CK in Tokyo


Events, Iwasa Misaki A Wasamin Weekend Part One: Sado no Ondeko Mini-Live (2018/02/17)


Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Preorder Mini-Live and Handshake Event at Aeon Town Yukarigaoka, Chiba Pref.

After skipping both of Wasamin’s “Non-Performance” preorder events this week in Tokyo, I felt compelled to make the journey to outer Chiba to see Misaki-chan’s two-set mini-live. I had actually been to this mall before. Wasamin did a promotional event for her 2nd album there in late-2016.

I was slightly hungover from the previous night of drinking in Shibuya. But after a couple bottles of Pocari Sweat I was ready for the 90-minute four train journey. I made it to the mall around 30 minutes before the 1st event, preordered some CDs, and grabbed a seat. Here are the setlists from the two shows…

1:30 Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Toshishita no Otokonoko
3. Yume Shibai
4. Sado no Ondeko

4:00 Setlist
1. Saba Kaido
2. Ihoujin
3. Shitamachi no Taiyou
4. Sado no Ondeko

Wasamin told a few interesting stories during her MCs. Apparently when she was younger, (not sure if this was before or after joining AKB) her mother used to take her shopping at that mall for dance clothes. (It isn’t that far from where Wasamin supposedly grew up)  Yes, in addition to singing lessons, Wasamin took dance lessons.

Also, if you have been reading Wasamin’s twitter, she has been talking a lot about the Olympics, particularly the figure skating. She talked about the Olympics in both events. Hanyu and Uno won their gold and silver medals during the break between shows, so she was really excited in the late afternoon.

Finally, it was just announced that Wasamin will be appearing in a special performance from August 31st through September 25th at the Meijiza Theater in Tokyo. I’m not sure if this is a play, or concert, or both. But she will be performing alongside Umezawa Fumio and Ken Naoko. Pretty awesome company!
info is here

I had three handshake tickets. I used one after the first performance, and two in the late afternoon.

Handshake #1: I was third in line. Wasamin immediately greeted me as “Chris-kun.” I was in the middle of saying “Wasamin,” then awkwardly changed to “Misaki-chan” I told her that I had studied about Sado Island in school and knew a bit about it. I also told her that I really want to visit the island and hope there might be a fan club event in the works. Both Wasamin and Ichikawa-san gave me a big thumbs up, which I took to mean that we should be hearing about a Sado Island event in the near future. SCORE!

Handshake #2: This time I greeted her as “Misaki-chan.” I basically reminisced with her about the last time she performed at Yukarigaoka.

Handshake #3: I asked Wasamin if she was excited about tomorrow’s show. She confirmed that I was coming. She also asked if I planned on coming to Meijiza. I told her I read Ichikawa-san’s blog post about it, and that I wanted to come. I also threw in that I looked forward to hearing Hayabusa’s “Spider Man” song tomorrow. LOLZ.

Tomorrow is the NagaroPro Enka Festival at NHK Hall in Tokyo. I will be seeing Wasamin, as well as Hikawa Kiyoshi, Mizumori Kaori, Tagawa Toshimi, Yamakawa Yutaka, and Hayabusa. Should be fun. Better be, considering the price of the ticket.

CK in Tokyo