KissBee, Yuki Himeri Kiss Bee’s New Single, and Himeri’s New Group

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I am beginning to notice a new trend in the idol industry, at least with the groups I follow.   FES☆TIVE just announced on their blog that they will begin promoting an upcoming single next week.  What’s interesting is that they just released a single last week.  Not to mention the single they released this past Summer.  That’s three within a six-month period.  However, they are not the only group in my personal ‘stable’ that is employing this “rapid-fire” single release schedule.  Two weeks ago KissBee began promotion on their new single, this coming about a month after releasing a single, which came right after a single release in the Summer.  In the case of KissBee, this means fans will be enjoying a full schedule of mini-lives leading up to the early December shipping date.  And of course this also means the fans will be repeatedly doing pre-orders for the handshake tickets, and whatnot.

KissBee’s promotion started on the first of October, and according to their website there will be upwards of thirty promotional events over the next 2+ months.  Personally, I have gotten off to a semi-slow start, as tonight I went to just my second event of the promotional period. (They have already done around 10)  This is somewhat by design, as I do try to pace myself with idol events these days.  They are just murder on the wallet.  Not to mention Wasamin just scheduled a slew of new events I need to pay for, and let’s not forget AKB’s 50th single.  So it never ends…

KissBee’s upcoming single is called “& Peach.”  It is a cute song, and has an interesting beat to it.  In fact, so far I really haven’t heard the fans make up any sort of chant to it, as the beat and melody do not lend themselves well to fan participation.  What’s also interesting is that the costumes they are wearing are sort of an amalgamation of the costumes of their last two singles.  The dresses look exactly like a black version of the costumes for “Dokkin Fuwaffuu,” and they are wearing black wigs, ala “Labyrinth”  It’s a cute look, although the dresses look kinda basic.

The two events I went to were both at event spaces I am well familiar with.  Last Thursday they appeared at HMV & Books in Shibuya, which is also a known haunt for Wasamin, FES☆TIVE, and Chaki.  Tonight they were at HMV ALTA in Shinjuku, which is a REALLY cool used vinyl record shop right across the street from Shinjuku Station’s East exit, and one of my good friend Frank’s favorite haunts when he is in town.  I had a nice seat at Shibuya, but I got to Alta a little late, and could only watch from the very back.  The bad vantage point was compounded by the fact that it was a narrow space, and they let the ‘photo otaku’ position themselves right in the middle.  This made it very hard to watch from behind them.  It was kind of annoying.


Oh, and in three singles I am still yet to win an autographed poster.  This was won by another Tanifuji fan.

Of course when I go to watch KissBee, I am mainly there to watch my favorite member, Tanifuji Misaki.  I also like visiting with Maeda Reon, who is one of their newer members.  I hadn’t seen either of them in over a month, so I got nice smiles from both of them when they spotted me.  I should also note that Misaki-chan is in a new Fall drama, which had its first episode last weekend.  I watched the first episode, and was really impressed how much screen time Misaki has in the show.  She isn’t the star, just a supporting character.  But the show has a great cast, with Sho Sakurai from Arashi, Seto Koji, who was “Kamen Rider Kiva,” Morikawa Aoi, who has been in tons of dramas lately, including ‘Prison School’, which is one of my guilty pleasures.  If you get a chance, check out the show!

At Shibuya I did my usual 2-shot cheki with Misaki, and a regular handshake with Reon.  However, Reon has been out sick, and wasn’t at ALTA, so I used all of my tickets on Misaki-chan tonight.  Last week I had told Misaki that I was a big fan of Seto Koji, and that I was looking forward to the show.  She was surprised I was a fan of his.  However today I gave her my thoughts about the show.  I mainly told her I was happy that her part seems to be at least somewhat significant.  Here are the chekis…

I have only seen Reon once since she was out sick today, but she was fairly genki last Thursday, which is interesting since I think that may have been the last event she attended.  Anyway, Reon is a real sweetheart, and she really goes the extra mile with her fans since she is not nearly as popular as the other members…yet.  Here are the two signed photos I received, once from each of them.

and a Reon ‘live shot’ (with Sakura-chan)

Of the 30+ events on their schedule, I will probably go to around 1/3 of them.  We’ll see.  In the meantime I have pretty much an open weekend coming up, and they have a bunch of appearances scheduled.  However, next week I will be busy with an onslaught of Wasamin events due to her concert DVD release, as well as her solo dinner show.

In the meantime…

A couple of months ago I attended Yuki Himeri’s seitensai, which also happened to mark her graduation from the group No Plan.  At the time Himeri had mentioned she had something in the works.  That turned out to be her joining another, fairly well-known idol group called DISDOL.  This was a bit of a surprise since this group’s style is somewhat of a departure from Himeri’s ‘princess’ personality.  But I was happy that she would be staying as an active idol.  A couple of weeks ago I got a message from one of Himeri’s fans asking if I was coming to her DISDOL debut, which would be taking place later that evening at Otsuka Hearts.  I was actually at a Wasamin event at the time, but this club is VERY close to my apartment.  So I decided I would go and support her.

Now before I go into my brief report, I should note that when DISDOL announced their three new members (including Himeri) they also announced that the entire existing group would be graduating.  So it turns out that Himeri is leading the birth of DISDOL Mach-2.  In fact, both original DISDOL and New DISDOL were performing separately at this event.  So I would be getting a good taste of what this group was all about.

DISDOL has more of a hard rock edge to them.  Not that Himeri’s former groups, Alice Juban and No Plan don’t ever do songs like this, they do.  It is just interesting to see Himeri performing in black leather after seeing her almost exclusively performing in white in he previous groups.  (White was her official color in Alice Project)  But she really pulls it off well.  I think part of it has to do with her growing as an idol, and an adult.  After the event I took two chekis with her.

On second thought, she is perfect for this style.  When I first met Himeri 3-4 years ago she was somewhat of a dork.  She has that goofy helium voice, and slight discoordination in her dancing.  It was part of her charm point.  However, as she has gotten older (she is 23 now) Himeri has become quite sexy, and very hawt.  The blondish hair really makes a difference too.  And she is always so much fun to hang out with.

Just another group I need to keep track of.  I believe the original member’s will be officially ‘passing the baton’ to the new DISDOL members this weekend.  So yet another show I must consider seeing…

It never ends,

CK in Tokyo 

AKB48, Events, HKT48, New Release, NMB48, SKE48 AKB48-Group 49th Single #Sukinanda Individual Handshake Event @Makuhari Messe. 2017/10/15

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This was the first Tokyo weekend for AKB48’s 49th single handshake events. Since I usually don’t attend both days of a 2 consecutive day event, I chose Sunday, hoping that if Wasamin held an event this weekend, it would be on Saturday. Luckily I was invited to go on a very cool excursion to Kamakura on Saturday, where I got to spend the evening in a famous Japanese Minka and participate in a traditional tea ceremony. So it all worked out…kinda. Wasamin did end up scheduling an event on Sunday. Oh well, can’t win em’ all. I had a lot of tickets for Sunday, so I wasn’t going to bail on this event. Not to mention, Wasamin’s event was for a concert DVD preorder, so one less copy of the DVD/Blu-Ray I have to buy. LOL.

Today’s event was filled with thrills and unexpected surprises, beginning with first thing this morning. I was lounging around my apartment, waiting to get ready to leave, when I decided to check the AKB48 Blog to see what halls the event was in. And since I was checking the site, I might as well see which lanes I will be visiting. This is when I noticed that there was a change in the schedule, and one of the members I had Slot 6 tickets for had been switched to Slot 1. SHIT! I never got an email about this, and I don’t read every single 48-group blog post. I rushed to get ready, and out of the house as fast as I could. It was still early enough that I could make it to Slot 1 if I hurried. I arrived at Kaihimmakuhari Station 28 minutes before the lanes would close. 10 minutes later I was getting my tickets stamped. There was no line, so that went quickly. I was all good. Still had 12 minutes to go, I was even able to loop the line…

SLOT ONE

Sakaki Miyu <CUCA> (Lane 13) So I made it in time for my two CUCA tickets, and per usual she didn’t really have a line. Although the good news was her line was a bit busier than last single. The 49th single has various prizes you can win for each lane and slot. For Cuca the prize was a choice of 2-shot Selfie, or 1-shot video. She was also an “automatic win” lane, which was no surprise. I opted to do one of each. Unfortunately, I was so unraveled from rushing around I screwed up both the selfie and the video. I’m just really bad at taking selfies, and my phone was not registering my slightly sweaty finger. In both cases I asked the lane staff if I could do it over, but they were dicks and said no. Oh well. Here are the remnants of my pics…

There is actually more to that pic, but I look so stupid in it, so I mercifully cut myself out. Oh, and I’m so bummed that I cut off the part of the video where she said my name! Anyway, CUCA was a sweetheart as usual. I did quickly ask her if she was having fun being in STU, and of course she said yes. I would love to see her get more popular, but alas, she seems as if she is destined to be an STU Theater girl. That is, if they ever do get a theater.

SLOT TWO

Between slots I ran into Matto outside the NMB lanes. We briefly chatted about our game plans for the day before we headed to our respective lanes.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 41) I was really excited to see Yuka, since it had probably been at least 2-3 months since I last visited her. She even gave me an ‘osashiburi’ when I came in, which I felt really bad about. By the way, she was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood…

 

The prize for this slot was an autographed photo, which I didn’t win, so I just got a handshake. After we established that she was LRRH, I told her I was the ‘Big Bad Wolf’. Hurr hurr hurr, bad joke, I know. But since this is Japan, I doubt she had heard that too many times. I would have another chance to talk to her later.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 36) I had already seen that Maichan was wearing some sorta gothic nun outfit, which was damn hawt. Her line was pretty short, and whadd’ya know, I won the prize, which was the 2-shot/1-shot choice. Once again, i am really bad at selfies, so I chose the video…

Just a quick handshake and hello, and I told her I would see her later, although that turned out to be a lie.  But it wasn’t entirely my fault. I had over an hour until Slot 3, so I decided to head upstairs and get some lunch.

SLOT THREE

As I was trying to decide which lane to queue up for first, I ran into my friend Wayne, who is a fan from Hong Kong. I was glad to see Wayne made it back to Tokyo, since earlier this year he lost all of his IDs and missed a whole bunch of events while he waited to get new ones. Wayne recommended doing any lanes with Halloween Cards last, since they seem to take the longest. I took his advice and went to meet a member I have not seen in a VERY LONG time…

Ichikawa Miori (Lane 20) I was trying to remember the last time I met with Miorin, and I am pretty sure it was around the time OKL48 came out, since I remember her wearing that outfit at the event. So five years ago, right? Jeez! I wasn’t sure if she would remember me, since I used to see her quite a bit. I didn’t win the prize, which again was the 2-shot/1-shot choice. I would have to come up with something to talk about. Oh, Miorin was dressed as a cat…

 

Suffice it to say, there were many “nyan nyan”‘s being said by the both of us. Since I hadn’t seen her in a while, I mentioned that I think she looks really cute with short hair, to which she gave me a thankful “nyan” We will see if I can re-establish a bit of a connection with her, since I do have tickets for her in November, and I think I won tickets for Miorin for the 50th single too.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 85 72) When I was deciding on which lane to enter, they announced that Zunchan would be moved to a different lane due to the huge line to see Goto Moe. I didn’t know Moe was that popular, but her line was indeed huge when I went over there. In the meantime, Zunchan’s line was pretty huge too. I had lots of time though, so I entered the queue to sign in. The problem was that the line was barely moving. Like my friend said, this was a Halloween Card slot, and the cards were not too difficult to win, so Zunchan was spending a long time with each person. However, that wasn’t too big a problem, for a very interesting reason. You see, Zunchan was in the lane right next to Sato Kaho

First of all, Sato Kaho is soooo cute. I was watching her interact with her fans. She is great! Awesome smile, great energy. And then there was her outfit. She was wearing this cute top, but it was kinda loose. And every time she leaned forward to sign the cards, she was giving pretty much everyone a ‘show’ (if you know what I mean) I’m sure she had something on underneath, I wasn’t close enough to tell. But it was enough to give nosebleeds to pretty much every guy in her queue. I need to get a ticket for her ASAP! But back to Zunchan…

 

The moment Zunchan saw me she exclaimed “KITA!!!” I have seen her so many times at the theater, so it was nice to get to talk to her for a minute. Zunchan was also tasked with explaining to me how the ‘Halloween Trump’ game was played, since I had never played it before. I wasn’t getting it at first, but after her third try, it finally clicked. LOL. And I WON! I apologized to Zunchan and the guard for my denseness, but they were both cool about it. I told her I would see her later.

As I left I noticed Zunchan’s queue was still really big, and the Slot was almost over. This would become a big issue later…

SLOT FOUR

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 41) I queued up for Yukachan a little early, and ended up being 5th in line. Since this was a Halloween Card slot, this was a good tactic. I won the card too, so I would have a little more time to talk with her while she signed it…


And if you are wondering what the back of the card looks like

I told her I had been reading her Twitter, and that her interactions with Sasshi are great! I also mentioned that some of my friends who like Sasshi are also now reading her Twitter. It was good to briefly catch up with Yukachan, and she also drew a cute little Onigiri-chan on the card.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 85) Zunchan was back in her original lane, which was on the right side of the hall.  This side of the venue was mainly AKB, NGT, and the Special Stages. I went to queue up, except her sign was down. Had she fallen ill? Then I noticed that she was in her booth, and she had a huge queue. It turned out she was still finishing her Slot 3 tickets. Uh oh, this could be a problem. Depending on how late they open this lane for Slot 4, it could really mess with my Slot 5 tickets. I hung around close to the entrance for over 30 minutes, waiting for my chance to jump in since there didn’t seem to be any organized queue. Eventually they opened the gate, and people jammed in from every direction. I made it in around 25th, which wasn’t too bad. With around 15 minutes left in Slot 4, she finally finished Slot 3. She promised she would take a super short break, and ran off. Oh, and she was dressed as a little devil, with all sorts of Halloween decorations and messages all over her booth.

 

True to her word, she was back in less than five minutes. This was a signed photo slot, which I didn’t win, but it promised to be relatively faster. Around 15 minutes into Slot 5, I finally got my turn. Again, she greeted me with “KITA” So I mentioned that I have seen four Kenkyuusei Stages in the past few months. She replied. “Yes, you have come to many!” I even got front row last time! I told her that I love watching the 16th gen, and I enjoy cheering for her. She thanked me, in English, and I was off. I rushed back over to the other side of the hall to hopefully use my Slot 5 tickets, briefly stopping to say hello to my friend Panda, who was also lamenting about the long queues and the amount of tickets he wasn’t getting to use…

SLOT FIVE

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 47) Initially I figured I would be in Kaotan’s lane last, but her line wasn’t too long, and the lane for my other ticket (Maichan again) was HUGE. So I went with Kaotan first. While in the queue, I changed out of my Akiyoshi accoutrement, and into my Kaotan gear. Although her line was short, it was extremely slow since Kaotan ALWAYS takes her sweet time with her fans. Not to mention this was another Halloween Card lane. Eventually it was my turn. Kaotan turned over a Queen. Of course I guessed lower, and she turned over a King. Jeez! Even Kaotan was pissed. Pissed enough to say “Screw it, I’m signing the card for you anyway!!!”

 

I had noticed that while I was in line there were a lot of children in Kaotan’s queue. I had never seen so many kids in a member queue before. Although to be honest, I am rarely in the most popular member lanes. So I had commented to her that she must be really popular with children. At first she was slightly confused by what I was getting at, but I thought I had said it in clear Japanese. So she got it. She was like, OH, you mean all the kids that were here. I had another ticket for Kaotan in the next slot, so I would be right back.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 36) I went back over to Maichan’s lane, and it was even bigger than before. Now this could be a major issue. There was only like 35 minutes until the beginning of Slot 6, and if this lane goes long it could screw up my tickets for that slot. I mentioned to the guy standing next to me that the line was so much longer than earlier, and he told me that her Slot 4 (With the Halloween cards of course) ran really long, and Slot 5 was just starting, which is why the queue was so big. In the meantime, he must have been from her Seitensei committee since he gave me this…

 

So I weighed my options. Of the three tickets I had left, which do I want to use the most. I had a Tani ticket, who I hadn’t seen yet. I also had my second Kaotan ticket. I had already won the video with Maichan earlier, plus I get tickets for her at every event. So I decided to blow this ticket off for now, and instead use it later as an oshi-mashi. Sorry Maichan. :(

SLOT SIX

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 47) They hadn’t opened Kaotan’s queue yet, so I decided to hang around and hopefully be one of the first in line. In the meantime, I struck up a conversation with another Kaotan fan, who was really cool. He was asking me all sorts of questions about how I came to be a a Kaotan fan. I told him my infamous story from five years ago when she, Mikitty, and Makiko all ganged up on me one day, and as a result I instantly became a fan of she and Mikitty. He also kept grilling me on who I liked more between Kaotan and Yukachan, but I kept insisting it was a tie. And in any case, my OSHIMEN is Wasamin. Eventually the gate opened, and I was second in, but the guy in front of me changed his mind, so I ended up being first. Oh, and I won the prize, a signed photo. Kaotan finally finished her Slot 5 people, and went to take a break. While waiting I checked Tani’s lane, which was a few rows down. It wasn’t too long, so I wouldn’t have a problem using my tickets. Kaotan took her sweet time, so my new Kaotan-buddy and I were just commenting the members in nearby lanes, including Suda Akari, who came walking by. Kaotan finally made it back. Kaotan was excited to see that I won the photo, and started to sign it. Just then…

Jurina comes walking by behind Kaotan. She sees me, and stops dead in her tracks. With this huge smile on her face, she begins mouthing “Hello”, just totally flirting. Meanwhile Kaotan was totally oblivious, even though at one point I think I said “Oh, Jurina” She didn’t notice. Kaotan kept asking me questions, but I was half listening. Jurina has to be one of the biggest, and most shameless fishers I have ever encountered in the 48-groups, LOL

 

I eventually asked her about the T-shirt she recently tweeted about. One of her fans had one on. It has baby pictures of her, Dasu, and Goto Risako. The baby picture of Kaotan is really cute too, and you can totally tell its her. As usual, she asked me when she would see me again. I told her November, so she was good to go.

Tani Marika (Lane 44) Finally, a chance to see Tani, and I really wanted to win the 1-shot video. Lo and behold, I did. COOL! I entered the booth, and the first thing Marika notices is the Kaotan gear that I ‘forgot’ to take off. Oops. I had a funny feeling that she might play this into the video, but she played it fairly straight. Well…fairly straight for Tani…

Of course once the video was over, she was back to her jealous rage about me wearing Kaotan gear. I tried to tell her that I love her too, but she wasn’t buying it, basically calling Bullshit on me and telling me that I should be wearing Tani gear next time. I can make that happen, although I generally don’t like being “that guy.” You know, the guy that changes his outfit every time he goes to a different lane. But I can make an exception for Marika, since I know she wants me to.

So now there was this matter of what I would do with my Fuchigami Mai ticket. There weren’t very many “starred” lanes. although Tani and Kaotan were both available. I already felt ‘complete for the day’ with Kaori-chan, although I could go another round with Marika to try to convince her of my love for her. But I would first check to see if any other member caught my eye. I scanned the lanes as I headed back to the other side of the venue. Miichan had a very short queue, but I didn’t really have anything to say to her. Same with Myao, Chiichan, Mogi, and Shinozaki. Then there was Chori, who I do like visiting, although her line was pretty long. I was about to go to that lane, but then I found it. The member I wanted to talk to. I met her for the first time earlier this year, but she was really nice, and I wanted to see her again…

Oomori Miyuu (Lane 100) I met Miyupon for the first time at a National Handshake event this past Summer. She ended up being one of my top handshakes of the day. She was really genki, and fun. So yeah, she was perfect. She did have a semi-long line, but it wasn’t too bad. So i decided to go for it. I wasn’t in line for more than a couple minutes when her Setensei committee gave me a gift.

 

Perfect, it was really hot in this corner of the venue, so I immediately made very good use of the uchiwa. Eventually it was my turn. I wasn’t expecting it, but it seemed like Miyupon did remember me from before right off the bat. As I related the story about meeting her over the Summer, she got this look of satisfaction on her face, and thanked me in English as I was being pushed out. She tossed in an “I LOVE YOU” at the very end too for good measure. I could also hear her talking with the next fan about me as I was gathering my bag. LOL. Here is what she was dressed in. I fished this pic off of twitter.

 

And with that, I called it a day. And if we want to tally the scorecard, I won 8 of the 12 prizes. Well, 7 if you count that I actually did lose the first time with Kaotan, she just vetoed the loss. And technically, I never got a chance to draw for the second Maichan ticket. Interestingly, I had the worst luck with the signed photos, as they accounted for 3 of my 4 non-wins.

1-shot/2-shot: 4 of 5
Halloween card: 3 of 3
Signed Pic: 1 of 4

It had been a while since I had done a marathon handshake event like that, and my feet were really sore. I couldn’t wait to get home a take a good soak. I do have tickets for both of the early November events. Pretty much all of the same members as today, plus a Bibian ticket. I also have a ticket for Takahashi Ayane from Team 8, but I may oshi-mashi that one as I am not as big of fan of her as I thought I might be at the time I bought it. We’ll see.

 

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Live at the Minato Citizen’s Festival, Hamamatsucho (2017/10/08)

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I was debating whether or not to go to this event. On one hand, I like to go to as many Wasamin events as possible. However, I need to pace myself, especially when it comes to these DVD Pre-order events. It’s fun to take shamekai with Wasamin, but it isn’t cheap. There was also an idol event in Makuhari very close to the Sunday AKB concerts, which featured KissBee, FESTIVE, and Disdol. Three groups I am into seeing these days. Ultimately I decided to stick to my Kami-oshi. And I could go get pizza and beer afterward at Devilcraft too!

Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
3. Ringo no Uta
4. Tokyo no Bus Girl
5. Heavy Rotation (Enka ver.)
6. Saba Kaido

It was a festival crowd, which meant the were a lot of people there to watch the entertainment. Foreigners too. I always like to observe the foreigners watching Wasamin perform, seeing their reaction and such. Also, this was like an extended mini-live, with six songs instead of the usual four. I think they did that to fill a complete 30-minute time slot. And since it was a festival, that meant there were lots of people attempting to take photographs, so security was racing around the area to stop them.

The nice thing is that you don’t necessarily have to pre-order a concert DVD to meet with Wasamin, since they are still promoting her 6th single, Saba Kaido. So I ultimately decided to go on the cheap, and went with two singles (and two handshake tickets) I told Wasamin how much I like Japanese festivals, and she asked me if I had any festival food yet. That was the odd thing, the food was kinda hard to find. Most of the booths involved community services and children’s activities. So I told her not yet, and she was laughing at me as I struggled to get out the “not yet” grammar. I mean I know the grammar rule, but it is sometimes difficult for me to access it “on the fly.” After waiting a while, I went in for my second ticket, and I asked if she had ever heard of Devilcraft, which is an American Pizza parlor and microbrewery in Hamamatsucho. They also have a location near the Tokuma offices in Gotanda. She said she hadn’t heard of it but wanted to try it.

In the meantime, the act after Wasamin was a Hawaiian dance troupe, so it was nice to have that music as the backdrop of the Wasamin handshake event.

 

I am not able to attend Wasamin’s next couple of mini-live events, but I did win ticket(s) to her appearance at the Yamano Music Enka Festival. In fact, I won three tickets, which was kind of odd. Anyway, if anybody wants to go…

They also announced Wasamin’s appearance schedule for the concert DVD release, so her upcoming schedule for the rest of October is as follows…

10/15 Ageo Shosen Plaza (Saitama Pref.)
10/17 Tokyo International Exchange Center (Wasamin will be police commissioner for the day, plus a mini-live)
10/19 Rainbow Bridge Concert Fundraiser at NHK Hall
10/22 Saba Festival, Fukui Prefecture
10/24 Yamano Music Enka Festival, Ginza
10/25 Tower Records, Kawasaki (Kanagawa Pref.)
10/26 Tower Records, Urawa (Saitama Prefecture)
10/27 Wasamin Solo Dinner Show at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
10/28 Aeon Mall Shin-Ibaraki, Osaka
10/31 Monthly Challenge Campaign, Kashiwa (Chiba Pref.)

 

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Wasamin Fall Events…Promoting Her Upcoming Concert DVD/Bluray

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Okay, it is time for a much needed Wasa-update. Wasamin is busy promoting her upcoming DVD/Bluray release of her 3rd Concert at Yomiuri Otemachi Hall this past July. By the way, the tracklist has been published, and the DVD will show the third performance, with highlights from the other two performances as bonus material.


small image of the dvd box

Last week she appeared in Saitama Prefecture at Ito-Yokado Nishikicho, and yesterday she was at Odawara Dynacity in outer Kanagawa Prefecture.. Both memorable locations in Wasa-history…

Setlists: Nishikicho (2017/09/30)

12pm
1. Hatsuzake
2. Blue Light Yokohama
3. Gakusei Jidai
4. Saba Kaido

3:30pm
1. Mujineki
2. Ringo no Uta
3. Shitamachi no Taiyou
4. Saba Kaido

I mentioned these are memorable locations in Wasamin history, both for similar reasons. Ito-Yokado Nishikicho was the location of the final day of her first album (Request Covers) promotional tour. It was hosted by Jumbo Kobayashi, who was such a funny MC. He loved poking fun at the fans, but at the end of the day he enjoyed hanging out and talking with us. Anyway, since this is a DVD release event, that means reserving a copy gets you a shamekai. They are also offering handshake tickets for buying the new version of Saba Kaido as well.

I decided to go with a goofy pose for a change, and Wasamin LOVED it! She was laughing so hard at this photo when I showed it to her later. (And then she dropped my phone :rolleyes: ) By the way, the other great thing about Wasamin doing mall events is that I can get a lot of shopping done between shows, as well as get a haircut.

Setlists: DynaCity (2017/10/07)

1:30pm
1. Hatsuzake
2. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
3. Toki no Nagare ni Miwo Makase
4. Saba Kaido

4pm
1. Mujineki
2. Blue Light Yokohama
3. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka ver.)
4. Saba Kaido

Wasamin has performed at Dynacity a few times. However, the last time she appeared here was for the Gomen ne, Tokyo tour final. She did three performances that day, and the Wasafans bought out every single copy of CD from the local Shinseido, which was promoting the event. This ultimately caused the event to go past the closing of the mall, which did not make mall security happy, AT ALL!

Wasamin and I pretending to be dinosaurs, in honor of Dynacity. Actually, I think the name of the mall is more a play on the term “Dynasty,” which I explained to Wasamin. Unfortunately, I really couldn’t explain to her what Dynasty means in Japanese. TBH, I have a hard time explaining it in English too. Fortunately Kentaro was there, who is bi-lingual, and he said he would explain it to her. Also, I brought a special guest to this event. My buddy Wil wanted to see the performance, since he was fresh off of seeing her at San Francisco. Both Wasamin and her manager were very happy to see that he made the trip.

Misaki has an appearance today near Tokyo Tower, which I am still debating whether or not to attend. I was thinking of skipping it, but I have to miss her pre-order event next weekend, so I’m not sure…

CK in Tokyo

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Concerts, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Solo Live Concert at Inzai City Bunka Hall, Chiba Prefecture (2017/09/23)

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When this concert was announced back in late Spring/Early Summer, we weren’t sure if it another leg of Wasamin’s “Third Concert,” a “Fourth Concert,” or something else entirely.  They didn’t give it any sort of title like that, nor did they call it an “Acoustic Live.”  What we did know was that we had another solo concert on the schedule, which is a treat for any Wasamin fan.

If you count the “Love Live,” this is Wasamin’s sixth solo concert in 2017.  And we have two more “Love Live” shows coming up in a couple of months, which will make eight, and I’m not even counting all of the other major performances she has participated in.  This show would be taking place in Chiba Prefecture, which is where Wasamin grew up.  Specifically, it was in Inzai City, which is a bit of a trek from Tokyo, fairly close to Narita Airport.  Although it isn’t too far from Wasamin’s hometown.  For those of us in the fan club, we had the opportunity to apply early, which hopefully meant we would be getting good seats.

A couple of weeks before the show our tickets arrived via Yamato Transport.  I got 6th Row Left, one seat off of the aisle.  In the days leading up to the show, it was announced that they would have some of the same goods from Wasamin’s July concert, plus a couple of new items.  A ticket holder, and a cap.

I really like the cap.  The ticket holder itself is kinda generic, but the strap, which Wasamin designed, is really cute.  Anyway, the day of the show finally came, it was time to make the trip out to Inzai.  It was about 50 minutes from Tokyo’s Nippori Station via the Joban Line, with a transfer to the Narita Line.  I ran into a few other Wasafans on the train, and we walked together to the venue, which was about a kilometer away.  We arrived around 40 minutes before doors opened, and hung around until it was time to buy goods.  They also announced that there would be a post-show handshake event, and if you pre-ordered her 3rd concert DVD, yo would get multiple handshake tickets, and a cute little bag, with a Wasamin design on it.  I decided that I would forego the bag, and save my money for the time being, instead opting for one handshake ticket via a CD purchase.

Anyhow, I made it to my seat a few minutes before the show.  It wasn’t a bad spot, and it turned out nobody showed up for the aisle seat next to me, so I have a bit of maneuverability when it came to the photo-op portion of the show.  I also had Wasamin’s family seated fairly close to me, so that was kind of a bonus.  Anyhow, here is the show setlist…

1. Hatsuzake
2. Futarizake
MC1: First time doing a solo concert in Chiba, which is her hometown.
3. Flying Get (Enka Ver.)
4. Heavy Rotation (Enka Ver.)
5. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka Ver.)
MC2: Special Guest, Ikeda Megumi, radio presenter from TBS Fine. She works with Wasamin on her ‘Wabi Sabi’ radio show. 2nd Special Guest, Inzai City official mascot Inzai-kun.
6. Wakasa no Yado
7. Kita no Yado Kara
MC3: Wasamin talks about the setlist having songs in “pairs” (“zake” “yado” etc.)
8. Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyugeshiki
MC4: Ikeda Megumi talking about Wasamin’s history, with a cute little story about why Wasamin decided why she wanted to be a singer when she was a little girl. Also, beginning of the audience photo-op session
9. Blue Light Yokohama
10. Seto no Hanayome
11. Ringo no Uta
12. Shitamachi no Taiyou
13. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
MC5: End of photo shooting, Wasamin talks about her history with the song Seto no Hanayome. Guitar setup brought out by staff.
14. Nada Sousou (Wasamin on guitar for songs 14-16)
15. COSMOS
16. Ito
MC6: Ikeda Megumi hosts a Wasamin quiz where fans can win autographed goods. Also, goods corner, promoting what was for sale in the lobby.
17. Tomonoura Bojou
MC7: Wasamin discusses future events, including the special Mobame event she is hosting tomorrow
18. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara
19. Gomen, ne Tokyo
20. Saba Kaido
End Main Show/Encore (Encore lasted about a minute, Wasamin came back out very quickly)
EN1. Kawa no Nagare no You ni
MC8: Wasamin promoting post-show handshake meeting in the lobby
EN2. Mujineki

End Show

Ultimately this show ended up being a lot like the July concerts, so I guess we will call it an extension of the Third Concert series.  The setlist was similar, and the outfit she wore for the photo-op looked a lot like one of the outfits she wore in July.  However, there were a couple of differences.  Mainly the inclusion of Ikeda Megumi from TBS radio as the MC, and the guest appearance of Inzai-kun, the local city mascot.  We didn’t get a chance to take a photo of Inzai-kun himself, but luckily Wasamin posted one (below).  Megumi-chan was mainly there to cover for Wasamin while she did costume changes, but it was a lot of fun to see her.  If you ever listen to old episodes of Wasamin’s radio show, Megumi-chan is the MC that comes on at the end.

 

Wasamin was in a bit of a feisty mood, verbally sparring with the fans a couple of times.  When she was introducing the ‘AKB Enka Version Cover’ portion of the show, one fan up front sorta scoffed at the mention of AKB, and she snapped back “Mehh Janai!  During one particular MC she was talking about being from Chiba, and one fan yelled out “Where in Chiba are your from?”  She was like “Ummm, good question, where am I from?  Uhhh, let’s move on…”  Later on when she announced the last song of the main set, as a tradition we all scream out “EEEEHHHHHHHHHHH?” but this time she mimicked us.  LOL.  Finally, during Ringo no Uta and the ‘photo-op, roaming the audience’ part of the show, she took time to remark, mid-song mind you, that perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to pick “clapping songs” while everyone is snapping photos, LOL.  She mentioned it again during Ginza Kan Kan Musume, which by the way is turning onto one of my favorite songs that she performs.

The show attendance was a little bit disappointing.  Inzai Bunka Hall seats around 500 people, and it was about 2/3 full.  So it was a bit disconcerting to see the last 8 rows pretty much completely empty.  Inzai is a bit far from Tokyo, so perhaps some people were discouraged by the long distance.  Her next big concert in February is in a much bigger venue, so let’s hope she picks up some momentum and can fill the place.  Anyhow, here are a few more shots I took of Wasamin at the show.

After the show ended I took my time before lining up for the handshake.  I knew a lot of people got tickets, and the line would be long.  Eventually I queued up, wearing my cap, ticket holder, and of course my Wasamin Happi.  When it was finally my turn, I thanked her and told her that I had a lot of fun.  She said “Really?  I am so glad to hear that!  And you have the cap and holder!”  I responded “Yes, aren’t I Ikemen???”  Of course that got a laugh out of Wasamin and Ichikawa-san, who both emphatically exclaimed that I did indeed look Kakkoii with all of my Wasagear on.  Before I was pushed out I told her that my friend Kenji had gotten some great pictures of her, and she should check them out.  Which according to Kenji, she later did.

And that was the show, Kenji and I made it back to Kioroshi Station in time for the 8:20 train, and celebrated with dinner at Torikizoku, which is a cool Yakitori Izakaya Chain.

Oh, and let’s not forget the flowers sent by the Fan Club…

A few Wasamin events coming up…

Next month she has a couple of mini-live events scheduled.  She is doing another dinner show in late October, this time in Tokyo.  Her Autumn ‘Love Live’ in November will actually be two performances, and she will again be part of the Yamano Music Enka Festival this Fall.  My application is in.  I hope I win.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, KissBee, New Release The Kiss Bee 6th Single Promotion Tour Summary…Better Late Than Never

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I apologize for being so late with this post, as these events occurred almost a month ago.

 

As I mentioned on an earlier post, Kiss Bee embarked on a very long, and aggressive promotional tour to sell their latest single, Dokkin Fuwaffuu.  The single comes in four different main types, and then a fifth special edition.  The single also contains a c/w which is probably my favorite song in their entire catalog, Maho Nanka Yori Fantasy.

Once again, here is the official video of the 6th single…

Needless to say, I have become a huge fan of Kiss Bee as of late, and have been seeing them as often as I can.  And with this promotion, there were tons of opportunities to see them at many free lives.  Additionally, they were offering prize drawings if you came to a certain amount of appearances during the promotion, and if you bought enough CDs.  The CD purchase requirement was ridiculously high.  I did have a CD buying card, which ended up being a souvenir.  However, I did attend enough events to be in the drawing for some pretty big prizes, like going shopping with a member, dinner with a member, special personalized audio cds, videos.  Ultimately I didn’t win any of the prizes, which were announced via a drawing on Twitter.

BTW, I mentioned the 5th version of the single, which was billed as a “Special Edition” and was being sold for 10,000 yen. (All the other editions were 1000 yen)  I’m not sure what possessed them to charge such an exorbitant amount for this version.  The CD content was the same, it had a different cover, plus a special hard paper outer cover (some groups offer these for free as a store promotion) and a 20 or so page special booklet.  Maybe it was worth 3000 yen, but 10,000?  So you may be surprised to know that I actually purchased one copy.   But why?


I had both Tanifuji Misaki and Maeda Reon sign the booklet on the CD

The final day of the promotion was being held at Venus Fort in Odaiba, and there were two separate events.  I usually buy 2-3 CDs per event, which meant I would probably buy 5-6 on this day.  However, from all of the other events I attended, I already had six copies each of the other four versions. (Anyone want a copy, or four?)  So the way I saw it, I could spend 6000 yen, and get CDs I already had, which are essentially worthless to me, or spend a little more, get more benefits, and get something I don’t have.  Despite the fact that I felt the CD wasn’t nearly worth the price, the event tickets were.  At the end of the day, it was really no different than buying 20-30 AKB48 Theater version CDs for the handshake tickets.  Anyway…


Kiss Bee at Tower Shibuya

The final events I attended were at HMV Modi in Shibuya, Tower Records in Shibuya (where incidentally I had seen Wasamin the previous evening) Ikebukuro Seibu Department Store Sky Stage, and finally Venus Fort.  There were also events that week in Kinshicho and at Sky Tree I considered attending, but I didn’t want to overdo it.

I also want to note that Kiss Bee has a lot of very nice fans, and quite a few of them a fairly proficient in English.  I have managed to become friendly with some of them, and they have been very helpful in assisting me with understanding Kiss Bee’s event system, which at times can be confusing.  They have also gotten me peripherally involved with Tanifuji Misaki’s Seitensei committee, so I will be getting some of her birthday goods.  In fact, as I write this it is Misaki-chan’s birthday, and when I tweeted her a birthday greeting she responded a few minutes later with a “like.”  Such a nice girl.


On the roof of Seibu Department Store (by the way, a really great place to hang out on a nice day)

While I consider Tanifuji Misaki my “oshi” member of Kiss Bee, I am also a big fan of one of their newest members, Maeda Reon.  I first noticed Reon-chan smiling me at one of the early promotion  events, where she kept smiling at me.  Since Misaki-chan wasn’t there that day, I decided to meet Reon for a handshake.  From there I was hooked, and made a commitment to see both of them at each event.  My usual M.O. was to do a cheki photo with Misaki, and then do a handshake and autograph with Reon-chan.  Since Reon-chan is new, her line is usually very short.  In fact, I am usually first in line to see her.  I love rooting for underdog members, and Reon has been very appreciative of my attention.  That said, I still love Misaki-chan the most.  She is the main reason I started following this group.

So I have taken a few chekis with Misaki-chan, and have gotten a few autographed pics as well.  Here are the latest ones, from these last few events…

 

BTW, I added a couple of shots I took during the photo-op.  Misaki-chan is always a blast to do photos and stuff with because she is so silly.  This is why, so many of our pics have goofy poses and faces.  In fact, people in the industry have noticed, and she is going to appearing in a drama this coming season.

 

I also got a bunch of signed photos of Reon.  Oh, and one cheki.

That was an awesome moment.  At the Seibu event I finally decided to take a cheki with Reon.  So I queued up, then manager asked me who I wanted my cheki with, expecting me to say Misaki, but when I said Reon he had a look of genuine shock on his face.  But that wasn’t all, when the manager called for Reon she had an even bigger look of shock.  I told her that I finally wanted to take a photo with her, and she kept thanking me.  Luckily for me, Misaki was with another fan at the time, so I don’t know if she noticed, or what her reaction was, if any.  But it isn’t like I don’t take chekis with her at every single event, so…


At Venus Fort, Odaiba

Finally, at the final Venus Fort event I decided splurge on the group photo. (This was the day i bought the Special Version of the CD, so I had a lot of tickets)  It was a double prize too, since Kiss Bee Youth, their trainees, were also there, and in my photo.  But I got a good reaction from the crowd when I picked which members I wanted out front.  You can pick up to two, and the fans knew I would pick Misaki, but they all kinda “whooa”d when I picked Reon as well.

Unfortunately I am now so far removed from those events I have forgotten about any particularly interesting conversations I had with either one of them.  I know that with Misaki we have talked about her upcoming TV show, and quite often I will talk to both of them about my work/school life.  Reon-chan is currently studying Chinese and Korean, and is planning to also study English.  She sometimes integrates Chinese into her intros.

Now that Kiss Bee’s current promotion has ended, I am kinda talking a short hiatus.  In fact, I have sorta taken a hiatus from all of the groups (except for Wasamin of course) just to save money.  It isn’t cheap to go to a lot of idol events.  Sometimes I allow myself to splurge a little and have fun, but sometimes I take a step back, and try to live a bit more frugally.  In fact, sometimes it makes some of the members more excited to see me, when I haven’t been to events in a little while.  Sawabe Rion from Tokyo CLEARS even mentioned it once, that when she didn’t see me for a while she would wonder about me.  Though at the moment, I am really in the mood to see Minyo Girls, so…

CK in Tokyo

 

Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki ‘Saba Kaido ~Memorial Version~’ 2-shot Cheki Event at Tokuma/Nippon-Crown Headquarters, Gotanda (2017/09/16)

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Obviously I have been ‘chomping at the bit’ to talk to Wasamin ever since I last saw her, especially since she just spent last week in San Francisco, at an event that I certainly wanted to be at, and would have been at under different circumstances. I would have loved to spend time with Wasamin in the town I spent over 20 years of my life living in, but at least I have the luxury of seeing her regularly here in Tokyo. Suffice it to say, we had a lot to talk about today.

I made it over to the Tokuma offices before noon, since her manager,  Ishikawa-san, announced on her blog that they would be selling ‘day-of’ tickets for this event on a lottery basis. This was originally a Chara-ani preorder exclusive, but since they didn’t sell out they made tickets available today for anyone who wanted to come. Ultimately they had enough tickets that it wasn’t really a lottery. Basically anyone who wanted tickets could buy however many they desired. I personally took advantage and purchased three extra tickets, so now I had six, 2 for each slot. The original lottery number drawing ended up simply being for queue position. I would be third in line for the first slot.

They had us queue up early enough to see Wasamin and Ishikawa-san show up and enter the building. Per usual, Ishikawa-san is all smiles, and waving to us, while Wasamin keeps her head down, mask on, baseball cap low over her eyes, and doesn’t pay any attention to us. LOL. However, most of us know that Wasamin likes to keep a low profile outside of events, so we don’t really try to engage her in situations like that. Btw, the outfit she had on was adorable! Wasamin is very stylish. 

Wasamin and I mainly spoke about San Francisco for most of the day. Here are the highlights…


Photoset #1 (BTW, these are the costumes from her July concert!)

Slot One: The first thing Wasamin said to me when I walked in was “Chris-san has a lot of friends in San Francisco!!!” I said Of course, and asked her what she thought of ‘my hometown’ She said San Francisco was beautiful, and she really liked it. “Good, I want to hear more San Francisco stories” She then told me that she ate steak every day, LOL! She also mentioned that she saw Alcatraz, but of course the way she pronounced it was very Japanese. (Arukuturazzu) So I repeated it back to her like I say it.

For our second pose, we decided to do ‘Golden Gate Bridge’. I told her that I saw one of the interviews she did, where she listed all of her favorite shrimp dishes. I also mentioned that my friend took a picture of Ishikawa-san. Apparently Wasamin didn’t know about this and immediately started laughing. And when I told her I have the picture on my phone. Ishikawa-san got very embarrassed.

During the break, and while in queue, I was showing the Japanese fans some of the pictures you guys took They were all very amused at the photos my friend took of Kimura-san and Watanabe-san. I was also relating some of the stories and the feedback I had heard from you guys (and others too) Needless to say, everyone was very happy to hear all of the positive feedback. Oh, and Kimura-san brought everyone Ghirardelli Chocolate. And of course they all asked me how to pronounce it.


Photoset #2

Slot 2: She was wearing my favorite costume of the three. The first thing I did was show Wasamin, and the rest of the staff my friend’s ‘s Ishikawa-san pic. The whole room was laughing. I also told her that everyone I spoke to loved her appearance, and wanted me to make sure I told her “Thank you for coming to San Francisco” She was really excited to hear that. Oh, and every time I brought up any one of your names she knew exactly who I was talking about. She was also happy to hear that I would be bringing my buddy Wil (from Nihongogo) to her appearance in Odawara next month.

Slot 3: Instead of looping, I used both of my pics at once since I had dinner plans, and I wanted to hurry home first to shower and change into different clothes. In any case, this time I wanted to ask her about the fan letter I gave her last month. I had missed the opportunity to get her feedback last month when I wasn’t feeling well and missed her appearance in Hamamatsucho. Anyway, I asked her if the Kanji was okay. She complimented me, saying that my Japanese is getting better and better. I told her that I want to write more letters, but they are difficult for me to write. However, I am still studying Japanese, so I will improve more. But she said she liked the letter, and to keep working hard.

And that was it for the day. On Monday afternoon she is appearing at a Niku Festival in Tokyo. I met with Rageballie (from 48-Talk) in Akihabara last night, and he mentioned he might be interested in checking it our. So hopefully I will soon have another Wasa-convert.

CK in Tokyo

AKB48, Concerts ‘Let’s Go Kenkyuusei’ AKB48 16th Gen Stage Live (2017/09/15)

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It had be almost a month since my last theater win. I was beginning to think my luck had run out on me, since lately mywin frequency had been like once every 2-3 weeks. Then again, I haven’t been applying quite as much because my schedule limits me to certain days of the week. They also recently made a change to how the ticket center functions. Now, you get winning AND losing emails. To be honest, I am kinda bummed about this since to me it takes away from the excitement of seeing a ticket center email in my inbox. Now I just assume it is just another losing email. I have to open it to be proven otherwise. Anyway…

Thursday afternoon I checked my email, and saw that I had actually gotten cancel machi for Friday night’s 16th Gen show. 16th Gen seems to be my lucky group, since 6 of my 8 wins or cancel machis this year have been for them. It probably helps that Zunchan is listed on the ticket center as my oshimen. I had a relatively low cancel machi number, #69. Given my recent experiences at the theater, I figured there was a good chance that would get into the show with that number, although it wasn’t a sure thing. I was regularly checking the cancellation tally, hoping the number would climb fairly high. (If you weren’t aware, if you get cancel machi for a show, you are given a link to see how many show winners have cancelled their reservation online. It can be a decent indicator of how high cancel machi may go) The pre-show cancellation was at 35, which is about average for 16th gen. When I got to the theater three minutes before cutoff, it had climbed to 37. A couple of minutes later staff began rattling off cancel machi numbers. Up to 40, then through to 50, he wasn’t even really looking at his clicker. At this point I was reasonably certain I was getting in. Through the 50s, into the 60’s. #69, I won!!! And, it wasn’t one of those cancel machi wins where I have to wait for everyone else to go in before I get to grab a spot in the back. I was actually going to be in the seat lottery! Ultimately, the cancel machi went up into the 90’s before it cut off.

So the next question was, how good a spot would I get? I had ticket #226, which is actually the first person in line for #220-229 (220-225 are enpou tickets) I didn’t even hear the first group called, which was #140-149, next was #100-109, then #220-229. Whaddya know!!! We got in third! and that made me the 21st person into the theater. Unfortunately, for some inexplicable reason I set off the metal detector. So I got sidetracked for a minute while security gave me a good pat-down. In the interim, two people behind me passed me up. But when I got in there were still seats in the front row, albeit on the left and right ends of the stage. I grabbed a seat three spots down from the left pillar.

First row, Score-a-rooni!!!

This was my 37th Theater win, 3rd time seeing the Let’s Go Kenkyuusei stage, and the 4th time I have gotten a first row seat. (The other three were SDN48 Chen Qu Seitensei in 2010, Team K Waiting Stage in 2012, and 15th Gen KKS debut in 2013) It also dawned on me that this would be my first time watching 16th gen from the left side of the audience. So a different perspective, and also a chance to play “Who’s gonna fish the foreigner???” 


Zunchan (Yamane Suzuha) My #1 AKB-girl

After being given “first row rules and instructions” by security (Don’t raise your hands or lightsticks above your head, don’t put your hands or feet past the guardrail) the show was about to start. Immediately I had Sato Minami and Zunchan right in front of me, and Zunchan gave me an immediate smile and wink. I knew Zunchan spends considerable time on the other side of the stage too, but she seems to gravitate from one end to the other, so no worries. Minami, on the other hand, is barely on this side of the stage, aside from the very beginning and very end. My other favorite 16th gen, Zukkii, didn’t come near me at all, until the encore portion of the show. I did get a few new member impressions, but before that…


Sato Minami

The Show Overall: This is my third time seeing this stage. And there was some discussion a couple months ago about whether or not it was good, or perhaps boring. Obviously seeing the show in person offers a different perception than watching DMM, and of course being in the front row does add another element of excitement. But after seeing “Let’s Go Kenkyuusei” for a third time I still say it is a very enjoyable stage. That said, I think the Units might be the weakest part of the stage. The reason I say that has a lot to do with personal taste, but I believe Ai no Iro is kind of a throwaway song, and Wagamama, while cute, isn’t really captivating. But that doesn’t take away from the All-Star performance given by Zukki on Migiashi Evidence. It actually inspired me to seek out Fujita Nana’s single, which I didn’t purchase when it came out.


Yamauchi Mizuki (Zukkii)

On the other hand, the highly energetic opening set really keeps the audience engaged, regardless of whether or not you are a fan of the sings individually. (Personally, I love Minnasan) The post unit set has two great audience participation songs in Runner and Zutto Zutto, and the set finishes with an audience favorite (Wasshoi) and a song that I have recently grown really fond of (Team Zaka) I still notice the lip synch issues here and there, particularly from Sato Minami. At the end of the day, I am still not bored with the stage overall, although honestly during the units I am pretty much just waiting to see Zukkii.

Member Impressions: At this point, the only member of 16th gen I have established any kind of personal connection with is Zunchan, and that is because I have met her at handshake events, and I am always paying attention to her during the show, chanting her name, etc. So I know she recognizes me, and gets that I am fond of her. However, there are other members I like too, particularly Zukkii. Unfortunately she spends very little time on this end of the stage, until the end of the show. So when she did finally make it over to my side I tried very hard to cheer for her directly.


Kurosu Haruka

I got to see a lot of Kurosu Haruka, and the more I watch her the more I like her. In a way she kinda reminds me of Fuchigami Mai. On the other hand, I am completely conflicted about Yasuda Kana. I think she has great energy and stage presence, but she often makes these weird facial expressions that drive me crazy.


Yasuda Kana

The three members who at times focused on me in particular were Suzuki Kurumi, Taya Misaki, and Mutou Orin. Unfortunately none of them are really my type of idol. One of the reasons I was getting attention (aside from being an obvious foreigner) is that on certain songs I know the hand motions/gestures, and I try to follow along with them. This happens in particular on Zutto Zutto, Minnasan mo go Isshoni and Kudoku na Runner. These days fewer fans actually do that, as most of them simply wave their glowsticks.

Also, at the end of the show right before the “High Wave” I was sitting right in front of Zunchan, and Inagaki Kaori. Both of them spent that minute or so trying to engage me in English. LOL.

And that was the show. Since I was one of the first people out of the theater, and I had no backpack, I bailed down the escalator before the big rush. Once again, I am very happy to be winning any kind of theater show, and I love that I am regularly getting to see the Kenkyuusei. It will make me very sorry when these girls all get promoted. Maybe they will make them all one team, like Team 4. I would enjoy that. We’ll see.

CK in Tokyo

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Iwasa Misaki, New Release Iwasa Misaki 6th Single Saba Kaido ‘Memorial Version’ Release Week Festivities (2017/08/23)

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Wasamin returned from her big trip to Brazil, and had little time to rest before she started promotions for her new single release. By the way, the new single debuted at 25th on the Oricon singles chart this week. Wasamin has 7 appearances scheduled over an 8-day span, beginning with an appearance at the Meiji Gaien Fireworks Festival on Sunday. I didn’t go to this event, although originally I wanted to. However, given an apparent schedule mix-up it was probably for the best anyway. Here is the setlist. Wasamin and Hayabusa performed together…

Fireworks Festival Setlist (20 August 2017)
1. Mirai wa Jo Jo (Hayabusa)
2. Saba Kaido (Iwasa Misaki)
3. Omatsuri Mambo (Iwasa Misaki & Hayabusa)

Ticket Pia was once my favorite Japanese online site to purchase tickets from. However, lately I’ve been having trouble with their system. There was a show recently I tried to purchase tickets for, and it would not let me use any of my credit cards. Not to mention it would no longer allow 7-11 payments. I recently got an email from Pia saying my card is registered and now usable. But when I went on to the site to get a ticket for this event, 1) the tickets were super expensive, and 2) there were only really crappy seats left, with a noted ‘Poor view” of the fireworks. And after all, Wasamin was only the opening act. The headliners were Miwa and The Brilliant Green. Not that I would mind seeing Miwa, I just didn’t feel like doing it in an outdoor stadium in the Summer with a really crappy and expensive seat. So I skipped the show entirely, and I guess that was a very good move because…

Apparently the tickets and the website said the doors would open at 4pm, and the show would begin at 5:30pm. What it didn’t say was that 5:30 was the curtain time FOR THE HEADLINERS. The opening acts (there were four) were all performing before the curtain. So many f the Wasafans were caught off-guard, and missed most of, and in some cases ALL of her performance. After I heard that story, I was glad I skipped the show.

Tower Ikebukuro Setlist (22 August 2017)
1. Hatsuzake
2. Tokyo no Bus Girl
3. Ajisai-bashi
4. Saba Kaido

Tower Shibuya Setlist (23 August 2017)
1. Mujineki
2. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
3. Wakasa no Yado (new track from the new release!)
4. Saba Kaido

Shinseido Kashiwa ‘Challenge Campaign’ (24 August 2017)
1. Mujineki
2. Koi no Dorei (originally recorded my Okumura Chiyo in 1969)
3. Tsugunai
4. Saba Kaido

I was able to make it to both of the Tower Records events, but I was busy today, so I couldn’t see Wasamin’s challenge campaign. But those are the perils when you go a free show at lunch time in the middle of the week. For Wasafans, it was the first time in quite a while that any of us really had a chance to talk to her. Aside from her Monthly Challenge Campaign appearances in June and July (neither of which I was able to attend) it had been over 2 1/2 months since she held a live/handshake event. So I had a lot to talk with Wasamin about. In fact, it had been a while since I wrote her a proper fan letter, so I had one ready for delivery at Shibuya…

For me, it is quite the undertaking to write a fan letter in Japanese. This one actually took me two days to write. I started writing it early Tuesday afternoon, but I hadn’t completed it by the time I needed to leave for the event. So, instead of rushing it, I decided to finish it the next day, which I did. As I have mentioned before, one of the best gifts you can give just about any idol is a fan letter. I am yet to meet an idol that doesn’t appreciate it.

Wasamin was mainly promoting some of her upcoming events, especially her next concert in September, as well as her solo dinner show in October. I have already sent in my application and payment for both of those events, as well as for her Love Live acoustic concerts in November. So I am all set. Well, almost all set, as she just announced a couple more events. Yamano Music Enka Festival, as well as a special Wasamin Mobile Subscription event. Unfortunately, and surprisingly, I do not have Wasa-mobame, so I am ineligible. But I will head down to Ginza next week to apply for the Yamano Music show.

As for my six handshake opportunities, it was mainly Wasamin and I catching up. Wasamin notices that I am one of the few fans that mimics her hand gestures while she sings, especially on Saba Kaido (I do it on a couple other songs too) She remarked on Tuesday that she is impressed that I know the entire song. During my last handshake on Wednesday, we both did it together. I also asked her about her visit to the AKB48 Theater last week, and told her I was there too. At first, she was like “How did you know I was there?” I was like “Twitter of course! And then I told her that I had won the evening show, so I was there too. Oh, I also had the chance to show her the Wasamin concert DVD cover I made for my Photoshop final project. To be honest, it was really poorly done, but Wasamin liked it, and showed it to the Tokuma label rep who was there too.

She asked if I was coming to the Chiba event the next day, but unfortunately I had orientation all day, but I said I would see her on Friday. Unfortunately that ended up being a lie, since I wasn’t feeling that great Friday afternoon. So I ended up going home to rest before heading out to see Wasamin (and Minyo Girls) But, I ended up falling asleep, for FIVE HOURS! When I woke up, it was too late for me to make the event. Wasamin gomen!


Uchiwa was a bonus giveaway at the events, promoting the Friday appearance.

Finally, Wasamin announced the release of her third concert DVD/Blu-Ray this coming October. Details are still coming in, but the item description says it is one-disc only, which basically says to me that it is only one of the concerts. Which one, I don’t know, since on Ichikawa-san’s blog it doesn’t list the “roaming the audience” or “guitar” portions of the setlist. I’m not sure if that means they will be omitted, or if they just aren’t sure yet. I believe, based on what I read, is that it just isn’t decided at this point. And anyway, it is probably best to keep it to a one-disc release since she does a lot of promotion for it at events, and that would be pretty tough, to get fans to shell out over 10000 yen at every event for a 2-shot.

 

CK in Tokyo

Concerts, Yuki Himeri Yuki Himeri’s Graduation…and Birthday! ‘No Plan’ Live in Shinjuku (2017/08/19)

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Sometimes when idols leave their groups, it is the last time we, as fans, will ever get to interact with them.  I can think of many idols who I was a fan of, who have moved on to the next stage in their lives.  In some cases I knew they were graduating when I last saw them, in other cases I didn’t.  It is those idols, the one’s I never gave my proper ‘best wishes’ to, that I feel the saddest about.

Of course, just because an idol graduates from their group, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll never get a chance to see them again.  I remember when Meetan and Chaki graduated from SDN48, and I thought “Well, this is it.”  But I DID get a chance to see Meetan again a few months later when she released her final gravure DVD.  And of course Chaki has continued on as a solo performer, so I have had many opportunities to support her singing career.  In the case of Yuki Himeri, she graduated from Alice Project while I was in America, so I never got a chance to say a final goodbye to her.

Luckily, my friend Anthony had kept up with Himeri, and knew that she had started a new Twitter account, and was doing various appearances around Tokyo as a freelance idol.  I vowed to see her again, as she was one of the sweetest idols I had been fortunate enough to meet.  And when I found out that she had joined a new idol group, ‘No Plan’,  was very excited since I knew it was a matter of time before I ran into her at some idol event.  And I did.  Unfortunately, not long after that fateful reunion a couple of months ago, she announced her graduation from this new group.  But she would be leaving in August, so that gave me plenty of time to see her before she leaves.

I had the opportunity to see Himeri perform twice in her final week with ‘No Plan’.  The first time was at a huge idol event called “Akihabara Idol Party Vol. 13.” which was an all-day affair featuring over two dozen groups on three stages in Akihabara.  I was really only interested in seeing Himeri’s group, who were playing at Twin Box Garage at 5:45pm.  Coincidentally, FESTIVE was also playing at Twin Box that evening, on the basement stage, but it wasn’t part of the Idol Party, so it required separate admission, despite the fact that it was in the same building.  In fact, I got a good picture of the flower/balloon stand for Piano’s birthday.

Anyway, I got to Twin Box around 20 minutes before No Plan’s set.  The small club was packed, but I slowly maneuvered myself closer and closer to the front each time a group finished performing.  By the time it was No Plan’s turn, I was fairly close to the stage, so I was all good.  Each group’s set was only about 10-15 minutes, so it was a short performance, maybe like 3-4 songs.  But actually, I was there more to see Himeri than to see the performance itself.  You see Himeri was personally selling T-shirts for her Birthday/Graduation Live, and I wanted to get one before she sold out of XXL. (Ah, the perils of being a big dude)  Anyway, I was first in line to see Himeri after the show, and after a quick greeting, the first thing I asked her was about the shirt.  And YES, she still had XXL…

To sign the shirt, she had four of us hold each corner to stretch it out, since there really wasn’t any table or other flat surface to write on.  But I had my shirt, and I was happy.  I told her I had planned to see the rest of her performances, including the graduation.  But ultimately I ended up skipping the Yoyogi free live on Thursday since I had won the AKB48 16th Gen show, which I wrote about on the previous post.  Upon leaving the club, I contemplated going next door to watch FESTIVE, since their show was about to start.  But I was already 6-7K yen in the hole for the day, so I decided to skip it…

 

Fast forward to Saturday night.  I was really excited to be going to see No Plan’s one-man live, which was taking place at Zirco Tokyo in the Kabukicho neighborhood of Shinjuku.  I headed out a little early in an attempt to beat the incoming thunderstorm.  My plan was to hand out at The Hub, which is right upstairs from the theater.  However, when I got to Shinjuku it was pounding rain.  Not only that, but the main cell of the storm seemed to be right overhead since huge thunder crashed and lightning bolts were raining down from overhead.  I mean the thunder was so loud it sounded as if the lightning was striking the building.  However, I knew a roundabout way to get closer to the venue underground, so I headed back into the subway and walked through the underground city in Shinjuku until I finally found myself at Kabukicho.  From there it was only a half-block walk to Zirco, and The Hub.

After spending an hour in the bar, I headed down to line up.  It was my first ever visit to Zirco Tokyo.  It is a really nice venue.  It has a big stage, and a decent sized viewing area.  The bar was gorgeous, and had an extensive menu.  Himeri was actually in the bar trying to see the last of her T-shirts, so I quickly wished her a Happy Birthday while I enjoyed my cocktail.  In the meantime, some of her committee came over to thank me for coming.  They called me by name too, which took me by surprise.  I’m guessing since I am part of the graduation book they made for her as a gift, they knew my name from there.  There were also members of her family in attendance, including a her mother.  I think it was her mom, as she looked just like Himeri, only older.  LOL.  As it got closer to showtime, the crowd grew.  I was close to the front, just to the right of center.  Finally, the lights dimmed…

Unfortunately I don’t really know the names to any of No Plan’s songs.  In fact, I am not sure how many of their songs may be covers from other groups.  I DO know that they sang a few Alice Project songs, including Zenkai Hero, which is one of my favorites from the Alice Juban catalog.


They also sang a few AKB48 songs, including GIVE ME FIVE and Heart Gata Virus.  They performed for over two hours, and to my knowledge they don’t have any CDs, so it is no surprise that their setlist would have a few covers.  Meanwhile, the fans were in full wota mode.  Luckily, I was just on the edge of their circle, so I got to participate with them in the calls and other antics.  At one point toward the end of the show, they pushed me up front and center, so I had to go full-wota mode so not to disappoint them.  They had probably noticed that I was participating throughout the show.

Overall, they put on a very nice show.  I love most of their group songs, which are very high energy AND a lot of fun.  They also did a lot of solos and units throughout the live, and some were better than others.  Although I did think that Makino Momoka, aka Momo-san, the one with the pink hair, was a decent soloist.  Probably the best of the group.  To be honest, Himeri isn’t a very good singer at all, but she tries her best, bless her heart.

 

The show finally came to an end after a heartfelt final song, as well as a very emotional speech by Himeri.  She had the entire group in tears behind her while she spoke.  She also received gifts from the fans, as well as a cake.  There was also a balloon/flower arrangement in the lobby, as well as a banner on the wall.  All in all it was a very nice sendoff.  It was a fun, powerful, and emotional show.

I ended up buying two cheki tickets.  I knew I would use one on Himeri, but I wasn’t sure about the other.  As expected, Himeri’s line was extremely long, extending out of the venue and into the lobby.  Luckily I lined up quickly so I was 5th to see her.   I congratulated her on her graduation, and confirmed that she would be continuing to use the same Twitter account (she changed when she left Alice Juban)  According to her fans, she recently signed with an agency, and has something new in the works, but for now it is a secret.  After signing the cheki, she also write my name on the special card we received when we entered the venue.  Ultimately I told her that it was a great show, and I was so happy I came.  After she confirmed that we would see each other again, I was on my merry way.

So what to do with my other ticket?  At this point I felt it would be anti-climactic if I lined up to see Himeri again, and there are a couple of other girls in the group I find interesting.  But after watching the total fanservice Momo-san was giving the fans who came to her, my decision was set.  Her line was only three-deep too.

The first thing she asked was if I was an American, Yep.  From California? Yep.  Disneyland?  Yep, I used to work for Disney in Anaheim a long time ago.  LOL.  This girl is quite the psychic!  She asked how I discovered No Plan, and I mentioned that I knew Himeri from her previous group.  Anyway, I told her that I really liked her solo performance.  And that I am living in Japan and learning Japanese.  She told me my Japanese was already pretty good.  (I had a few cocktails earlier, so yeah.  The more I drink the better my Japanese apparently gets)  Eventually our conversation turned to idols, and Wasamin.  She was surprised I was into Enka, and when she found out I had seen Hikawa Kiyoshi perform live before, she started singing Kiyoshi no Zendoku Bushi with me, LOL.


I think she was surprised I knew the song.  It is a pretty well-known song though, even for people who aren’t necessarily into Enka.  After signing the cheki she offered to take a Shamekai with me.  So I went for it.

And that was it.  I had no more tickets, so I decided to leave the club.  As a journeyed home I thought about whether or not I would continue to see No Plan since Himeri has graduated.  They are fun, but usually for me to actively seek out a group’s shows, there has to be a member I really want to see.  And I’m not sure there is anyone in No Plan that really fits that description anymore.  But we’ll see.  Hopefully they will be showing up at idol shows where other groups I currently like are playing.  In that case, I will definitely check them out.

CK in Tokyo