I wasn’t sure which day to write up first. Saturday I managed to make it into not only HKT’s individual event, but both of AKB and NGT’s National Events since they were all at Makuhari Messe. But that’s going to be quite the involved writeup. Oh, and then there’s the Theater show I won on Friday where I saw 16th gen, and a few of the draftees…
Frankly speaking, I was really tired after Saturday and not looking forward to my marathon schedule on Sunday that would have me at the event from Slot 2 through Slot 7. 9 hours, which was compounded by endless long queues which made taking a rest almost impossible. However, I did manage to grab a quick bite at the food carts in the early afternoon. Anyway, I got into the venue at the beginning of Slot 2. The ticket stamp line was kinda long, but they had a very nice system in place where the wait was not long at all. Took about 10-15 minutes to get my tickets stamped, and I was off to use my one Slot 2 ticket.
Yamane Suzuha (Lane 33) For this single, each handshake came with a certain benefit you are eligible to win. The exclusive special benefit of the day was a New Year’s card, which is what most of my tickets were for. (6 of 11) You drew a sticker out of a box, and if your sticker was a winner you got a choice of three cards, a calendar card, a postcard, or some other New Year’s card. Here are all of my stickers for the day (you got to keep them whether you won or lost)
However, this made the lines take extra long. In fact, it took me 75 minutes to get through Zunchan’s queue. Good thing I only had one ticket. While I waited I watched Shiichan and Sayaya in the neighboring lanes so I would know what to do when it was my turn. When it was finally my turn, I drew a losing sticker, but I still had time to talk about how cute her lane decorations were. Per usual, Zunchan decorated her lane with flowers, toys, signs, and whatnot. I had another ticket for Zunchan in Slot 3, and I dreaded another long wait in the queue…
Yamauchi Mizuki (Lane 7) Since it was already fifteen minutes into Slot 3, I ran over to Mizuki’s lane to check the queue. Luckily, it wasn’t too long, so I would have time to get this ticket done and then go back to Zunchan’s queue, which was still serving Slot 2 tickets. The prize for this lane was the 1-shot Video/2-shot selfie, but I didn’t win. I met Zukki a couple of times at the National Event the day before, and she always gives me a good reaction when I see her at the theater. Today was no different. So today I told her that I thought she was an excellent dancer. She kind of looked at me cross-eyed, until I mentioned Migiashi Evidence. It then clicked for her and she was like “Oh, thank you thank you!” I think I want to start visiting with Zukki more often.
Yamane Suzuha (Lane 33) It was over 30 minutes into Slot 3, and they were still dealing with Slot 2. However, the good news was that there weren’t too many people pre-queued for Slot 3, so my spot in line wasn’t that bad. I also won the prize, which was the 1-shot video. It’s the first time I have ever won the draw in Zunchan’s lane!
When you win the video or selfie, they don’t really give you much time to talk, but I did manage to tell Zunchan that I always cheer for her in the theater, which was kind of a re-reminder since I may have mentioned that to her on Saturday at the National Event. It was already Slot 4, so I hurried myself over to the lane I thought would be the shorter of my two tickets.
Murakawa Bibian (Lane 103) I had never seen Bibian’s queue so long in my life. This was one ticket I considered skipping since I saw her on Saturday (and for some reason I thought this was a Miorin ticket until I looked at it in the morning) But Tani’s lane hadn’t even opened yet, so there was no reason to skip it. The queue took around 45 minutes, and had the New Year’s card prize. I drew another losing sticker. The previous day I had commented on the outfit she was wearing, particularly her necklace. So I told her I was reading her twitter and liked all the cute photos she took at the event.
Tani Marika (Lane 49) I knew this lane was going to be hell since Tani’s birthday was on Friday. It was also a New Year’s Card lane. As expected, the queue was huge, even extending out of the lane into the general area. There was a big chance this could screw up my Slot 5 tickets, but I was willing to give up one of them anyway. As long as I had time to do one Slot 5 ticket, I would be okay. It was 10 minutes into slot 5, almost an hour since I had queued up, and they announced they were switching Marika into another lane. So we moved from lane 49 to lane 46…
I was 10th in line in the new lane, so it wouldn’t be too long once Marika arrived, which was maybe 15 minutes later. I also got I nice wave hello from Dasu while I waited as an added bonus. When it was finally my turn she greeted me with a “Hey Kurisu!” which I think might be the first time she has remembered my name right off the bat, so cool! Anyway, I wished Marika a happy birthday and told her she looked especially cute. I also told her that my birthday was a few weeks ago, so she wished me a happy birthday too. I didn’t win the card, so we had a little bit of extra time to talk.
Sakaki Miyuu [Cuca] (Lane 75) I went to Cuca’s lane fully expecting it to be empty. It was already over 30 minutes into the slot, but the previous member ran overtime, so Cuca hadn’t even started yet. Even more amazing, her line was like 15 people deep. So she really is starting to cultivate more fans. In fact, shortly after she started they immediately called her to the handicapped fan’s lane since she had people wanting to meet her there as well. And by the way, when did Cuca transform into a real idol? To be honest, the first couple of times I have met her she just looked like a normal girl in an AKB booth. But on this day she looked transformed. Her hair was a lot more stylish, her makeup a lot more professional, and her clothes a lot cuter. Moreover, her cheeks looked much thinner. At first I thought I was in the wrong lane, but she looked really good! When it was my turn I got the usual familiar greeting, and I won the drawing. I chose the calendar card…
I asked her if she had fun performing at the theater on Saturday, which of course she did. I said a few other things to her, but I think she was either half-listening, or my Japanese isn’t as good as I think it is, since she just kept thanking me no matter what I said. In any case, I am glad I am getting a chance to root for her from the beginning. I was checking my old blog, and came across an article I wrote about her like 8-9 years ago. LOL. As I left I noticed her queue had swelled to at least 20-30 people, so good news for Cuca-chan.
Fuchigami Mai (Lane 104) Miraculously, there were still five minutes before the gates closed on Slot 5, so I went over to Maichan’s queue, and it was about as long as Zunchan’s was in the morning. Oh no! This would mean that it could seriously eat into my Slot 6 tickets, which is the slot with my two favorite members. I just couldn’t bare the thought of grinding through this line for an hour, and then rushing to hopefully get both Slot 6 tickets done. Not to mention, I saw Maichan twice on Saturday, and I have tickets for her on a lot of upcoming events. So I decided to use this half hour for a break. The bummer was that Maichan saw me a bunch of times while I was in Bibian’s and Akiyoshi’s queues, so she knew I was in the building.
Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 105) I came over to Yukachan’s lane about 15 minutes before the slot was going to start, and Maichan’s lane was STILL open! Also, Tanaka Yuka’s lane was open, which is where Akiyoshi was supposed to be. A couple of the Akiyoshi fans started complaining to the guards that they were going to make Yukachan’s lane start late. (Which it did) They finally let us into the lane, and eventually let us check in. I won the 2-shot/1-shot. Now, I have mentioned numerous times that I am horrible at taking selfies. Just horrible. But I already had one video today, and I don’t have a pic with Akiyoshi and her short hair, so I decided to chance it and go for the 2-shot. I stood in the lane practicing taking selfies over and over, so I wouldn’t screw it up. Okay, I think I have this wired…
Uhhhhhh, I mentioned I am horrible as taking selfies, right? I actually used Photoshop to make it look this decent. It was even worse before. So I learned my lesson. Whenever given the choice, I should ALWAYS go for the video. I DID tell Yukachan that I chose the selfie because I wanted a 2-shot with her “new look.” I would have more to say to her when I used my last ticket of the evening.
Matsumura Kaori (Lane 47) <2 tickets> Kaotan’s queue was surprisingly short, so I would have some more time to rest and visit with some friends during the dinner break. While I was waiting in line I started getting fished…by Yamauchi Suzuran! I had always heard what a flirt she is, and have never met her before. It made me think, perhaps I would use my oshimashi ticket on her? I would decide during Slot 7 when I had more time. The good news was that I won the 2-shot/1-shot prize. Having learned my lesson with Akiyoshi, I opted for the video. Kaotan gives good video anyway…
I decided to prequeue in Kaotan’s lane for 7th Slot, which would give me more time for my other tickets. But for some reason they wouldn’t let Kaotan or Suzuran’s fans into the lane. This was after Slot 7 had started. In fact, Suzuran and Kaotan came out to start the slot, and were wondering why all their fans were being held out. From what I understand, the guards for the lane were also at dinner, and were late getting back. In the meantime, Kaotan and Suzuran just chatted while waiting for staff to let their fans in. Odd. As for the prize, I didn’t win the card, so Kaotan and I instead talked about my trip to California. I have tons of signed stuff from Kaotan anyway. After telling her some of what I did she asked when I would make my next trip over. I also mentioned that I celebrated my birthday in California. She said she was happy I had fun. She is such a sweetheart! I told her I would see her again soon.
Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 105) <2 tickets> I had decided that if Yukachan’s queue was short, I would go to meet Suzuran. But if the queue was long I would use my Maichan ticket on Yuka. The queue was medium sized. Hmmm, I decided not to chance it, and just use all my tickets on Yuka. Luckily, they allowed me to draw for the New Year’s prize on both tickets, and I won on one of them. I picked the postcard since Yukachan had done a nice job preparing it.
I had some extra time to talk, and Yukachan and I have an agreement that at least once a day we should do a handshake in English since she is studying English, and is fairly good at it. So I told her the story of how when I went to see 16th gen at the AKB National Event the previous day, I was still wearing my Akiyoshi ticket holder (with a bunch of Akiyoshi keychains hanging off of it) and quite a few of the 16th gen girls were pointing and exclaiming “Mikan Mikan!” So she is popular with the AKB kenkyuusei. I then asked her if she understood the story, and she repeated it back to me in Japanese, fairly accurately too. So it was a successful English handshake.
When I finished there was still time, so I could have gone to see Suzuran after all. Of well, maybe next time. Although it would have been cool to do it on this day since she took the time to fish me. In any case, my feet were exhausted, I was hungry, and had a long ride home. I have tickets for one of the February dates of this single, but it conflicts with a Wasamin event I am attending. Not sure how that is going to work out. I may show up first thing in the morning, oshimashi my tickets on random members, then go to see Wasamin. I also have tickets for March, so no biggie.
CK in Tokyo