Archive for the ‘New Release’ Category

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

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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

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

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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)

HOME!

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

Tags:

Events, New Release Itano Tomomi 10th Single “Just as I Am” and “Wanderer” Photobook Pre-order Event at Lalaport Toyosu (2018/02/10)

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Ya know it’s funny, I was never a fan of Tomochin when she was in AKB. It was after she graduated that I really started to like her music…

I came across Itano Tomomi’s new PV quite accidentally, and I really liked it.  It is filmed in Southern California, specifically in Venice Beach and the desert around Lancaster.  So I went to Tomo’s official site to check on the promotion dates for the new single. To my surprise, the CD release is in direct competition with Wasamin’s new single, releasing on the 27th of this month. There are five promotional events scheduled in the next three weeks, three of which are in Tokyo. However, the first event was the only one that didn’t conflict with other commitments I have. So, it was now or never. I would have rather waited for the release week, but oh well.

She had two performances scheduled at 1pm and 4pm, but I really only needed to see one of them. So I headed out to Toyosu in the early afternoon. Lalaport brings back a lot of memories for me. When I first started visiting Japan, a girl I dated lived near that mall, and I would go there to see her. Also, this is where I had my infamous run-in with Momoiro Clover Z as they were waiting for their manager to pick them up. To make a long story short, I would always meet my friend in the same spot, and one day when I arrived there were a bunch of girls standing there. I thought “Who the hell are these damn girls standing in my spot???” A moment later, Momoka and Shiori both turned around and looked at me. “Oh Shit!” All the members were there, except for Reni. I hurriedly walked to another spot. Anyway…


Running into Momoclo 6 years ago

 

After grabbing some lunch, I went to the usual spot where they do events. It was outside. Luckily it wasn’t that cold today. The deal was you got a “high touch” ticket for a CD, or a handshake ticket for a CD/Photobook combo. Somewhere I read you can get a 2-shot if you purchase 5 photobooks, but there was no way in hell I was doing that. I just wanted a CD. The high touch was fine. I went to grab a spot around 35 minutes before the event, and there weren’t that many people there. However, it really filled up in the last 5-10 minutes. The setlist was as follows…

1. Ii, Ne
2. Fui ni
MC
3. Just as I Am

I said it wasn’t that cold, but it wasn’t warm either. Tomo came out wearing some long coat/robe thing (I’m not sure how to describe it), and after greeting the crowd and thanking us for braving the weather, went into her first song. She was a little shaky at the start, but her regular fans knew all the chants and hand motions, so eventually Tomo got into it. Her best performance was on the new single. I think the song really fits her. Also, there was an ice skating rink just above the stage, and you could see a lot of the kids and parents who were skating getting into the performance too.

I’m not sure who the guy was who did the MC. I am guessing it was someone from King Records. They talked a lot about her time in California filming the video and doing the photobook shoot simultaneously. In fact, at one point she sort of admitted that the PV is like a video version of the PB, but then she said “Buy both!!!” I believe she also mentioned something about doing concerts in the Spring. Ultimately, the mini-live was around 30 minutes, and then they set up for the meet and greet.

I was actually fifth in line for the handshake event. The way they did it was kind of odd. They didn’t have separate lines for the high touch and handshake people, they would just call out what you had as you came up to her. So I basically raised my hand and gave her a high-five as she smiled and thanked me for coming. I quickly blurted out at it is a good PV. Ultimately I think I probably could have stayed a couple of seconds longer, but since I was very early in the line I didn’t have a good feel of how much time they were allowing. But that’s okay. I got to say hello, and she was very nice. So all good.

And that was it. As I mentioned, I am probably not going to any of the other events. But I will continue to keep tabs on her activity.  I’m just glad I stumbled upon her new PV on YouTube, otherwise I might have missed it.

CK in Tokyo

Tags:

Events, FES☆TIVE, New Release OIDEMASE!! ~Gokuraku~ FES☆TIVE New Release Events. (2017/11/27-28)

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It has been a while since I reported on FES☆TIVE. Actually, it had been a while since I had seen FES☆TIVE too. But I did happen to catch them in July when they released their single Go to FES! Which I’m sure without accident was released just before Tokyo Idol Festival 2017. In fact, I happened to catch them on Furage day at Tower Kinshicho, so I was able to get all versions in one shot, without the pain in the ass of preordering. Here is the full PV…

The other interesting aspect of this event was that a bunch of former Wasamin assistants were now working as staff for FES☆TIVE. Yamaue-san had been working for them for a while, and so had the DJ. But now Sasou-san and another Tokuma rep were there too. (Wasamin and FES☆TIVE share the same label, and the members are always excited to tell me when they encounter Wasamin, LOL) The funny thing was that they were all on staff for Wasamin’s July concert at Otemachi too, which is why at one point Yamaue-san had dubbed me the “Tokuma Fan”. Anyway…

I had enough tickets to visit with both Hinari and Hiyo. I took a cheki with Hinari, and did a handshake with Hiyo. It was basically a chance to play catch up and for me to explain why I hadn’t been around lately. Actually, there are a couple of reasons, which I will explain below. But there was that, I participated in the release week, and got my singles. I considered going to a couple of their weekend events as well, but blew them off. Little did I know it would be almost five months until I would see them again. This time, for a new single. OIDEMASE!! ~Gokuraku~

It was actually a complete whim that I decided to go see them. I was home with nothing to do, and I started checking to see if any of the idol groups I like had shows that evening. Lo and behold, FES☆TIVE was doing a release event in Ikebukuro. But I would have to leave soon if I wanted to make it, and I was also hungry. I left my apartment, not sure where I was going, when the bus came down the street. Well, I guess the universe was telling me something, since that bus was going to Ikebukuro, so I jumped on. FES☆TIVE here I come!

It turned out the CD was coming out this week, and this was the last Preorder event. I ended up getting two copies so I could get an autographed cheki with Hinarin. I few of FES☆TIVE’s regulars were there, and they said that Hinari would surely be happy to see me again, since it had been a while. They also informed me that there would only be six members at this event. Yuna-chan hd another event she needed to attend, but the other member…Well, that’s another story. I don’t want to spread rumors, but the scuttlebutt is that another FES☆TIVE graduation may be on the horizon.

At least Hinari was there, since she is the main reason I go see this group. They performed the new song, along with Go to FES! and a couple of their older songs. I noticed two things during the performance. 1) FES☆TIVE are not great singers, and my favorite member is no exception. Most of the groups I see these days have good singers. Wasamin is good, Minyo Girls are good, Chaki is good, even KissBee is good. So it was kind of odd to go watch a group that is sorta off-key and screechy. The second thing I noticed was that the guy standing next to me smelled horrible. I swear it was like he was hiding a corpse in his jacket. It was so overwhelming that I had to move to the back of the venue.

Anyway, the singing isn’t really one of the big reasons I haven’t been going to see FES☆TIVE lately, but it may have a little to do with it. I have been cutting down on my indie idol stuff a lot. It is just so expensive to be doing day after day. Also, FES☆TIVE had developed this small contingency of young dickhead fans who annoy the shit out of everyone. It was just a pain to share space with these little clowns. I will still try to see them when they play at TwinBox Akihabara, but they have to catch me on a good night. And they aren’t the only ones. I haven’t seen Tokyo CLEARS or Chaki in ages either. Anyway…

I was one of the first in line to take a cheki with Hinarin, but I would have to wait for the handshake only people to go first. As promised, she was very happy to see me, and we spent a little time catching up. She also dropped the bombshell that Yamaue-san got married. I told her I was jealous, since I always thought Yamaue-san was cute. (although they have a really cute girl working with them now) I told her I saw Sasou-san the day before at Wasamin’s concert in Hamamatsucho. Meanwhile, their manager was laughing that Hinarin is busy gossiping with the foreign fan about the Tokuma staff. She also asked me if I was coming to see them in Shibuya for Furage day, and like a sucker I said okay.

I was fine with going to Tower Shibuya since I was in the mood for Mexican food, and they just opened another Guzman Y Gomez branch right across the street from the store. Plus, I had never been on the Sky Deck of Tower Records before. It’s kinda cool, although I think it would be nicer on a Summer afternoon. The good news was that the group sounded a lot better at this event. Their singing wasn’t as bad, and they were a lot more energetic, so that made me happy. A couple of performance shots from their official Twitter…

There was an extremely long delay between the performance and the meet and greet. Luckily I wasn’t too far back in Hinari’s queue, which is usually the longest. Since the event was outdoors at night, (in late November!) the members wore coats over their outfits and Tower aprons. Meanwhile Hiyo-chan and Miki weren’t busy, so they were waving hello to me and smiling. I felt bad that I didn’t get a ticket for Hiyo. Same with Miki, since she is so nice, but I rarely get a ticket for her.

I had assumed that the delay was that they could go get the girls’ jackets. So I asked Hinari if that was a new jacket. She said it was, and that she bought it in Takadanobaba for 1000 yen. What a great deal, I exclaimed! I told her I liked the SkyDeck, and asked if FES☆TIVE has ever performed on top of Seibu Ikebukuro. (KissBee performs there a lot, and I really like it) Hinari said they played there just recently, and she agreed that it was nice. By the way, they took a commemorative shot with the fans…


Where’s CK? 

And with that I took off since I did have homework to do that night. I’m not sure when I will see FES☆TIVE again, but hopefully it won’t be five months from now.

CK in Tokyo

Tags:

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, 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

 

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

AKB48, HKT48, New Release, SKE48 AKB48-Group Shoot Sign Individual Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama (2017/06/10)

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This weekend marked the first Kanto dates of AKB48’s 47th single. Interesting that they are all occurring AFTER the release of the 48th single, but whatever. The 48-groups over-stuffed handshake event schedule causes things to get backed up once in a while. Of the five events planned for the general Tokyo area, I bought CDs/tickets to two of them. Most of my tickets were for yesterday’s event, and then I have a much smaller (four tickets) schedule for one of the events coming up in two weeks. I try to limit myself so I don’t over-buy, and one day on a weekend is plenty of idol-time, as far as I’m concerned. Also, I always have to be conscious of the possibility of Wasamin scheduling something for the same weekend. However, this weekend she is in Osaka. So no worries.

Yesterday I had fifteen tickets for essentially six members. Two of my tickets were for special stages, so I would see a couple of additional members there. The handshake events for this release also features special bonus prizes you could win, from signboards, to 2-shot selfies, 1-shot videos, etc. This are fun additional bonuses to win, however in some cases (the signboards in particular) they can make the queues go painfully slow. I ran into that on more than one occasion. Anyway, I got to the venue shortly before the beginning of Slot 2 and immediately went to get my tickets stamped. It was the longest queue at the information booth I had ever personally experienced. It didn’t take too long, around 15 minutes, but the delay slightly screwed up my Slot 2 schedule. Let’s get to the experiences, shall we…

Slot 2

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 1) After getting my tickets stamped, I immediately queued up for Maichan, whose lane was near the info booth. It was a medium to long size queue, however since it was a signboard lane it was going very slowly. This was an issue since I had THREE Akiyoshi tickets for the same slot. With the benefit of hindsight, I should have gone to see Yuka-chan first. But oh well. After two turns, the lane went slightly faster, but there was less than 20 minutes left in the slot. I finally got to Maichan…

For the signboard, you had to pick which hand the heart-shaped ‘guitar pick'(?) was in. Of course many of the girls “help” you win. I was watching Mikurin in the next lane, and she would shake the hand that the pick was in. For Maichan, she “accidentally” showed me the pick for a brief second before she clasped her hand. Needless to say, I won. Maichan gave me a special bonus by writing on both sides of the signboard, which was cool.  I congratulated her on her preliminary SSK ranking, but then admitted I really hate the Sousenkyo, and gave her my reasons.  She then asked if I was going to Okinawa, I said no.  She actually nodded like she wasn’t surprised to hear this, as I am surely not the only one who feels that way.  Finally I thanked her, and was on my way. Slot 2 was almost over…

Akiyoshi Yuka x3 (Lane 16) I didn’t have too far to go to get to Yukachan’s lane. The line was fairly short, so I figured I could ‘loop’ the line once, and use my last two tickets together. However, that didn’t work out as planned because this was also a painful slow line due to the signboards. There was less that five minutes before the Slot closed, and I was sixth in line, so I went back to the check-in table and changed to use all three of my tickets at one time. It was a smart move since the person originally in front of me was just finishing when they closed the gate, so I wouldn’t have been able to loop. On the other hand, I probably shouldn’t have bothered, and kept those as ‘open tickets’ since the girls took as long as they wanted to sign the boards, regardless of how many tickets you were using.

I finally got to Yuka-chan, and we were so busy talking we forgot to play the game. She just began signing a signboard for me. Not technically, I could have (and probably would have) won more than one, but I didn’t care. As I have always maintained, the bonus prizes are fun, but they are totally secondary to me. I have just as much fun talking to the members I support. While Yuka-chan was signing, I mentioned that I saw the recent HKT stage where she bragged about having Kaigai fans. She smiled, and kinda winked at me. Not that I’m her only foreign fan, in fact she recently made a G+ post about her fans from Thailand. But I know that I am among that Kaigai stable she is proud of.

Anyway, two lane visits, and two signboards. Not bad. I hoped my luck would continue the rest of the day. And I also hoped that I wouldn’t run into any more time problems. However, that was wishful thinking…

Slot 3

Tani Marika – part one (Lane 81) I had to go to the other side of the event hall to gt to Tani’s lane. BTW, AKB had rented out the entire of Pacifico for this event, so the event hall was huge! I got to Marika’s lane early and queued up. I considered using both of my tickets at once, but her line was short, so this wouldn’t take forever. Boy was I wrong…

By the time Marika showed up, the queue got considerably longer. I was fine for my first ticket, but I wondered how long it would be for my second, since Tani is just like Kaotan, and ignores the time people. Plus, this was another signboard. Anyway, I got to Marika, and I was ready to tell her how sexy she looked, when she asked me, “Do I look beautiful today?” I responded that she looked really sexy. Unsatisfied, she asked if that meant that she didn’t look beautiful. Haha, Tani always looking for reassurance. I told her I really liked her denim jacket. She did a big Tani-styled signature on my signboard, complete with a little Unko-character. When I left the queue, the line had gotten really big. I originally planned on taking a break after the next ticket, but if I waited I wouldn’t have time. So I decided to take a break now and come back for the second ticket a little later…

Tani Marika – part two (Lane 81 Lane 79) I eventually came back to the lane 10 minutes before the gates were due to close, and 40 minutes before the end of Slot three. The line was still pretty big. In fact, there was even a short queue to even check in. Usually that only occurs for the top Senbatsu members. I wasn’t too worried, however since even if I had to wait a little bit into Slot 4, I would still have plenty of time to do my three slot 4 tickets. That nonchalance turned to worry as time ticked away, and the queue was moving at a snail’s pace. One of the three tickets I had for Slot 4 was a Special Stage, so I needed to get my other two Yuka-chan tickets done within the first 45 minutes of the slot, otherwise I could miss the special stage. At the beginning of Slot 4, Marika’s line was still long, so they moved all of us to a different lane to complete the slot. The problem was that Marika was letting everyone win the signboards, even if you have multiple tickets. So if a fan came up with like 10 tickets, she would do like eight signboards for them, and it would take forever. So there were people in there for like 5 minutes at a time. Ugghhhh…

After 90 minutes in queue, I finally got my turn. I decided to make it up to Tani by making a big deal of how beautiful she looked. However, she wasn’t buying it one bit. She gave me the stink eye like “Meh, too late” Marika noticed I had on a bunch of HKT gear, including an HKT concert shirt. So she commented that I am an HKT fan. “But I like SKE too!” “Who is your favorite SKE48 member? “Tani Marika! And also Kaotan. Tani and Kaotan are my 2-Top” I told her that I recently won an SKE Theater show, but it was for Team KII, and that I would love to see Team E. She said that she wanted me to see her perform. Anyway, I got another cool Tani signboard, and I was off to try to use the rest of my Slot 4 tickets.

Slot 4

Akiyoshi Yuka x2 (Lane 16) I was already late to the pre-queue of the Special Stage, but I had a few minutes. I decided that if Yuka-chan’s queue was short, I would loop the line. Otherwise I would have to use both tickets at the same time again. Lo and behold, her line was very short. So I checked in with one ticket. It also turned out that her lane was “automatic win” for the 1-shot video. Hmmm, that’s not good. It means she sold very few tickets for this slot. I quickly chose one of the pre-selected sayings for Yuka-chan to do, and made it up to her within a minute or so. I quickly asked her if #7 was good, and she said it was. Here’s the video…

Cute! While I did the handshake I quickly asked her which of the phrases she recommended, but she said she did n’t really know. Oh well, I would take a wild guess on the next one since I was running out of time. I ran back to the entrance and re-checked in. With the form I quickly checked off a random phrase, and re-queued. While I was waiting, I hear my name being yelled. “Kurisu! Kurisu!!!’ I turn and look around, it is Sakaguchi Riko! Haha, Rikopi is pushing hard for me to be her fan, LOL. I quickly told her that I would see her at her Special Stage later on, and she said “Okay, see you there!” Her English is pretty good, too. I made it to the front of the queue, and got ready to shoot my video…

Oops, my birthday isn’t for another six months. Hahahaha, I guess I will save that one and play it back in December. I thanked Yuka-chan, and told her I would see her (and Rikopi) at her special stage later on. I hustled over to the special stages, there was less than 10 minutes before it started. I was still okay…

 

Yabuki Nako, Tanaka Miku, Fuchigami Mai (Special Stage C12) As I got to the C-stage check-in, they were just starting to let people into the room. I quickly checked in, and got my ticket. It was #225. Not good, but at this point it didn’t really matter since they had already let most of the first 100 people in. Eventually my number was called, but I didn’t hear it since the neighboring stage was really loud. But eventually I realized that they were past my number, so I went in and positioned myself in the standing area, around three people back. I tried to find a spot where I would have a semi-unobstructed view. Anyway, I took a couple of short videos during the event.

Nako/Miku Singing…

The last pose they did…

They were doing a bit where they would pose based on a scenario, like “Your best gravure pose, or “Sasshi pose” It was cute. I was there to see Maichan, but Nako/Miku were definitely the ‘stars’ of the stage. However, there were a lot of Maichan fans in the room, so she got good support too. After this I had a bit of time, since I only had one ticket for Slot 5, and my Yuka-chan special stage was just before the beginning of Slot 6, so I took a lunch break at the food trucks outside.

Here was my lunch, a Kimchi-Steak Bowl. If was actually really good. A bit over-priced for the size, but whatever. I would definitely eat there again. I also did a couple other things during this break. I went to the goods line to get the SSK pins they were selling. Unfortunately they were already sold out of the Akiyoshi pin, but I decided to grab a Kaotan pin, especially since I would be seeing her later on.

I also signed a Zunchan birthday card, and her fans gave me a few little tokens of appreciation. Yamane Suzuha is my new favorite AKB-girl, but unfortunately I do not have any tickets for her until the next single events. I would have happily traded in one of my tickets yesterday for her, but she did not have a star (*) on her lane, so same-day nomination was not available. Oh well…

Slot 5

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 1) Back to Maichan, who I just saw at the special stage. This was also a 1-shot Video lane, but I didn’t win. It was my first loss of the day :( Oh well, when I got up to Maichan she immediately commented that she saw me at the Special Stage, and asked if I got any good pictures. I got lots of them, but unfortunately on many of my photos Maichan was turning profile to talk to Nako/Miku. Then Maichan admitted that she had forgotten my name. Interesting, since she had signed it a few hours ago. But that’s okay, I told her my name again, and was off. She is one of the few I have tickets for at the June 25th event.

Akiyoshi Yuka, Sakaguchi Riko, Tomiyoshi Asuka (Special Stage C16) Unlike the morning, all of a sudden I had loads of time to kill before I could use my next ticket on this stage. I took a walk around the venue to see who had the longest queues. They also had all of the SSK posters on the far wall, with all of the member ‘promises’ should they achieve their ranking goals. Eventually it was time, and I queued to get my entry ticket, #76. Not terrible, and many of the numbers in front of me weren’t selected at all, so I ended up getting in within the first 30 people. I got a seat in the second row, on the left side, and was ready to go. Luckily, Yuka-chan was positioned on that side too, so I chose my spot perfectly. Like the first special stage, I shot a couple of short videos, starting with the intro…

This video includes the performance of Kimi/Suki

Q&A

Essentially they were answering questions from the audience, and at the end they all sang Kimi/Suki, which was fun. Rikopi has a very nice singing voice. Asuka, on the other hand, was a bit shy and would only sing the chorus. After this I had two hours until my evening tickets, so I left Pacifico and went to Queen’s Square mall for a dinner break.

 

Slot 7

Tanabe Miku (Lane 40) This is the final weekend Tanamin will be doing handshakes, so I was glad I had a ticket for her. I queued up early, since the was a possibility of her line being unusually long. This was a signboard lane, and for the first time, I lost for the signboard. With Tanamin, there were no hints, just a 50/50 shot. Anyway, I congratulated her, and said I remembered the first time I saw her live almost 10 years ago. Tanamin said not to worry, and that we will surely be seeing each other at Wasamin concerts. Hahaha, does that mean that Tanamin is planning on joining the Wasamin fan club? Quite a few of Tanamin’s fans also like Wasamin, so her comment got a bit of a chuckle from the people behind me.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 80) Kaotan’s lane was not too long. I checked in, and immediately won the 1-shot video. Cool, my luck had returned! I was watching the people in front of me, and Kaotan was ignoring the phrases and giving everyone a personalized video. Cool! However, I noticed the girl in front of me didn’t press record for her video. I tried to point it out, but the girl ignored me. Then Kaotan asked her if the video was okay, and she said yes. She then looked at me, looked at the girl, and asked “Are you sure?” She confirmed it, although I could see that her video was only one second, and that one second was at the end after I told her she wasn’t recording. Oh well. Eventually it was my turn, and I asked her to give me a special Kaotan greeting. She asked me if it was okay if it was in Japanese. I said that would be fine. So here we go…..

Bwahahahaa! So she went for the English anyway. According to Kaotan, I am a “nice boy, a beautiful boy” Oh, and after she started laughing I stopped recording, but then she kept going. Oops, I interrupted her, and told her I stopped recording already. She was like “Chris!!!” :fp: For the handshake, I told her I had a lot of fun at the Team KII show back in April. She was like “Oh, that’s right, you were at a show!” She thanked me continuously as I made my way out the exit, I would be turning around to see her in just a little while anyway…

Slot 8

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 80) I normally don’t stay for Slot 8, but since Kaotan and Bibian were both late slots only, I decided to stick it out. I also was interested in winning the 2-shot selfie they were both offering. I queued up early for Kaotan, and was fourth in line. Upon check in, the first three people ALL won the 2-shot. Damn, I knew what was coming. I pressed the button…Not A Winner! Oh well, I won in the previous slot. We queued up and waited for Kaotan, who I knew would be late since her previous slot went almost to 8pm. In the meantime…

I forgot to mention earlier, that Kaotan and Tani’s lanes were right next to the ‘handicapped lane’. It was the first time I got a really good look at how they run things in those lanes. In fact, a couple of my Wasa-fan friends use those lanes at AKB events. It’s neat how they set up an itinerary for the girls to come over and see these fans. There is also quite a bit of camaraderie among the fans that use those lanes too. Oh, and the main guard running the SKE handicapped lane was so cute! And she was great, she had wonderful demeanor, and of course she knew sign language, which I’m sure is a prerequisite since many of the fans that use those lanes are hearing impaired. I think the hardest part of the job is trying to arrange the popular members, who have very big queues. Not surprisingly, many of these fans also have tickets for girls like Jurina, Sasshi, and Sayanee. So it is quite the challenge. I saw Jurina over there a couple of times, as well as Masanya, Ryoha, Kanon, Ego, and Dasu. Anyway, back to Kaotan…

Eventually she came out. The funny thing was that none of the fans seemed to know how to take a selfie. They didn’t now how to reverse their camera, or how to position it. Kaotan would have to show em how to do it. Anyway, it was my turn, and Kaotan was very apologetic that I didn’t win. But I told her that I got my extension, and I would be living in Japan quite a bit longer. She got very excited, and asked me if I would continue to live in Itabashi. Wow, she still remembers exactly where I live, LOL. I told her I would be seeing her in a couple of weeks, and was off to use my final ticket…

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 13) I went all the way across, back to the other side of the hall. Bibian’s lane was relatively short, and BOOM, I won the 2-shot. It was only a couple of minutes until I made it to the front of the queue. But like the fans in Kaotan’s lane, I am also a bit of a novice when it comes to taking selfies. I positioned the camera as best I could, and kept asking Bibian if it looked okay, then I finally took the shot. Ladies and gentlemen, behold the WORST 2-shot selfie in history…

LOLZ. I love my famous “trying to balance the camera and hit the button” look, coupled with Bibian’s “photobombing” from the bottom right. On the other hand, it is moments like these that make the events even more memorable. So it’s all good. Since I won the 2-shot, I barely had time to say hello, cool poster, and thank you to Bibian before I was pushed out. And that was it, I was done for the day.

As much as I say that I don’t really care about the special prizes they now offer, they do add a bit of excitement to the events, even if in some cases they can cause lanes to get backed up. At the end of the day I didn’t have to eat any tickets. Makes me wish I had a few more tickets for two weeks from now. But what I am really looking forward to is the new SKE release, since I prefer the SKE and HKT exclusive events anyway.

CK in Tokyo

Concerts, New Release, Tokyo CLEARS Tokyo CLEARS New Single, ‘Heart Wash’ Release Events in Tokyo! (2017/06/06-07)

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Talk about ‘hisashiburi’!  I consider Tokyo CLEARS to be one of my favorite idol groups, and yet I hadn’t seen them perform in almost nine months!  The last time was for their previous single release.  Now I check their performance schedule regularly, but I couldn’t find the time to see a show.  That all changed this week.  But before I get into the events, let me backtrack a bit and give you a bit of my history with this group, since I’m not sure if I have spoken about them much on this blog before.

A couple of years ago, my friend David, a former 48-group fan who had gone the ‘indie-idol’ route, was trying to get me visit P.A.R.M.S., the home theater of Alice Project.  I was originally resistant, but eventually acquiesced since he came to a couple of Wasamin events with me.  I didn’t exactly love Alice Project, but it did plant the seed for me to start paying more attention to the indie idol scene.  A few months later I went to see an Alice Project show, and they had a few guest idol groups on the bill.  This wasn’t the first time I had been there where they had done that, and usually the groups that played there didn’t impress me that much.  However, one night I caught this one group, and one girl in particular caught my eye.  Short, reddish-brown hair, really cute, but with this ‘devilish’ expression on her face, and a certain twinkle in her eye.  I was immediately drawn to her, and began watching her intently on the stage.  It didn’t take long for her to notice me watching her, and she immediately started gesturing to me.  Smiling, waving, winking.  She just hooked me right in.  That girl was Sawabe Rion, and the group was Tokyo CLEARS.

When I finally met her, she was really nice.  Down to earth, mature, and a lot of fun.  I later learned that not only was she a former Gravure Idol, but she was also a former member of Ebisu Muscats.  She was the perfect combination of sexiness and kawaii.  what I also loved was that I could talk to Rion about anything.  It wasn’t always idol-ly B.S.  It was almost like talking to a friend, or a peer.  Anyway, I made it a point to see CLEARS as often as I could.  And I did.  They were in my regular ‘rotation’ of groups a often saw.  However, last year I decided to cut down on my indie idol spending, especially since Wasamin was draining my wallet on a regular basis.  As a result, I failed to go seeCLEARS for the better part of a year.  I really felt bad about it too, and wondered if Rion felt like I had abandoned her.  But I really didn’t.  I was always planning to see them, I just never pulled the trigger.  However…

A week or so ago I noticed that CLEARS were releasing a new single.  BTW, I call them CLEARS because the group actually has branches all over Japan.  In addition to Tokyo Clears, there’s Yokohama CLEARS, Gunma CLEARS, Kawagoe CLEARS, and a bunch more.  Oh, and the theme of the group is “Cleaning.”  One of their monthly events is to go clean up litter around Tokyo.  Yes, you can go out with the group and pick up trash with them.  Fun Tiems?  Anyway…

First Event at Sunshine City, Ikebukuro (2017/06/06)

They were doing two release events in Tokyo.  The first was on Tuesday in Ikebukuro.  However, I had already made plans with my friend Derek to have dinner with him.  I asked him if we could augment the plans, but he wouldn’t budge.  Oh well, I wasn’t going to break plans with a friend just to see an idol group.  I would just have to settle for the second show on Wednesday.  However, we ended up finishing dinner rather early.  If I hurried, I could make it to Ikebukuro and catch some of the event.  So with Derek’s blessing, I took off, and hustled to Sunshine City as fast as I could.

When I got to the venue, I was surprised to find out that the event was actually going to start a half hour late.  It was perfect!  I hadn’t missed anything!  I checked out the goods table.  The new single came in four versions, and with each copy you bought you got a member-specific meet and greet ticket.  They were also giving away the promotional poster for the single.  I grabbed a copy of each version, and got four Rion tickets.  I then took my place in the standing area.  It was just about showtime.

Tokyo CLEARS took the stage, and it took Rion all of about 10 seconds to spot me in the crowd.  She immediately lit up and started waving to me.  I was so happy!  They started with their new song, “Heart Wash” which I had never heard before.  It’s a cute song, and has a fun PV.  Here is a short version from the official Avex channel…

Eventually Tokyo CLEARS left the stage, while Gunma CLEARS, Yokohama CLEARS, and CLEARS Smile entered to further promote the single.  I actually took off to the bathroom at this point, and came back closer to the end when Rion came back on stage.  I was mainly there to see her anyway.  Eventually the show ended, and it was time for benefits.

 

Tokyo CLEARS is the flagship group, and had the longest line by far.  I immediately queued up, and decided I would do a signed cheki with Rion.  She had a big smile on her face as she reached out to me with both hands.  “I’m so happy to see you again!”  As she signed the cheki I was busy apologizing to her that I hadn’t seen her in so long, and that I had been going to far fewer idol events. (A ‘partial’ truth, as you know from reading this blog)  She said it was okay, and that she was happy that I was there now.  Anyway, I got my cheki, and I was happy.  I immediately went to re-queue.  However, I forgot to mention that there is another CLEARS member, Yamato Sayuri, who REALLY likes me, and is ALWAYS trying to fish me.  All of a sudden I felt bad for only getting Rion tickets.  I went back to the table to see if I could change one of my Rion tickets for a Sayuri ticket, which they allowed me to do.  I had a little plan anyway.  I could have both of them sign my poster, which was another benefit they were offering.

I came back to Rion, and asked her to sign the poster.  Somehow in the 5-10 minutes since the cheki she forgot how to spell my name, which is funny since she spelled it right on the cheki without even asking.  While she was signing, I also told her the news that I would be in Tokyo even longer than originally planned.  (I’m hoping to make it a permanent residence, but one step at a time)  She congratulated me, and asked me for details.  It was then I noticed that she was signing quite a lot of the poster, so I asked her to leave some space for Sayuri to sign as well.  Sayuri immediately came running over…”You are talking about me, Chris???”  Hahaha, Sayuri gets a bit jealous about my fawning over Rion.  I told her that I would be coming back around for her to sign the poster.  I got back to the front a few minutes later, and had Sayuri sign the poster.  I also apologized to her for not seeing them for so long.  It was then that she made me promise to come to the Wednesday night event.  Pinky out, “Yakusoku???’  Ummmmmm, okay fine!


(
Rion signed on the left (and bottom right), Sayuri on the right.  BTW, Rion is on the far left side of the poster, and Sayuri is just above her.)

And with that I was done, I waved goodbye to both Sayuri and Rion, and made my way to the bus stop to go home.  Oh, and when I read Rion’s blog that night, she mentioned seeing a fan she hadn’t seen for quite a while.  Wow, that is actually the second time she has referenced me on her blog!

Second Event at Naka-Meguro Club TRY (2017/06/07)

After a long day, I made it over to Meguro in the afternoon.  Actually, I went to Ebisu first since it was early.  I decided to grab a couple of beers are Yebisu Brewery Museum, and hit Shake Shack for dinner.  After that I would walk over to Naka-Meguro, which was less than a kilometer away.  I eventually found the club, which was steps away from the station.  There was short queue, so I decided to line up early.  I’m glad I did, because there was actually seating for this show.  And since I was one of the first people in I could grab a front row seat!  I bought three more copies of the CD, got another poster, and three member tickets.  Two for Rion, and one for Sayuri.

The show started, only this time the other groups, Yokohama, Gunma, and Smile performed first.  I’m not a big fan of Gunma CLEARS, but the Yokohama girls are ALL cute.  There is one girl in Smile that I really like too.  But I wasn’t going to go crazy, especially since I was again, mainly there to see Rion.  Yokohama also sang my favorite CLEARS song, Kansha Fanfare.  Unfortunately the one girl who was trying to fish me was from Gunma CLEARS, and I kept trying to avoid her gaze.  “No, I don’t wanna be fished by you!”

The main group finally came out, and I immediately had Rion positioned about three feet in front of me.  Since I was in front I was getting the chance to interact with all of them, although I think they all know I am Rion’s.  Of course that never stops Sayuri, but was paying a lot of attention to me throughout the show.  Oh, and Tokyo CLEARS has a c/w on the Type-B version called Fuite Fuite, which IMO the best song of the release.  Rion is the center of it, too!

For my first ticket, I decided to visit Rion to have her sign one of my CDs, since they were offering that benefit for this event.  While she was signing I asked about the ‘Fuite’ song, and that was when she told me that it was a c/w for this release.  I was stoked, since that meant I could put it on my ipod.  I then re-queued for Sayuri to sign another version, and she promptly misspelled my name (forgot the H, a common mistake)  She managed to jam an H in there.  I reminded her that I kept my promise to show up to the event.  She was like, “You did, Thank you Chris!”  For my last visit with Rion, I decided I wanted a signed cheki, but I needed another ticket, so I broke down and bought one more copy, which gave me two complete sets of the single.  I suggested the “namida” pose (from Fuite Fuite).  While she signed she said something that really touched my heart…

I started by telling her how happy I was to see her two days in a row, and that I was really sorry I didn’t come for so long.  I just said I was busy, and the lat semester at school was quite difficult.  Her response was amazing.  She told me that she had noticed I wasn’t coming.  She went on to say she never forgot about me, and often wondered what I was doing.  I was floored when she said that.  Now I could be cynical and say that she is just saying that as a fishing tactic.  But I think I know her personality pretty well, and I don’t think she would just make that up.

Anyway, I was done, and my wallet was actually empty.  I had about 450 yen in change in my pocket, so it was time to go home.  Rion reminded me of why was so enamored with her to begin with.  Let’s hope it doesn’t take me so long to see her again.  In the meantime I have another idol show to go to tomorrow.  This has been a very busy week for me, idol-wise.  AKB48 16th Gen, Wasamin (still need to do that writeup), CLEARS x2, tomorrow FESTIVE and KissBee together in Shinjuku, then finally the AKB Shoot Sign event on Saturday, where I will get to play with Akiyoshi.  I think I will need a short idol break after this!

CK in Tokyo

KissBee, New Release KissBee 6th Single Release Event & Mini-Live at Venus Fort, Odaiba (2017/06/04)

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Over the past couple of years I have been expanding my J-pop horizons and paying attention to artists beyond the 48-sphere.  I have mentioned being a fan of the idol group FESTIVE a few times on this blog, as well as Minyo Girls, Chaki (who actually is a former SDN48 member)  I also like a group called Tokyo CLEARS, and even spent some time last year going to P.A.R.M.S., the home of Alice Project.  I don’t get into new groups easily.  Usually there needs to be some kind of “spark” that needs to happen for me to proverbially “fall for” a group.  That spark actually occurred a few weeks ago, when I happened to be hanging out in Diver City.  Let me backtrack to the end of Golden Week….

I had gone to Odaiba since there were multiple festivals happening there simultaneously.  I had mainly gone for the Cinco de Mayo event, but there was also a German Beerfest, a Gyu-Fest, and a Hawaiian Festival all happening within walking distance from one another.  Additionally, Diver City had an Idol Stage set up, and I just happened to be walking by when a cute idol group was performing.  That idol group was KissBee…

They were wearing these cute, red, almost Christmas-like costumes, and were playing standard J-pop tunes.  I stopped to watch since I didn’t really have anything else to do at the moment.  I wanted to see if they would capture my interest.  As I scanned the girls on stage, one immediately caught my eye.  She was full of energy, dancing all over the stage.  She had a short-bob haircut, kinda like Maeda Atsuko, of Kodama Haruka from HKT48, and a cute little baby face.  I found myself zoned in on this one member, and at the end of their show, when they offered fans the opportunity to take pics, I mainly focused on her.  I was hooked, she got me.

the show ended, and I was thirsty, so I went to get something to drink.  However, I came back and they were still doing handshakes, cheki’s and other benefits.  I contemplated participating, and quickly looked the group up on the web to see if I could figure out the name of the member I liked.  Her name was Tanifuji Misaki.  MISAKI????  TANI???  Was it fate that this girl shared names with two idols I am a big fan of.  (Although she uses a different kanji for the “Mi” in Misaki)  However, before I knew it they were doing last call, and I didn’t get to participate.

A short time later I decided to head back home.  In the meantime, while on the train I posted a few of the photos I took onto Twitter, and linked the group, and Misaki.  And whaddya know, I started getting a ton of likes from quite a few of the group members.  This was too good!  I was already making a connection with them.  I wonder if they noticed me watching in the back?  I vowed to see them again if given the opportunity, and made a note to check their schedule.

Fast forward to one month later.  KissBee has done the occasional performance, but they usually conflicted with other plans I had.  I almost saw them last week in Shinjuku, but the friend I was with wanted to go to dinner instead.  However, last night I just happened to catch Misaki-chan retweeting their appearance scheduled for Sunday in Odaiba.  I didn’t have any plans all weekend, so this would be perfect.  I needed to head out to that area anyway since I had lunch plans with a friend from the U.S.

I made it out to Odaiba about an hour before the performance.  Actually, they had an early performance too, but it conflicted with my lunch plans.  It was my first time checking out Venus Fort.  Wow, what an awesome mall.  So beautiful.  It reminds me of the mall that connects to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.  Eventually I found where the live would be taking place.  They had a table set up to buy CDs and other merchandise, so I asked them how the system worked.  From what I gathered you could get a 2-shot cheki with two tickets, and the girls do handshakes and sign stuff for one ticket.  I decided to buy three copies (there were five versions) of their new single “Labyrinth” so I would get a cheki, and one handshake/sign.  I also got a priority entry ticket for the event, I was #74.

Thirty minutes before the show I went to queue up.  It was strange, though.  There weren’t even close to 74 people queued up.  It was more like 30-40.  Moreover, NOBODY had a number over 50.  Eventually a guy showed up with a number in the mid-50s, but that was it.  Why the heck did they give me such a bad number?  It didn’t really matter though, I wasn’t trying to be in the front anyway.  So I basically waited for everyone to go in, and I went in last.  After that they opened the area to let anyone in to watch.  I shuffled back a little bit to let two cute, but petite girls get in front of me to have a better view.  The show started fifteen minutes later…

Misaki-chan is definitely one of the “centers” of this group.  She is in front quite often, and sings a lot of solo parts.  However, I would say most of the members are energetic.  Their songs are for the most part, medium-tempo idol tunes.  However, they had one up-tempo song song in particular that I absolutely loved.  It had a latin-beat to it, and the chorus went something like “Kiss me, chupa chupa, Love me, chupa chupa”  I still don’t know the name of the song though.  Ultimately they sang five songs, and did a couple of MCs.  The new single is a really nice song too.  Please give it a listen…

 

Like I said, the show ended with a photo-op, and then a high-touch session.  They had one brand new member who wasn’t in costume, but participated in the high-touch, and she probably gave me the best reaction.  However, Misaki gave a good one too.  After that it was on to benefits.  They started with a “Group Shot” where you take a photo with the whole group, and decide which member(s) are seated next to you in front.  I contemplated doing this, except 1) they use a large cheki camera, and those don’t fit into my cheki scrapbook, and 2) they cost four tickets, which was kinda steep.  I would stick to the original plan.

Next they announced 2-shot chekis  It was one queue, and when you got to the front you told the manager who you wanted to see.  The line was surprisingly short.  Of course I asked for Misaki, and she skipped over to get me.  In the meantime, I was telling her the story about Golden Week, and the twitter likes, and all the while she kept exclaiming how good my Japanese was.  I’m not sure if she remembers me from last month, but she kept laughing at the story.  In any case, my cheki was done, I shook her hand (she grabbed my hand with both of hers) and I headed off-stage.

Eventually it was time for the handshake/signings, and the girls formed their own individual queues for that.  I lined up again for Misaki.  I contemplated having her sign one of my CDs, but instead opted for her to sign my cheki.  The first thing she asked me was if I lived in Tokyo.  I told her yes, I live in Itabashi.  She kinda shrieked in a gleeful way.  Perhaps she lives nearby?  I then asked her which single the “Kiss Me, Love Me” song is on.  She said it wasn’t on any CD.  I gave her a little frown, and she told that meant I have to come and see them more often to hear it performed live.  I thanked her for the signed cheki, and she once again complimented my Japanese, and I was done.

On my way home I again tweeted a few photos from the event, and an hour later I got another “like” from Misaki.  It was a lot of fun, and I am really happy I went to see them.  I checked their schedule, and they are performing at Shinjuku Reny on Thursday.  FESTIVE will also be there, so I think I am going to make an appearance.  Perhaps I will make Hinari from FESTIVE a little jealous if she sees me hanging out with Misaki-chan.

Oh, and check out their official site: kissbee.net

CK in Tokyo