Archive for the ‘Iwasa Misaki’ Category

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


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

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


And the other day Wasamin tweeted this…

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

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

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

Anyway, on with the performance….

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CK in Tokyo


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CK in Tokyo


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Nishiyori Higashi

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

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

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

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

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

Signboard and sticker bonuses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(I’m in dire need of a haircut)

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

I even got a special Wasamin ‘neko’ drawing!

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

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

CK in Tokyo


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Before the Show

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

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

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

Part One (in brief) 

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

Part Two (the best part!)

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

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

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

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

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

The End 

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

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

CK in Tokyo


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CK in Tokyo


Concerts, Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 4th Solo Concert at Ebisu Garden Hall (2018/02/04)


Plus, Wasamin meets her fans a few days later…


(Cross-posted from Wasamin thread)
Okay, let’s finally do this! I’m sorry this post is coming so late. Usually I try to put up major Wasamin stories within a day or so, but this week I have been crushed with responsibilities, studying, and social stuff, so I barely had time to do the writeup. But alas, today is the beginning of a 4-day weekend…

The day finally came. It was the event Wasafans had been anticipating since late last year. The great thing about Wasamin’s solo concerts is that it’s the chance to see her perform on a big stage. We are also treated to the surprise of what pop-songs she will perform during the photo-op portion of the show. Of course there is also the possibility of a major announcement too.

Since this was Wasamin’s solo concert, the fan club was offered the exclusive opportunity to purchase “Ichigo Seats,” which not only guarantee a seat in the first three rows, but also come with other exclusive benefits. For this show, an Ichigo Seat for the matinee came with the opportunity to go to TBS radio and watch Wasamin record episodes of her weekly radio show. The evening Ichigo Seats came with a special “Wasamin Party,” which I talked about in the previous post. That said, this was the first time I didn’t purchase the Ichigo Seat for all shows. To make a long story short, 1) I had a mix-up with AKB handshake tickets, so I was trying to free up part of the day to use the handshake tickets I had accidentally purchased. 2) Ichigo Seats are quite expensive, so I decided I would be frugal and save myself 10000 yen. As a result, I bailed on the radio recording, and only went to the party. Luckily enough, my “regular” seat for the matinee was in the row right behind the Ichigo section. So from a seat standpoint, it didn’t really make much difference.

Ebisu Garden Hall is just across a walking bridge from Ebisu Station, in the same complex as the Yebisu Brewery Museum and many high-priced restaurants, including my favorite restaurant on the planet, Lawry’s. For some reason I had forgotten what time the matinee show started, arriving in Ebisu just before 11am. When I got to the hall, and only saw one other fan standing there, I realized I was a bit early. Luckily, there was a sign on the door stating that the goods booth would be open for early bids at 12pm. I passed the time watching people ice skate on the portable rink in the middle of the square. I went back and forth on whether to get all the new goods, despite the fact that the shirt and hoodie they were selling came in XL. Japanese XL is somewhat of a crapshoot for me, as sometimes they fit, and sometimes they don’t I considered blowing off the hoodie, but ultimately bought the full set since it also came with a bonus photo of Wasamin modeling all the goods. The irony was that ultimately the hoodie “kinda” fit, but the T-shirt is way too small. XL my ass! It is smaller than the M-size shirts Wasamin had for her first two concerts! Anyway, eventually it was show time.

The “hoodie” kinda fits me

I love the little Sanrio Enka character, too bad I really can’t wear this shirt.

Wasamin modeling all the new goods. Yes, I got the oshi-towel and the acrylic stand too

Another Wasa-ballpen, yatta! You got that if you pre-ordered a single at the venue.

My matinee seat was in the 4th row, which had a huge aisle right in front. Could this mean that I will have some “up close and personal” time with Wasamin? Here is the matinee setlist…

Matinee Show 2pm
01. Saba Kaido (6th Single)
02. Tomonoura Bojou (3rd Single)
MC 1 “Introductory MC”
03. Hi no Kuni no Onna (Sakamoto Fuyumi, 1991)
04. Kaze no Bon Koi Uta (Ishikawa Sayuri, 1989)
MC 2 “Where did people come from?”
05. Wakasa no Yado (6th Single c/w Memorial Ver.)
06. Ettou Tsubame (from Request Covers)
07. Kita no Yado Kara (from Request Covers)
MC 3 “Q: How many times has she performed Mujineki?”
08. Mujineki (1st Single)
(costume change, Wasamin recorded audio message)
Photoshoot Time!
09. Tenshi no Wink (Matsuda Seiko, 1985)
10. Touch (Iwasaki Yoshimi, 1985)
11. Sentimental Journey (YUKI, 2003)
12. Watashi ga Obasan ni Natte mo (Moritaka Chisato, 1992)
13. UFO (Pink Lady, 1977)
(end photo time)
MC 4 Goods Table
(Wasamin guitar section)
14. Taiyou ga Kureta Kisetsu (Aoi Sankaku Jouji, 1972)
15. Konayuki (Remio Romen 2006)
16. Chippokena Ai no Uta (Ohara Sakurako, 2006)
MC 5 “Talk about her acoustic “Love Live” concerts”
17. Watashi no Joukamachi (Koyanagi Rumiko, 1971)
18. Goodbye My Love (Onitsuka Chihiro, 2016)
MC 6 “Masaaki Hirao mini-tribute”
19. Kukou (Theresa Teng, 1974)
20. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara (2nd Single)
(end regular set)
VTR: Review of Wasamin’s first six singles, introducion of her 7th single)
EN1. Sado no Ondeko (7th Single)
MC 7 “Noting the debut of the new single”
EN2. Gomen, ne Tokyo (5th Single)
EN3. Hatsuzake (4th Single)

I have to admit, at the beginning it felt like “just another Wasamin concert.” It wasn’t until she got to the pop stuff and acoustic guitar stuff that I really started to get into it. A couple of those songs she had performed before, but it was really nice to hear her sing UFO. My favorite part was her performance of Goodbye My Love, which contains an English-spoken verse. I just melt when I hear Wasamin trying to speak English. The other question was whether or not she would perform the new song, Sado no Ondeko. Our question was answered during the Encore VTR, which was a retrospective of Wasamin’s past PVs, leading into an introduction of the new song. Her performance was spot on, despite the fact that she later said she was really nervous. Not only that, she is really demonstrative with her body movement while singing it. I am looking forward to seeing her perform it more, as it is quickly becoming my all-time favorite Wasa-single.

Wasamin is still diligently practicing on her guitar work, and ultimately she seems a lot more comfortable playing while singing. However, she completely screwed up on Konayuki to the point where she stopped, sighed, and then picked it back up, LOL.

That black dress was so cute! I love when she wears stuff that shows off her sexy little legs. The bummer was that during the photo-op portion of the show, Wasamin seemed to forget to come over near where I was sitting. I don’t know if it was on oversight, or she just took too long in the other sections, but I was in the perfect spot to get some awesome closeup shots, and she never came by.

Anyway, after a very short break, it was time to enter the venue for the evening show. Wasamin’s family was on hand for the finale, although I’m not sure where they sat. They are usually somewhere in the middle-back of the venue. My ticket was in the Ichigo section, on the opposite side of the stage from where I sat in the matinee. Here is the setlist for the evening show…

Evening Show 6pm
01. Hatsuzake (4th Single)
02. Gomen, ne Tokyo (5th Single)
MC 1 “Introductory MC”
03. Hi no Kuni no Onna (Sakamoto Fuyumi, 1991)
04. Kaze no Bon Koi Uta (Ishikawa Sayuri, 1989)
MC 2 “Wasamin’s visit to Ueno Zoo to see the Giant Panda”
05. Wakasa no Yado (6th Single c/w Memorial Ver.)
06. Ettou Tsubame (from Request Covers)
07. Kita no Yado Kara (from Request Covers)
MC 3 “Where did everyone travel from?”
08. Mujineki (1st Single)
(costume change, Wasamin recorded audio message)
Photoshoot Time!
09. Kamome ga Tonda Hi (Watanabe Machiko, 1978)
10. Watashi no Kare wa Hidarikiki (Asaoka Megumi, 1973)
11. Toshishita no Otokonoko (Candies, 1975)
12. Fuyu no Inazuma (Alice, 1977)
13. Pepper Keibu (Pink Lady, 1976)
(end photo time)
MC 4 Goods Table
(Wasamin guitar section)
14. Kabukichou no Joou (Shiina Ringo, 1998)
15. Heroine (???)
16. Kokoro no Tabi (Tulip, 1973)
MC 5 “Promotion of the bottled water company”
17. Watashi no Joukamachi (Koyanagi Rumiko, 1971)
18. Goodbye My Love (Onitsuka Chihiro, 2016)
MC 6 “Maasaki Hirao tribute”
19. Kukou (Theresa Teng, 1974)
20. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara (2nd Single)
(end regular set)
VTR: Review of Wasamin’s first six singles, introducion of her 7th single)
EN1. Sado no Ondeko (7th Single)
MC 7 “Story behind her green Kimono”
EN2. Tomonoura Bojou (3rd Single)
EN3. Saba Kaido (6th Single)

The main difference between the setlists were 1) songs 9-16 were completely different for each show (there are some gems in there too!), and 2) Songs 1-2 and encore songs EN2-EN3 were swapped in the later show Between the morning and evening setlists, I liked this one a lot more. “Hidarikiki” and “Otokonoko” are both crowd-pleasing covers she does a lot, and her cover of Pepper Keibu was awesome!

Despite being just one row closer, I had a much better angle to the stage, and a much better view overall. Plus, Wasamin did come over to where I was sitting, so I got a few nice closeup shots. This may have had something to do with why I enjoyed this show more.

I mentioned the black dress, which you can see in my photos. The other costume of note was the green Kimono she wore at the end of the show. That was a gift from Wasamin’s senpai Tagawa Toshimi, I believe it had something to do with the play Wasamin performed in last year in Osaka, which Shimi-san starred in.

FLOWERS: Here ya go…

Fan Club flowers, and then the row of flowers, which stretched all the was across the lobby (the pic shows about half of them)

At the end of the day I don’t even other critiquing Wasamin’s singing performance, as it is always spot-on. Her setlists have taken on somewhat of a predictable format, however there are enough surprises throughout the show to keep it interesting. It is a nice mix of enka, pop, and a few classic oldies. The 1000 seat venue was for the most part filled, although it wasn’t sold out. They were selling tickets at the venue before the show. So this seems like the appropriate size venue for her to perform in at this point. As for the ichigo seats, I like to get them, but the truth is I was fine with my non-Ichigo seat as well, so we will see what I will do in future concerts.

Post-show Event: Iwasa Misaki Handshake Event at Tower-mini, Diver City (2018/02/08)

It is always nice to be able to give Wasamin support and feedback after a show. Sometimes we get to do that, like at “Love Live,” but other times we have to wait until the next handshake event. Luckily, Wasamin is promoting her new single, and had a non-singing event scheduled in Odaiba. I actually got to Odaiba five hours early, and spent the day shopping, eating, and hanging out while I waited for the event. Diver City, and Odaiba in general, is a great place to pass the time. The Tower Records in the mall is kinda hidden. Luckily, I had been there before for KissBee, so I knew where it was. I was one of the first fans to arrive, and bought two CDs for two tickets. Wasamin eventually came out, sporting a fresh look. Her hair was black again, and cut a bit shorter.

1st Handshake: I had things to say to Wasamin, but of course I was sidetracked by the new hairstyle, so we spent most of the handshake talking about that. I then told her my favorite performances at the concert were Sado no Ondeko, Pepper Keibu, and Goodbye My Love. Wasamin immediately laughed and asked how her English was. I said “Jouzu and Kawaii!”

2nd Handshake: I told her I read her tweet when she talked about being really nervous when she performed the new song. I then said her performance was excellent. She squeezed my hand really tight; “Hontoni???” I gave her a big thumbs up. I could tell it meant something to her for fans to tell her that. And I really did love the performance!

Anyway, Wasamin is down in Western Japan this weekend. Next week begins the NagaraPro Enka Festival. She is doing a couple of events in Tokyo later in the week, leading up to the NagaraPro Concert at NHK Hall over the weekend. After that, we gear up for the big push of the new single. I’m not sure how many events I will be able to attend, given some of them conflict with my personal schedule, but I will try to make as many as I can.


CK in Tokyo


AKB48, Events, Iwasa Misaki Wasamin 4th Concert Pre-Game Festivities & A Quick Visit to Pacifico Yokohama For AKB (2018/02/03)


I had been worried about how this day would unfold ever since I realized the quandary I was in….

It all started back when the 50th Single Chara-Ani preorder was in its initial stages. It was the third round of applications, and I was trying to decide which days I wanted to attend. I knew I could not go to the February 4th event since it conflicted with Wasamin’s big concert. However, Wasamin usually doesn’t do an event the day before her big show since she needs to rehearse. So I decided to start putting in applications for the February 3rd event…

Unfortunately for me, around the day of the third round results, I received a mailer from the Wasamin fan club with a description of the “Ichigo Seat” benefits. (Ichigo Seat is kind of a VIP package, with guaranteed seat in the first few rows and other benefits and events) To my surprise, this time they were holding the “Ichigo” events on the 3rd instead of the day of the show. This meant that I really couldn’t go the the AKB handshake event on the 3rd, except I had already won four tickets. Shoot!

Ultimately I decided to only apply for “Ichigo” for one of Wasamin’s two concerts, as this could clear part of my day to go to Yokohama and use my handshake tickets on someone, most likely as “oshi-mashi” tickets as I didn’t know the time of my Wasamin events until a week and a half ago. So it was decided…sort of. I wouldn’t decide until the morning of the events if I would go to Yokohama before the Wasamin party, or afterwards…

If I went early, I could use two of my four tickets as scheduled, for Zunchan and Maichan. Among my early oshi-mashi candidates were Hidaka Yuzuki and Mio. If I went late, I could possibly make it in time to use my Akiyoshi ticket, and then oshi-mashi my other three tickets on Kaotan, Lemon, or maybe Chori. Ultimately I decided to go with the later schedule since Akiyoshi and Kaotan are my personal “2-top”

Off to the Wasa Party!!!!!

The snacks were kinda picked over at this point

The Wasamin Pre-Concert Party was set up similarly to the party they held on the third concert, except that it was being held in some random church just a stone’s throw from the entrance to Yasukuni Shrine. I arrived shortly before doors opened, there was a smatteringn of Wasafans milling around outside the church. Eventually we were let in, checked in, given a bottle of Wasawater, and led down to a small conference room in the basement of the church. We ate little snacks and listened to Wasa CDs while we waited for the event to begin. Eventually they announced the event was about to start. They had us call out for Wasamin, and we are all staring at the door waiting for her to burst through it……

But we didn’t notice that there was a second, more discreet entrance on the other side of the room. So Wasamin comes bouncing into the room, and we are ALL staring in the opposite direction, LOLOL! She was like “I came in, and nobody is looking at me!” She started off by modeling her outfit for us, which she had sorta previewed on Twitter a few minutes earlier. We did our infamous “water toast,” and then there was a 30-minute interview and Q&A session. Most of the questions asked by the interviewer focused on her turning 23 years old. She also spoke quite a bit about the making of the new music video for Sado no Ondeko.

As for the Q&A, the first thing we wanted to know was what the official lightstick color was for the new single. Wasamin originally decided pink, but the fans didn’t think that really matched a song with an Oni in it. So it was ultimately suggested and decided by the fans that the 7th single official color is purple. Fans also asked her about her recent trip to Ueno Zoo, as well as what Lovetan got her for her birthday. But Wasamin explained that she actually hasn’t hung out with Aika for a while, so they haven’t had the chance to exchange gifts yet.

After that it was time for our promised 2-shots. This would also be my chance to give Wasamin her birthday present. I asked Ichikawa-san, her manager if it was okay to give her a gift today, and she said no problem. I always have trouble deciding what I want to give her. I settled on a gift box of soaps and bath salts from Lush Cosmetics. I had so much that I wanted to say to her, but since this was a 2-shot, and they seemed to be rushing people through, I didn’t really get a chance to say much. Just a quick happy birthday, that I would be giving her a new fan letter soon, and finally that I love the new PV. I also wanted to tell her that I think a Fan Club trip/event at Sado Island, where she filmed the PV, would be awesome. I guess I will save that for next time. She has plenty of events planned in the next 3-4 weeks, so there will be lots of time to chat.

Anyway, I didn’t know if the event was over, and the line for 2-shots was still very long, so I decided to split and head to Yokohama. It was still early enough to make my Slot 6 ticket….

AKB48-Group 50th Single Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama

I was able to catch a limited-express train out to Yokohama, which got me to the event in record time. I hustled over to Pacifico, and since my tickets were already stamped in January I wouldn’t he to deal with that delay. I headed right over to Yuka-chan’s lane…

Slot 6

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 50) <2 tickets> I wouldn’t have time to visit any other lane this slot, so I decided to use two of my four tickets right here. The queue was going very slow since it was a signed photo slot. (which I lost) I finally made it to the front. I expected Yuka-chan to notice my Wasamin Ichigo badge, which I was still wearing, but instead she noticed my New England Patriots wool hat. I explained to her that it was an American Football Team, and that they were playing in the Super Bowl. She sounded as if she had heard of the Super Bowl, but not the team. In any case, I wanted to tell her that I saw the photos from her performance at Sasshi’s solo concert, and she looked cute and cool.

With that I went to dinner at Queen’s Square. I had almost 90 minutes until I could oshi-mashi my final two tickets in Slot 7. I knew I was using one on Kaotan, but I was still up in the air on the last ticket. Part of me wanted to use it on Lemon or Akiyoshi, but it isn’t too often I have oshi-mashi tickets. I like using them on someone I want to meet, or haven’t seen in a long time. With that spirit in mind….

Slot 7

Mutou Orin (Lane 102) At the last national event I shook hands with EVERY member of the 16th gen with the exception of Orin. Both Orin and Zunchan were excluded from the handshake event since they were on stage all day with Ijiri-san. But I did matome with Zunchan. I decided I would take the time to talk to Orin since she is one of the 16th gen I like, and I wanted to “complete the set,” in a matter of speaking…

I waited for the 30-minute mark so I could queue up, all the while watching my friend, and former Wasamin committee captain Okajiji-san circling her line. At about 6:59 people started jumping into the lane, so I ran in as quickly as I could and checked in. It wasn’t a long wait. Ultimately I told Orin that I had been to many 16th gen shows, and she always gives me such a great reaction at “high wave.” So I thanked her, just as I got pushed out. In the meantime, she pumped her fist and said “Yeahhh!!!” when I said that, so it was a successful meeting.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 8) I had plenty of time to journey to the opposite end of the halls, and Kaotan’s queue wasn’t too long either, although the three guys in front of me all had 8-12 tickets. While I was standing in line the guy behind my gestured to my Patriots hat and asked if I was from Boston. I told him I had never been to Boston in my life, but I don’t really like any of the California teams. It turned out he had spent some time in Boston, and actually spoke pretty good English, so we chatted away about the Patriots, and our histories with AKB while we waited in line. It turned out this was his first time ever meeting Kaotan, and he asked what she was like. I told him how she used to be very feisty, but as she has gotten older she has become very sweet and caring toward her fans. He noted that she has gotten much cuter as she has gotten older. Finally it was my turn…

Of course I started by wishing her a happy birthday. I told her that I really wanted to apply for her Seitensai, but I had school that evening. Kaotan grabbed on to my Wasamin Ichigo badge, and said “Wasamin’s concert is this weekend, right?” She then confirmed that Wasamin is my Kami-oshimen, but asked if she is next in line. LOL, I said she was. In the mean time she made me wish her a big Happy Birthday in English. I said it once, but she wanted it louder. That got the entire queue laughing.

The front-side of my Ichigo Badge. It caught many eyes as I walked through the venue

I waited a minute to see how my new friend Shota’s handshake went. I saw him gesturing toward me, and Kaotan looking at me, but I don’t know what was said. In any case, he said it was an enjoyable experience, and she was really cute. With that I took my leave. I had a long journey home, and I was really thirsty.

I know I’m a bit late on this Wasamin concert report, but I promise I will get to it VERY soon!


CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Concerts, Iwasa Misaki, Minyo Girls A Quick Update; A Theater Show, and a Cross-Promotion


A few things…

I wanted to cross promote a YouTube Show I was on last week.  My buddy David (DLJ) from New School Kaidan and I had a nice little conversation.  David and I have hung out in Japan, and when FESTIVE came to San Francisco he bunked at my condo.  In the audio-only video we talked about living in Japan, Wasamin (of course) AKB48, and indie idols, particularly Minyo Girls.  Please check it out!!!


Earlier this month I happended to win my 40th theater show.  It was once again Team Kenkyuusei (16th Gen) plus a few of the Draft Nominees as special guests.  I have discussed this theater show so many times that it feels like well-covered ground.  However, the cool thing was that it was just a couple of days before the January 6-7 AKB Handshake Events at Makuhari Messe.  So I got great reactions when I met the 16th Gen members (I met ALL of them, except for Orin) at the handshake events since they remembered me from the theater shows.  You can read about those interactions a couple of posts down from this one.

And of course I picked up the commemorative photo pack as a keepsake.


Finally, I am starting to get the occasional comment, which is nice.  I was beginning to get really discouraged because it seemed like I was getting readers, but nobody ever bothered to comment.  So please, comments are welcome!

And since somebody asked, here are the best places to keep track of Wasamin’s schedule.

Wasamin’s official Nagara Pro event page

Also, Ichikawa-san, Wasamin’s manager’s official blog is a great place for news and info…

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Reservation Events, Part II (2018/01/11-14)

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Wasamin wrapped up her week and a half of promotional events with two appearances on Thursday.  Then after a “day off” where she recorded a television program, and an event in Osaka, (which I did not attend, see the previous post) she finished up with two shows at Sunshine City in Ikebukuro.

Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Reservation Events; Nakano and Shinjuku (2018/01/11)

This would be the seventh consecutive day of Wasamin doing promotional events. This would also be the second consecutive day I would be attending both events. First heading out to Nakano in the mid-afternoon, and then going directly to Shinjuku, where I would be conducting a little business, and then finding two friends who would decide to accompany me to the mini-live. First up, Nakano…

I have been to Nakano Broadway many many times. Not only is it home to a major branch of Mandarake, but it is the original home of Trio2, which back in the day was a mecca for collecting AKB merchandise and pics. Not to mention it is right across the street from Nakano SunPlaza, which was a frequent stop for the Hello!Project groups when they performed in Tokyo. I saw Morning Musume there a couple of times in the late 2000s, as well as C-ute during the “1,2,3” Tour.

Meikyoku-do, the Enka shop Wasamin would be performing in, is on the “hidden” 2nd floor of Nakano Broadway. I saw that because the escalators there do not stop on the 2nd floor, going straight from level 1 to level 3. You have to take a side staircase to get on the 2nd level. But I knew that already. I had never taken a good look at this shop before. And boy was it tiny!

Of all the little Enka shops Wasamin has performed inside of, this has to be the smallest of all. Not only that, it is filled, floor to ceiling with random collectibles and souvenirs, many of which had nothing to do with Enka. Actually, I thought it was quite adorable. I actually got their early, and was able to sit front and center. I was literally inches away from Wasamin while she performed. Here is the matinee setlist.

Setlist: Nakano
1. Mujineki
2. Ringo no Uta
3. Wakare no Yokan
4. Saba Kaido

It was a special treat to hear Wakare no Yokan, since it is a song Wasamin has only recently started to perform. Also, we were all instructed not to cheer loudly since it was such a small shop and it may bother the neighboring shops. So most of us either 1) did a very low cheer, or 2) pantomimed cheering. Both had Wasamin laughing. I had two handshake tickets, and for the first one I commented on how cute the shop was. I pointed to the pictures of Mizumori Kaori-san right above her head, as well as the shop’s Alcohol collection. Yes, they had a full assortment of booze on one wall. Wasamin asked me if I liked drinking. Of course! I usually go to the bar before her evening events. For my second handshake, since I know Wasamin was once an H!P fan, I told her my experiences of the concerts across the street. Wasamin asked me if I still liked H!P, but I told her not anymore.

It was a small place, but I took off after my second ticket. The shop proprietor stopped me to thank me for coming as I left, which was nice.

Tower Records Shinjuku


I got to Shinjuku early since I was meeting a friend for coffee. Also, another friend of mine was nearby getting his smartphone repaired. So after talking with my friend for a while, I got ready to leave to go to the event. I asked her if she was interested in going to the event. To my surprise, she emphatically said “YES, I want to meet Wasamin!” She is well familiar with AKB48, but has never seen any 48-group event in person before, so she was excited to meet a “real- live idol.” Around the same time, my other friend (A Sasshi fan) had finished his business, and announced he was coming to the event too, since he hadn’t talked to Wasamin since she was in AKB. Awesome! Two friends!

We got to the event around 20 minutes early. My friend Aya was in awe of how small the venue was, and we were right against the stage. She asked why I wasn’t wearing my Happi, so I offered to let her wear it instead. Just then, I turned around a saw an unexpected familiar face, or so I thought. I walked over and whispered to one of my Wasafan friends; “That’s Miki from Minyo Girls, isn’t it?” Yes it is! Miki is the Shamisen player in Minyo Girls, who I have talked about often on my blog, and in the Stage48 thread I created for the group. She was hanging out, talking with the fans. I caught her eye and she waved to me. So cool, Wasamin had a “celebrity” guest, LOL. Here was the evening setlist…

Setlist: Shinjuku
1. Gomen, ne Tokyo
2. Niji wo Watatte
3. Toshishita no Otokonoko
4. Saba Kaido

Niji wo Watatte is one of the most fun songs to hear Wasamin perform since the fans chant her name between each line of the verse. It was also a treat to hear “Otokonoko” since that is another song she seldom performs. I was watching my friend Aya during the performance, and she had the greatest smile on her face. I could tell she was having a great time. In fact, Wasamin actually talked to her at one point during the show noting that it was her first time at an event, yet she was wearing a Wasa-Happi. She would find out later that it was my coat.

So for my first handshake Wasamin thanked me for bringing to fans to the event, and also noted that I brought Derek to the event the day before. She really appreciates that I bring friends to see her. For the second handshake I had mentioned that Frank was also in town, and wanted to come see her, but came down with the flu at the last minute. She gave me the “crying” gesture. But I told her that he would try to come to an event when he returns. I forgot to mention that I have another Wasa-fan friend coming to town next week. (Kenjimaru, who she knows) Hopefully he will make to an event too.

Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Reservation Event at Sunshine City, Ikebukuro (2018/01/14)

This event was the culmination of a week and a half of mini-live events, beginning in Northern Japan, and after four days of Tokyo events, a quick trip to Osaka before finishing here. Wasamin didn’t have a live performance on Friday, but it turned out she was recording a television program that day with her senpai from Nagara Pro.

Considering this event was being held at Sunshine City’s fountain square, many fans were anticipating an announcement of some sort. This is usually where Wasamin holds her furage and/or press events, not to mention it is a high-profile place to hold an event. Sunshine City is a huge mall, and on the weekend it is slammed with shoppers. Ultimately there were no big announcements. Just a big live event, with a nice turnout.

I had a weird run-in with the staff of Shinseido, who run the Sunshine City events. When you preorder CDs for this event, you get to draw for priority seating. I filled out my preorder form, purchasing three CDs. At this point the clerk began asking me a question. I was reasonably certain I knew what he asked. He was saying that I can only select priority seating for one of the two events. It’s dumb, but you have to fill out two separate preorder forms to get two priority seats. In any case, I told him the last event. But he is telling me I don’t understand the question. So I repeat, the last event. Again, I don’t understand. I tell the guy I want to go to both events. And he is saying I need two forms. He is holding up the forms. So I say fine, I want a ticket for the last event. Again, I don’t understand. So now I think I really don’t understand, so I tell him how I am going to distribute my handshake tickets at the event. Now he is frustrated, so he gets a clerk who speaks English. She explains to me what they are asking, which is what I thought they were asking. I said. “I told him three times already, I want a ticket to the last event!” It just pissed me off that I did understand the question, answered appropriately, and he treated me like I was an idiot. It was compounded when he told me my total was 3702 yen, and he gave me a confused look when I put 5202 yen in the tray. I mean, c’mon! I got the last laugh, however, drawing priority entry #3. I got to be front row center, and actually had a pretty good vantage point for the early show too, although I was standing. Anyway, here are the setlists…

1:00 Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka ver.)
3. Ihoujin
4. Saba Kaido

3:30 Setlist
1. Mujineki
2. Toshishita no Otokonoko
3. Kikyou (Iwasa Misaki ver.)
4. Saba Kaido

Whenever Wasamin performs at a big mall like this, I love to people watch, watching the reactions to the passers-by. Quite a few of them will recognize her from her AKB days, and get really excited. It’s just neat to see the smiles on the faces of people who are seeing Wasamin perform live for the first time. And again with the “Otokonoko” song. I wonder if this is a preview of one of the new single B-sides?

I ultimately had three handshake tickets for the two events. I used one in the early show, and told Wasamin that I ate Saba the previous evening. Suddenly she said “Oh yeah, I saw your tweet last night!” (I had tweeted a pic of the saba and linked it to her) She asked if I went to dinner alone, but I told her that I was with friends at Iso Maru Suisan, which is a 24-hour izakaya chain that specializes in fish, particularly grilled shellfish. Wasamin is well familiar with this restaurant chain, and seemed to be somewhat surprised that I ate there. But I actually eat there all the time, and have for quite a while.

For my second ticket I told her about my adventure going out to Kumagaya to see Minyo Girls and Hayabusa on Saturday. She remembered that Kumagaya was Nittoh Mall, and asked who I shook hands with. She laughed when I told her that I only shook hands with Minyo Girls. Finally, for my last ticket I mentioned that it was finally my last day of vacation, and that I would be heading back to school on Monday. I told her the classes I was taking, although in the moment I forgot the word for “culture,” so I described the class as the study of Japanese people, LOL. She said my Japanese was getting to be very good, to which I responded “Chotto….” I wasn’t feeling too confident in that moment, especially after that interaction with the Shinseido dude.

Wasamin will be resuming her promotional tour over the next two weekends with three events in Chiba. I won’t be able to make the first two, but I may be able to make the last one. We’ll see. But after that, it will be Wasamin’s big concert at Ebisu Garden Hall. Exciting!

CK in Tokyo


Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Reservation Events, Part One (2018/01/09-10)


After a 1-month Wasa-vacation, I finally got a chance to visit with her on Tuesday. <3

Yes, the last time I spent time with Wasamin was at her Fan Club boat event on December 9th. It was just two days later that I would take off to California for 2 1/2 weeks, returning just in time for New Years Eve. When I got home, aside from dropping my bags, I was most looking forward to checking my mailbox, hoping there would be a ticket to Wasamin’s New Year’s Live in Ginza with Mizumori and Hayabusa, but unfortunately I got skunked for the 3rd year in a row :(

However, there WAS a correspondence from Wasamin in my mailbox. It was the latest edition of Misaki Magazine! Here are a few pages…

I was surprised there was such a tiny mention of the San Francisco event. The magazine focused on her Love Live Concert, and the Boat event. But it’s a really nice magazine, and I always look forward to receiving it. A couple of days later I received this…

A New Year’s Card from Wasamin, yatta! I got one of these last year as well. Anyway…

This past weekend, Misaki started her new single promotions, beginning with three days in Northern Japan, performing in Morioka, Aomori, and Miyagi. Beginning Monday she started her Tokyo portion of the tour. Two stops each Monday through Thursday. Then after a day off, she goes to Osaka on Saturday, then back to Tokyo on Sunday which looks to be an important day since she is performing at Sunshine City. That is usually where Wasamin makes big announcements and visits with the press. So I am guessing we may be hearing the new song, or at least finding out the title. Anyway, here is her schedule from yesterday (Monday)

1/8 Cultural Broadcasting Building, 12pm Mini-Live (w/ Hayabusa)
(The rest are mini-live plus handshake event)
1/8 Ario Nishiarai, 7pm
1/9 Yoro-do Asakusa, 2pm
1/9 Tower Gran Tree Musashi Kosugi, 7:30p
1/10 Music Shop Dan Higashi-Jujo, 2pm
1/10 Tower Records Ikebukuro, 7pm
1/11 Meikyoku-Do Nakano, 3pm
1/11 Tower Records Shinjuku, 7pm
1/13 Kishiwada Talktown Osaka, 1pm, 3:30pm
1/14 Sunshine City Ikebukuro, 1pm, 3:30pm

She also has a few appearances scheduled in Chiba toward the end of January, including her monthly challenge campaign. BTW, this was the Setlist for Tuesday’s performance in Asakusa

Yoro-do Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Gakusai Jidai
3. Wakasa no Yado
4. Saba Kaido

In one of the MCs Wasamin was going on an on about how her manager is a very interesting person, and that is always surprised by her manager’s stories. Of course Ichikawa-san got all embarrassed, since Wasamin was implying that she was weird, LOL. For the rest she was promoting her upcoming concert, as well as the rest of the events this week.

It was a relatively small crowd. Then again, it was in the middle of a work day. Perhaps she will get more people in the evening, and on Sunday. I chose not to go yesterday because I was really tired from the weekend, not to mention the rain. As for tonight, I just didn’t feel like trekking out to Yokohama. I will probably go to most, if not all of the remaining Tokyo events this week.

It should be noted that like with Saba Kaido, Wasamin has a stamp card for this single. Among the prizes are an oshi-towel, tote bag, and a Jacket! But you need to buy A LOT of CDs for that one. I bought two CDs today, and had two handshakes….

For the first handshake, Wasamin welcomed me back, and I told her a little about my trip, mainly about the weather being nice in California, warm enough that I could go swimming. She was like “Ehhhhh???” When I looped back around Wasamin remembered that the NagaraPro Sakura Festival is in Itabashi, so she asked if I lived close to the venue. I told her I could almost walk to it. (Actually, it would be quite a long walk, better to take the train) But I told her I would be there since she will be in my neighborhood. Well, technically she will be in my neighborhood tomorrow as well since Music Shop Dan is probably closer to my house than Itabashi Cultural Hall.

Anyhow, I took off and went to Senso-ji to enjoy some New Year’s festival food. I ate grilled fish and grilled crab. Yum! I would be ready for a Wasa-doubleheader on Wednesday.


Higashi-Jujo and Ikebukuro Reservation Events! (2018/01/10)

I finally participated in a full day of Wasamin pre-order events, after missing out on Monday entirely and only attending the early Tuesday event. Since there are ten Tokyo-area events this week, I am trying to pace myself. Although I promised Wasamin I would go to the Nakano event today (Thursday) and I am meeting a friend in Shinjuku in the afternoon, which is right by where she is performing in the evening. So I guess I will be attending both shows today too.

The first stop was one of Wasamin’s usual enka shop stops, Music Shop Dan in Higashi-Jujo, which is almost within walking distance to my apartment. I met up with my friend Derek for a little New York Pizza lunch before heading over. I have been to this shop to see Wasamin a couple of times before, and they usually hold the performance in a small community center around the corner. However, this time they would be holding the event inside the tiny shop. Like the little Enka shop in Warabi, they had to squeeze us in.

Here is the setlist…

Higashi-Jujo 2pm
1. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara
2. Blue Light Yokohama
3. Kita no Hotaru
4. Saba Kaido

I wanted to tell Wasamin about my interaction with Shiichan and Myao on Saturday. Since I know Wasamin is good friends with Myao, I made the story primarily about her, and explained that Myao thought I was an HKT fan since I was wearing my HKT48 T-shirt, but I corrected her and told her I am a Wasamin-oshi! Wasamin and Ichikawa-san both laughed,and I told them that Shiichan was also part of the conversation. She asked me who else was in the lane, and kinda giggled when I mentioned Chori. Also, Wasamin was happy I brought Derek again, and thanked me for helping him with what he wanted to tell her in Japanese. I would head home and relax for a while beforgoing to Ikebukuro for the evening event.

Tower Ikebukuro 7:30pm
1. Mujineki
2. Nora
3. Tomonoura Bojou
4. Saba Kaido

Wasamin had a considerable larger crowd for the evening show. (I suspect the same thing occurred on Tuesday night, and will probably happen tonight) I showed up just before showtime after having a couple cocktails at The Hub. Wasamin was wearing her black Kimono, which is one of my favorites. When I told her it was one of my favorite Kimonos, she asked me how many points. I wasn’t sure how to answer that, so I told her “full points.” LOL, I think I made the point.

Most of the fans were still filling out their pre-orders, so I looped the line. I mentioned that Nakano Broadway is where I used to buy all of my Wasamin photos when she was in AKB. Trio II in Nakano Broadway was AKB Photo Mecca back then. She asked if that meant I was coming tomorrow, which I confirmed. I kinda wanted to make this an early night, so I took off right after my second ticket.

So back on the horse tonight, so to speak. I will have two more events to report. As for Sunday, I’m not sure how that is going to play out. I do want to see Wasamin, and will definitely be at the early event. But I am torn between hanging out for the second event, or taking off to see Minyo Girls in Suidobashi. I guess I will let the time make the determination, as it will depend on how late Wasamin’s first event goes.


CK in Tokyo