Archive for the ‘HKT48’ Category

Events, HKT48, SKE48 The SKE/NMB/HKT Makuhari Messe Extravaganza (2017/11/23)

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(SKE 21st Single Akushukai, NMB 3rd Album Shamekai, HKT 10th Single Akushukai)

It was a ‘perfect storm’ of events at Makuhari Messe on Thursday, which happened to be Japan’s Labor Thanksgiving Holiday. SKE, NMB, and HKT all had major events to support their latest releases. For HKT, it also served as sort of a kickoff for their 6th Anniversary Celebration. For the most daring of wota, this could be an exercise of how you can handle going to three group events at the same time. This was compounded by the fact that while SKE and NMB were in neighboring halls, HKT was in a different building entirely, on the other side of the property. As for me, I had meticulously planned my day far in advance, scheduling all of my HKT tickets for the morning and early afternoon, and all of my SKE tickets for the evening. (I didn’t have any NMB tickets) So I didn’t need to worry about going back and forth from event to event. I basically stayed at HKT all day, and moved over to the main halls after 4pm.

The was the first Tokyo event celebrating HKT’s 10th single, Kiss wo Matsushikanai no Deshouka?. The have a second Tokyo event in early January. I had 14 tickets for today, ranging from the first slot through slot five (including the lunch slot) However, it was announced a couple of days earlier that Rikopi would not be attending the January event, so her tickets could be used on this day instead. Since I had one January ticket for her, that made 15 tickets to use today. I know I have said this before, but I HATE going to Slot 1 at these events. It requires me to get on a very early train, something I don’t love doing on a weekend or holiday. But when you favorite member is scheduled early, you tend to want to go early. In any case, I got there on time, and got my tickets stamped. (The girl initially questioned the absence of my middle name, but the supervisor said no problem) With nine minutes to go before the gate closed, I had two tickets for the same lane…

Slot One

‘Group Lane’ Akiyoshi Yuka/Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 23) With less than nine minutes, I wasn’t sure if I would have time to loop this line, so I decided just to use both tickets at once. When I was five away from the front, both Rikopi and Yuka had already spotted me and started waving, since the guard was creating this weird delay between fan visits. When I finally got to the front, it was an English buffet from the girls. Of course the first thing I noticed was that Yuka-chan had cut her hair short, so I went on and on about how cute it was, at which point Rikopi began playing with her hair. Oh, and I might note that Rikopi was wearing a Jack Daniels T-shirt, which I found quite humorous. Since the guard was delaying the next fan after I was pushed out, they kept taking and flirting with me until I was a good 30 meters away. In the meantime, I met up with one of the heads of Yuka-chan’s birthday committee (who is REALLY cute!) since she wanted to give me a copy of the birthday scrapbook. It is a really nice book, professionally done. Eight pages total, with photos, trivia, and an Akiyoshi quiz/crossword on the back.

There were two long queues in the back of the venue, one for goods, the other for pics. I wanted to see what kind of goods they had, but couldn’t get anywhere near the sign. I would check it out later. I also met up with my friend Yukikaze, who is a Rikopi fan, but also a member of the Wasamin fan club. I wanted to confirm with him what I had read on the message board about Rikopi’s January tickets.

Slot Two

 

Yamamoto Mao (lane 2) I bought this ticket since I had such great time meeting Mao last Summer at the HKT National Event. But it had been quite a few months since I had that ‘kami’ experience. I wondered if the same ‘electricity’ would still exist. Her queue wasn’t very big, so I lined up right at the beginning of the slot. While I waited, I noticed Ui Mashiro was staring at me from over in the first lane. She wasn’t smiling, or waving, she was just staring at me. I got a weird vibe from her, so I avoided her gaze. In the meantime, the moment Mao saw me she began jumping up and down in excitement. Yes!!! This is precisely the attitude that inspired me to get a ticket for her in the first place. So I explained to her that she made such an impression on me last Summer, that I wanted to see her again. She was genki, and thankful, and at the end I was very happy I got that ticket. And yes, I do want to see her again.

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 9) I always go into Bibian’s lane not knowing what to say, and then coming up with something at the last second. Imamura was in the lane next to her, with nobody in her queue. Poor Maria, she was wrapped in a blanket looking cold and lonely. As I got closer to the front I noticed Bibian was fascinated the the cosplay (I guess you could call it cosplay) the guy in front of me was wearing. So I commented to Bibian that he was wearing very interesting clothes, and that he looked like Sherlock Holmes. Just then, Bibian lit up; Yes! Holmes-san!!! So I used my ten seconds to gossip about another fan. Sounds good.

Slot Three

 

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 8) I had two tickets for third slot, and they were in neighboring lanes. I have been kinda taxed to come up with things to talk with Maichan about as well, although last event I was saved by the Hawks winning the Japan Series. In any case, struggling with what to say, I just blurted out that her hat was cute. She was like “really, you like it?” “Maichan always wears cute clothes!” I had another ticket for Maichan next slot. Could I come up with more to say?

By the way, while I was waiting in line for Mai, I had a good view of Sakura working with her fans. I admit that I am not the biggest Sakura fan by a longshot, but Sakura DOES try very hard to be genki and connect with her fans. I almost didn’t recognize her, since I am not used to seeing her interact with fans. She is much different than how she comes across on stage on on television.

 

Tomonaga Mio (Lane 7) I was really excited to see Mio since I saw her perform recently at the AKB theater. I wanted to tell her how much I liked her performance. I actually did. It was my first time seeing her perform in the theater live, and I thought she was adorable. When my turn came, Mio was smiling, hardly reacting. Hmm, I thought she would remember seeing me at the theater. “I saw you perform with Team 4!” Still not much of a reaction. “I wrote to the ticket center that you were the show MVP!” THAT got the reaction. “Yatta!” as she lifted her hand for a high-five. I broke through, so I was happy. I know Mio sorta has a rep for not being the most exciting handshake experience, but do really like her. So I will go the extra mile in order to make a connection.

Slot Four

 

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) <2 tickets> Including those morning group tickets, I would have seven meetings wi Yuka-chan today, so I better have a lot to talk about. Of course I could always help her with her English. So for the first ticket I told her that the group slot was a lot of fun, and that I do really like her hair. The short hair, coupled with the sexy outfit she had on, really made her look more mature. Of course, she still has that babyface of hers. I also mentioned that I really liked Rikopi’s Jack Daniel’s T-shirt, and explained that it is a famous American whiskey. I quickly looped around, since her line was pretty short. It was at this time I told her that I would be going to California for Winter vacation. She aid that she didn’t know that was where I was from, which kind of surprised me, so she asked when I was coming back, and I told her before New Year’s.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 8) For my second ticket, not sure what to talk about with Maichan, I decided to expand on the last conversation. I mentioned that I oftem look at her social media, since she is always wearing ‘cute’ outfits. This is actually true…well, partially true. The truth is that I often look at her social media since I think Mai is extremely sexy, and I think she picks out clothes that emphasize her body very well. But couldn’t say it to her that way, could I? Could I? I got pushed out rather quickly this time, so it hardly mattered.

It was around this time that I ran into my friend Panda, who had his usual stack of Mikurin tickets. He was also going back and forth from the HKT and SKE events. The queue for goods had gotten considerably smaller, so we decided to check out what they had for sale….

At first glance, it a lot of senbatsu stuff, and a bunch of T-shirts, which I usually ignore since that rarely have my size. They did have new 6th Anniversary keychains for all of the members, so I decided I would get one for Yuka-chan. They also had gacha balls, where you could win a small member pin, and a guitar pick. But it was random, and I was only interested in getting Yuka-chan. As we exited the goods area, I noticed that the T-shirts all came in XL size. Wait a second! I took a better look at the 6th Anniversary T-shirts. Oh my god, they are all modeled after famous Hard Rock logos! One of them was even tie-dyed. This changes everything! The ‘Nirvana’ shirt was cool, but I have never really liked them. The main logo was an AC/DC version, but I didn’t like that it prominently said “ROCK”, and not HKT48. Since the last shirt was based on the logo of a band I used to really like a long time ago, the choice became clear.

I got the ‘Metallica’ version. It is the least colorful, but it ticked every other box of what I like in a shirt. I really would have liked to have gotten them all, but I didn’t want to overspend. Perhaps if I get another opportunity, I will pick up another one.

Lunch Slot

 

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) I wanted to show off my new Yuka-chan keychain. She was like “Oh, you got it!” Yuka grabbed on to it to get a better look. It is small, but she looks really cute on it. I also mentioned that I got the T-shirt.

By the way, Toyonaga Aki was in the next lane over. Not only did she look really cute, she was really outgoing with her fans. I have met her before, but it was back when she was a relatively new kenkyuusei. My, how she has blossomed. Just a mental note; I may want to meet her again in the future


‘Rikopi Challenge’ Posters were hung all around her lane

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 15) <2 tickets> I had decided that I would use that ‘extra’ ticket that I was suddenly tasked with using in this slot. However, I think a lot of people had the same idea, as it was pretty much the longest queue I had ever seen for Rikopi. My friend Yukikaze informed me that Rikopi would also be holding the “Rikopi Challenge” with the fans in her lane. What the hell is that? He tried to explain it to me, and I got the gist, but I couldn’t understand just enough to make me apprehensive about it. I decided to start out by using only one ticket. Since the Lunch Slot is short, I ran the risk of not being able to use the other ticket, but oh well. When I got to the front, it was basically another handshake. Of course this was Rikopi, so there was lots of English, and goofing around. I told her that her T-shirt was awesome, and asked if she had ever tried Jack Daniels before. She said that one time she had a little bit. Hmmm, not sure I’m entirely believing her. I told her that I drink it all the time, LOL. The good news was that there was still time left in the slot, so i was able to requeue and use my January ticket. It was at this time that I asked her about the Rikopi Challenge. So she stretched her hand and said “Let’s play Janken” After three ties, she won, which meant I had to play a batsu game. The punishment was basically her slapping my wrist with her fingers. If I had won, she would have given me a special message, or blow me a kiss.

Slot Five

This would be my final slot before switching over to SKE. While waiting I watched some of the special stages the members do at the event. People were queuing for these very early, and the viewing area was always packed. So while I walked by during a few of the events, i only watched one for an extended period since Bibian was on stage, along with Imamura Maria, Yamauchi Yuna, Ui Mashiro, and another member I couldn’t recognize since I was pretty far back. They had a contest on who was most skilled at playing the recorder. Amazingly, Bibian was actually quite good at it.

A short time later I had a random fan walk up to me and ask me if Akiyoshi was my oshimen. I said yes. He reached into his bag and pulled out an Akiyoshi gacha pin to give me. SCORE! And I didn’t even have to try to win one. Unfortunately, he only gave me the pin, and not the guitar pick, but who am I to complain? I had three tickets for the last slot, two for Yuka-chan, and my fifth Rikopi ticket of the day. Sheesh! That was kind of an anomaly, I didn’t plan to see her so much.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) <2 tickets> My last two tickets for Yuka-chan, for the first one I showed her my gacha pin. She asked if I actually won it at the machine, but I explained to her that I got it as a gift. For my last ticket, I told her that I really liked her sweater, and that she is a very nice dresser. She thanked me, and asked when I would see her again. I told her I would see her at the January event.

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 15) Running out of stuff to say, I told Rikopi about my Winter Vacation plans. Her initial reaction was almost like a panic. She was like “You are coming back, right???” I said, don’t worry, I am coming back to Japan. For some reason she laughed at the way I said it, but I’m not sure why.

I was finally done with all of my HKT tickets, and I had 90 minutes until I needed to be at SKE, so I hing around in the HKT venue for a while, running into BigC and Panda. I also waited until the end of the slot so I could wave goodbye to Yuka-chan with the rest of her fans. After that I slowly made my way across the bridge to the main halls, grabbing a snack at the conbini along the way, and quickly meeting up with my friend Nori, who was exclusively at the NMB event.


From the SKE48 costume display area

This was the second Tokyo event promoting the Igai ni Mango single. The first event was all the way back in July. I got most of my tickets for the first event, and only got these tickets after I reserved my HKT stuff, so I knew there wouldn’t be any overlap. I had four tickets total, but there was a dinner break between the slots. So it would basically be two tickets, then a long wait, then the last two tickets. Instead of by slot, I will report these by member.

Oh, and it was around slot A4 and into the dinner break that Yuasa was announcing the next single senbatsu via twitter, so I hoped (in vain) that I would be congratulating the girls at some point. Oh, and one other interesting note. I forgot to get my tickets stamped, and had no problem whatsoever using them in the lanes. However, it should be noted that I do have a Japanese identification, and almost everything on it matches the info on my tickets.

Slots A4-A5

Tani Marika (Lane 17) When I got toward the front of the queue, I noticed there was a cameraman near her, occasionally filming. In any case, I decided to play with her a little bit. Marika immediately noted that she has seen a lot of me lately. So I told her that last week I tried her Cup Ramen recipe (from the AKB recipe event a couple of weeks ago) She asked how it came out. “Oishii!!” I got a big thumbs up. Nice.

When I was waiting for her in the last slot, once again she was being followed around my a cameraman. So I asked her what the filming was about. She initially played dumb with me. I said that I saw the camera, and asked if they were making a movie about her. She still played dumb, so I basically said that I want to see a “Documentary of Tani” That she liked. LOL.

In-between slots I did check out the goods line, although it was the exact same stuff I saw in July. 90% of it was sold out too. I could have picked up a Kaotan oshi towel if I wanted, but I have enough oshi towels in my life already, so bail.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 13) For the first ticket I asked her which song I should vote for at Request Hour. Personally, I would vote for Matsumurabu in a second if it was eligible, but it isn’t. So she recommended Koko de Ippatsu. Interestingly, she didn’t recommend Koi Yori mo Dream. I wonder why? Per usual, Kaotan immediately asked me how many tickets I have, and if I would be seeing her in both slots. This time, I could answer affirmatively. So she was happy. BTW, Kaotan’s lane was right next to Oya Masana. This would be Masanya’s final handshake event. I was bummed that I didn’t get a ticket for her today, but I did see her couple of times recently. And she did spot me in Kaotan’s queue. Anyway…

After a long and tiring 10-hour day, I was finally on my last ticket. Since I am sure Detective Kaotan would want to know, I told her my Holiday plans. Interestingly, she immediately responded “You are spending Christmas with family?” Yep. “When are you coming back to Japan? January?” No, December, the 29th. I will see you in January. “Good, enjoy California!

I contemplated sticking around for Masanya’s farewell, but it meant sticking around for at least another 90 minutes. Normally I wouldn’t really care, but I DO have a history with Masanya that goes back to the early days of SKE, and in that respect I really wanted to be there. However, I was exhausted, hungry, and I had Japanese studying that I needed to get done. So I decided not to wait around. I did see the ceremony on Kaotan’s Periscope, so that was a nice consolation.

So that’s it for me and the 48-groups in 2017. It was been an extremely exciting year. And the next events kick off in the first week of January. In the meantime, I do have a few Wasamin events coming up before I head to Cali, including her ‘Love Live’ acoustic concert this weekend.

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48-Group 49th Single #Sukinanda Individual Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama. (2017/11/05)

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Back to Yokohama for the second half of the 48-groups big handshake weekend. This time I had a few more tickets than on Saturday, and I had a variety of different prizes I could potentially win. 1-shot videos, 2-shot selfies, autographed member recipe cards, and the autographed alternate CD jacket. The question was whether or not I would be lucky and win at least one of each prize. I also took pictures of a bunch of the member recipe cards. Let’s get right into the action…

SLOT 2

Tani Marika (Lane 53) I only had the one Slot 2 ticket, so I didn’t really need to get to the venue until after 11am. Tani didn’t have too big of a queue. I checked in, drew on the lottery, and won. Good start! It was a choice of 1-shot video, or 2-shot selfie. Since I suck at taking selfies, and Tani, is so funny, I chose the video…

Looks like I got a girlfriend, eh??? Yatta! In that case, I better grab some Tani gear ASAP! I asked Tani if she was still a Soft Bank Hawks fan, and she replied affirmatively by exclaiming yes and pumping her fist. So I gave her a quick “omedetou” before getting pushed out. In the meantime, I ran into Matto, as well as Naruse . I also ran into a Hong Kong fan who I believe I met once before, but I don’t remember his name. Oh, and I signed a birthday card for Marika (as well as Bibian) and her fans gave me some Tani tissues!

 

SLOT 3

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 55) I decided to queue up early of Zunchan’s lane since it has a tendency to get very long. I lined up around 20 minutes early, just as Aramaki Misaki was finishing up with her last fan. I didn’t win the selfie/video prize, which wasn’t too big of a surprise since she is a bit harder to win for. Anyway, a short time later Zunchan entered her booth. What the hell, she is 20 minutes early? She wasn’t there to start meeting the members, she was there to decorate her booth. Balloons, streamers, toys, stuffed animals. It is amazing watching her do all of this. And it takes her over 10-15 minutes to get it all done. In the meantime, everyone from the neighboring queues are also watching and laughing in amazement. Even Shoji Nagisa came in to see what she had done to her booth. That isn’t even all. She then has a bunch of handwritten signs that she asks the staff to strategically place all over the lane. It is absolutely amazing what she does, and you can see it all from halfway across the hall!

 

Needless to say when it came to my turn I told her I watched her put her booth together, and that it was amazing and totally cute. I then said that her bedroom at home is probably the same. LOL.  She basically laughed along with me. Later on I took my friend Nori over to see it, and he thought it was great. He said he had never seen anything like it before. I have seen members decorate their lanes before, but never to this level.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 62) After Yuka-chan stole my heart on Saturday, I was really looking forward to seeing her again on Sunday. Luckily, I won the 2-shot selfie. But was this really good news? I suck at taking selfies. So while I was waiting in the queue (she did have a bit of a line) I practiced taking selfies so I wouldn’t blow it. I got her in perfect position, I had a good grip on my phone, I extended my arm out as far as I could, cracked a half-smile, and…

 

Success! I finally took a proper selfie. In my quick visit I noted that the sweater she was wearing was just as cute as yesterday, and that she always wears very nice clothes. She quickly thanked me as I got pushed out. But I would be seeing her again to lead off the next slot…

SLOT 4

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 62) This time, surprisingly, I did not win for the 1-shot video. I wasn’t to disappointed though, since I already have three of those with her from recent events. I instead decided to congratulate her on the Hawks win. I noted that I was looking at her twiiter last night, and saw all of her Japan Series tweets, and that I saw she ate dinner with Meru. Anyhow, I hoped I would have better luck when I visited Yuka again in Slot 6.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 73) Keeping with the theme, I had already set up with Maichan that I would be rooting along with her for the Hawks on Saturday night. I didn’t win the alternative jacket prize, meanwhile Maichan had a decent sized queue. However, I guess nomany people were winning since her line went very fast. In any case, when it was my turn she already knew what we were going to talk about, and started pumping her fist and cheering before I even got into the booth. I congratulated her, and she gave me a big High-Five. Maichan is so much fun.

 

I had no Slot 5 tickets. So after visiting with my friend Nori for a little while, I bailed back to Queen’s Square for a late lunch and a cocktail.

SLOT 6

Sakaki Miyu [Cuca] (Lane 32) I had three tickets for Slot 6, and decided to get Cuca done first since she never has a line. However, when I got there, she DID have a small queue. So I decided to wait for it to clear out, but it didn’t. More people kept entering her lane. This is really good news. She is starting to cultivate more fans! Her lane was still “automatic win” for the prize, so I would be getting the autographed recipe.

So I decided to ask her about the recipe. I neglected to tell her that I do not like dishes with cooked tuna in them like that. Instead I asked her if it was an Okinawan recipe since a friend of mine thought it might be. She insisted that it wasn’t. She also sincerely thanked me for coming, and asked if I lived in Japan. Since this is like the 4th or 5th time I have met her, I think she is getting that I really do like her.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 62) One final visit with Yukachan, and I won her recipe card too! It seemed like most people were winning, since in my immediate vicinity everyone had won, save for one unlucky guy.

Her recipe was for a fried rice dish, so I asked her if it was Chinese inspired. She told me that it is actually her father’s recipe, something he makes at home. The guards were calling time, but Yukachan spent extra time on the autograph, even drawing a mikan at the bottom, as well as a special message. So a total score. I look forward to seeing her again at the HKT event in late-November.

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 58) Bibian had quite the queue, I was really surprised. It didn’t really matter, since it would be a while until I could use my final ticket. I didn’t win the 1-shot video, oh well. Bibian was completely decked out in Adidas gear, so I noted that when I entered the lane. And like with the other HKT members, I asked her if she was a Hawks fan. And then congratulated her on the Japan Series win. Short and sweet.

 

So we would have to wait until after the dinner break before Slot 7 started. This is why I usually try to be done after Slot 6. However, oftentimes some of my favorite members, like Tani, Kaotan, Bibian, and even Yukachan only have after dinner slots. In this case one member I like was only Slot 7-8, and since I didn’t even see her at all on Saturday, I would brave the wait.

SLOT 7

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 41) I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to enter Kaotan’s lane early, or wait a while. But her queue kept getting bigger, so I decided to get in there before it got out of hand. In any case, she likes to take her time with the fans. I didn’t win the “alternative CD jacket” prize, but you never know with Kaotan. In the meantime her lane was positioned right next to the Handicapped lane for SKE. So I had a really closeup view of all the members coming over to that lane. It is really interesting how that lane operates too. The first member who came over was Ego-chan, then Ryoha, Hidaka Yuzuki, Suuchan, Obamina, Kaotan, and finally Masanya when I was really close to the front. Masanya spotted me and waved hello too. It’s funny, every time I think I am seeing Masanya for the last time, I end up running into her again. Is it fate? Anyway…

I also noticed that Kaotan seemed to be signing jackets for everyone, regardless of whether or not they won. Cool! Except, when I was five away they switched guard staff, and the one new guard asked why she was signing jackets for people who lost. The exiting guard basically shrugged. So it would be interesting what would happen when it was my turn, since the three people in front of me all won. So it was finally my turn, as expected Kaotan reached for a jacket to sign, but the guard interjected and said “No, he didn’t win!” She was like “Oh, he didn’t? I’m sorry.” I just played dumb the entire time, although I was slightly bummed that I got cock-blocked by the new guard. In any case, I told her I was just happy to see her. I then asked her about her Banana Juice recipe, and if it was better than the Butterbeer she had at USJ a few days ago. She then asked if I was coming back for Slot 8, and maybe I would win the recipe card. But I told her the next time I would see her was at the SKE event at the end of the month. After saying our goodbyes, I was done for the evening.

———————————————————————————————–

Prizes

I ultimately went 4 for 9, which isn’t a bad percentage. I would have liked to have won at least one of those alternate jackets, and I would LOVE to get a selfie or a video of Zunchan. But oh well, maybe next time.

Recipe Bonus

Here are the recipe cards I took photos of on the wall at the far end of the hall. I mainly took pictures of members that I like, with a few others thrown in for friends. And of course, Tani’s infamous recipe for Cup Ramen…

So rounding out the year, I have the SKE and HKT handshake events on November 23rd, and that is basically it for me and the 48-groups until 2018 since I will be back in the U.S. for 2 1/2 weeks in December. That is unless I happen to win another show. And of course I also have a bunch of Wasamin stuff between now and mid-December. So it’s all good.

 

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events, HKT48, NMB48, SKE48 AKB48-Group 49th Single #Sukinanda Individual Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama. (2017/11/04)

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For me, this event was more of an hors d’oeuvre before tomorrow’s (Sunday) event since I originally planned on only going on Sunday. However, during the application period, I saw Team 8 perform in the theater and briefly took a liking to Takahashi Ayane. Saturday was the only day she was appearing, so I was compelled to buy a few tickets for this day. Now the irony is that I actually did an oshimashi handshake with Amane a couple of month ago, and…well, I wasn’t inspired to see her again. So ultimately I ended up doing an oshimashi with her ticket today. LOL

But it was still a worthwhile day, even with the few tickets I had. I had all my tickets stacked into Slots 2-4, which worked out perfectly since I had another event I wanted to attend in Akihabara later on in the day.

Of course this was another event where you could draw special prizes (2-shots, 1-shots, signed photos, etc.) Interestingly, of the six tickets I had, none of them offered any kind of recording or photo prize. They were all either for a signed photo, or a signed drawing the members all did.. Ultimately I won 2 of 6 (well, 2 of 5 since I blew off my Ayane ticket, and you can’t draw for prizes on oshimashi) Anyway, I arrived at Pacifico Yokohama toward the end of Slot 2, which was enough time to get my Slot 2 tickets done. AKB must have had at least 4 halls rented out for this event, as there were over 100 lanes, a stage area, some drawing exhibit, and all the other booths they have (info, Aikabu, etc.) Despite that, 5 of my 6 tickets were all located in the same corner of the hall.

Slot 2

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 73) Yuka-chan didn’t have much of a queue, which is usual for her at the end of the slot. I checked in and immediately won the signed photo. After waiting for 2 fans in front of me. Yuka-chan reached out with both hands and exclaimed “Chris-san!!!” She had on the cutest sweater, kind of 2-tone flesh color and dark green, it almost looked like a low cut blouse, but it wasn’t.

As she signed the card I told her how pretty her sweater was, and I asked if she had a fun birthday, and I saw some of the pictures online. She thanked me and asked if I had heard about their new album. I told her I want to get it, although it is quite expensive. She nodded in agreement, and then out of nowhere she said “Chris-san, I love you so much!” Wow!! I remember when Wasamin said something like that to me a few years back, and I almost got weak in the knees. Same here, Akiyoshi just made my heart flutter.

There was still 10 minutes left in the slot, and I wondered if there was someone available who I could use my “extra” ticket on. Originally I wanted to use it on Cuca, but her slot wasn’t until later in the day, after I panned to leave. I didn’t have a ticket for Zunchan today either, but these days her lanes don’t have the oshimashi “star.” As I walked through the HKT section I found Bibian, Rikopi, and Mio, all starred lanes, all short queues. Okay, this was it. Who would I pick???

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 57) So this is who I ultimately ended up using my Amane ticket for. I like Rikopi, she is usually a fun handshake, and I hadn’t seen her in a while. I could tell Rikopi wanted to say my name, but just couldn’t recall it in that moment. Instead she just started practicing her English with me. I did ask her about the upcoming HKT album, and told her I was excited about it.

SLOT 3

Tani Marika (Lane 54) Despite the fact that I promised Marika I would wear Tani-gear in the future, I failed to bring anything of her’s to wear. And frankly, it has been slim pickings at the goods booth for this single. I actually do have some Tani stuff in my storage unit in the U.S., but that doesn’t do me any good here. Anyway, I won the signed photo, so at least that would keep her occupied.

Oh, and she was wearing a “Chucky” (from Child’s Play) t-shirt. So I immediately got her talking about that as I pointed and said “Chucky!” I then told her that I saw her Halloween cosplay tweets. She asked if I thought they were cute. I took a chance and said they were “scary and cute,” and noted the white contacts she wore. At the end she again reminded me that I was supposed to be wearing Tani accoutrement. So I didn’t get off scot-free after all.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 62) Maichan had the only really long line I went to all day. I don’t seem to have good luck drawing Maichan’s prizes, and alas, I didn’t win. After around 20 minutes in the queue I finally got my turn. Now I know Maichan is a big Soft Bank Hawks fan. Actually, lately all of the HKT girls have been posting about the Hawks, but Maichan supports them all season. So I asked Mai if she was going to watch the game tonight. I didn’t totally get her response, but I think she said something to the effect that she wouldn’t have time. But she did say that she hoped that they win tonight. So I told her I would root for the Hawks too, and for that I got a High-Five. I told her I would see her tomorrow as the guard pushed me out.

SLOT 4

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 73) When I entered the queue shortly before the start of the slot, there was still a bit of a queue for Jitoe Nene, and one guy in particular who had a ton of tickets, so they ended up moving the rest of her queue into another lane. In the meantime, while we waited for Yuka-chan to come out I was watching Matsuoka Hana playing with her fans in the next lane. Eventually Yuka-chan came out. It was my goal to get this ticket, and my final ticket in this slot done as quickly as possible because I needed to hustle to Akihabara by the late afternoon. BTW, here is Yuka-chan in her pretty sweater I talked about before…

Surprisingly, I didn’t win the prize. But that’s okay since the cooler prize was the first one, which I did win. In any case, I decided to ask Yuka-chan if she is a Soft Bank Hawks fan too. She said yes, and then pointed out that I was wearing my HKT48-Hawks Baseball Jersey. (In fact, I got comments from a lot of people today around Tokyo assuming I was a Soft Bank Hawks fan, LOL) Like with Maichan, I told Yuka that I would root for the Hawks to win. After telling her I would be at the event tomorrow too, I hoofed it over to the far end of the hall for my last ticket…

Ichikawa Miori (Lane 5) Miorin had a fairly short queue. Since I lost the prize when I visited her last time, I really wanted to win this time. The fan in front of me had three tickets, so he pressed the button three times, and he won ALL THREE. SHIT, I just knew the next one would be a loser, and almost pulled my ticket and ID back, but it was already too late, they had marked my ticket. And of course, I didn’t win the prize, again. So I would have to come up with something to talk about with Miorin. Well, she was wearing this cute and fuzzy little hat. So after the usual pleasantries I commented that her hat was very cute. I also mentioned at first I thought the fuzzy stuff sticking out was her hair. She immediately, and almost defiantly said it wasn’t her hair. As I laughed, the guard, rather forcefully, pushed me out.

I immediately bailed back to Tokyo, and to my little event in Akihabara. Tomorrow I have a few more tickets. I again have tickets for Yukachan, Maichan, and Tani, plus tickets for Zunchan, Kaotan, Bibian, and Cuca. Not to mention many of the prizes I am trying for are video and 2-shots, so hopefully my luck will be a little better than today.

 

CK in Tokyo

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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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AKB48, Events, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48-Group 48th Single Negaigoto no Mochigusare Individual Handshake Meeting at Makuhari Messe (2017/08/11)

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This is my “low key” handshake event for this single, and the only one of the three days of events I am attending this weekend.  AKB48 puts on so many more events per single than they did back in the day, so these days my M.O. is to get tickets to two events, one being my “main” handshake event with more tickets, and then my second handshake event, with fewer tickets. In this particular case, fewer tickets meant ten, including one “open” ticket that I could use on any eligible member. I had also condensed this day into three slots, so I wouldn’t be in Makuhari all day. Actually, it was originally four slots, but…well, you’ll see…

The real bummer of the day was that I could not get any tickets to see Yamane Suzuha. I didn’t realize when I originally applied, but today was Zunchan’s birthday, so her tickets sold out very quickly, and of course I couldn’t use my open ticket on her either. It’s too bad, because if I had known I would have picked tomorrow or Sunday to go instead, but I had already won tickets for the 11th, so I was kinda stuck. Oh well.

Anyway, I got to Makuhari at 11:15, grabbed lunch by the station, and made it to the venue just before noon. I didn’t need to get my tickets stamped since that was already taken care of last month.

Slot 3

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 40) <2 tickets> Yukachan was a bit late to the slot. In the meantime the guy in front of me was desperately trying to communicate with Rikopi, and then Aramaki since they were in the neighboring lanes. So I got a quick greeting from Rikopi (who didn’t know I was coming over to her lane right after) It was good timing, since they had just started debuting the B-side music videos from the upcoming single on the big screens. Akiyoshi eventually came out, and I was second in line. So I told Yuka that I had finally graduated from my University last weekend when HKT was at Tokyo Idol Fes. She congratulated me, and also invited Rikopi over to congratulate me too, which was nice. I told Rikopi that I would be over in a minute. In fact my second ticket for Akiyoshi was a continuation of my conversation with Rikopi, so…

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 41) By the time I had finished with my first Akiyoshi ticket, Rikopi’s lane had cleared out, so I jumped over into her lane. The first thing she said was that when she saw me in Yukachan’s lane, she hoped I was coming over to see her too. At this point it was almost time for the debut of her MV from the upcoming single, so I told her I looked forward to watching it.

So the funny thing was, at this point all of Rikopi’s regular fans checked into the lane, and then they held the line up so Rikopi could watch the video. The guards were watching it too. I was standing in the area before check in for Akiyoshi’s line. After the MV we all gave Rikopi a big ovation, including her guards. LOL. Anyway, I asked Yukachan what she thought of Rikopi’s song, and then I told her that I really liked Sasshi’s MV. I had more tickets for Yukachan in a little bit, so I left it at that…

So for my open ticket, I had a few ideas. For some reason I had neglected to get a Tani ticket for this event, so she was a possibility, as was Zukki from 16th gen, since I consider her my favorite AKB kenkyuusei not named Zunchan. But then I noticed that Masanya’s lane was *starred* as well, at least in this slot it was. So I stood in front of the SKE area trying to decide, and if I was going for Tani or Masanya I had to do it in this slot, as they weren’t *starred* for Slot 4. At the end of the day, I have more Tani tickets for the next SKE event, and the next AKB single. This could be my last chance to visit Oya, so…

Oya Masana (Lane 170) Not surprisingly, Masanya’s queue got pretty big once they allowed oshimashi and open tickets in. So I checked in and waited. I didn’t have much to say to her, I just wanted to see her at least one more time before she graduated. I mean there is always the possibility of a National event, but no guarantee of that either. Essentially I just continued the conversation we had less than two weeks ago, and told her a little more about the circumstances behind me moving to Tokyo. So that was cool, and then I said I hoped to see her again. You never know, right?

Slot 4

I decided to stay in halls 7-8 since I had another SKE ticket in the next slot. In the meantime I ran into a bunch of people I know, including @Jeff86 . So we passed the time catching up, and comparing tickets. He was seeing SKE members almost exclusively. Later I ran into a bunch of other overseas fans I know, including BigC, who was hanging out near the Sakura lane (no surprises there) and Pandadash. This was also the point where they started simulcasting the NicoNico broadcast of the Janken preliminaries, which pretty much took the next 2-3 slots.

I should also note that I had virtually no trouble with my tickets, which were the last of my tickets to have my name in Katakana. It makes me wonder if I really should have changed them after all. Anyway…

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 174) It was pretty much a quick ‘hit and go’ with Kaotan today. I spent more time trying to hide from Tani in the next lane, since I didn’t have tickets for her. (I also didn’t have any Bibian tickets, and she looked really cute with her black and yellow outfit) Anyway, I just told Kaotan about my graduation, and she confirmed I was transferring to another school, and then she asked me a couple other questions I didn’t understand. I just nodded affirmatively, LOL.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 40) <two tickets> Back over to the other hall to see Yukachan, it turned out this would be out ‘English Slot’. Again, she asked me in English what I planned on eating for lunch, so I told her I already had a Subway Sub. “An Ebi sub, and fried potatoes”, I added. I immediately looped the line since I wanted to get out of the venue and take a break. I wanted to ask her something in English to see how she responded. I was struggling for a good question, and then blurted out something stupid. “Yukachan, I have a question. Can you tell me where Spider Tower is located?” Now the problem wasn’t that she didn’t understand me. The issue was that she had never heard of Spider Tower. LOL. I thought that it was like a well-known building. Anyway, she told me in japanese that she didn’t know where it was, so I told her it was in Nagoya. Anyway, we both laughed. But I need to come up with better questions for her to answer in English.

And with that, I took a break.

I had three tickets left. Two in Slot 5, and one in Slot 6. But then I realized that the member I had the Slot 6 ticket for had a starred lane in Slot 5. Well, I can just jam all of these tickets out in one slot, since none of them would have long lines, and then I could get out of there early. So that was the plan.

Slot 5

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 37) For some reason I just wasn’t in that talkative a mood today. I kept struggling with what to say or ask each member. So whan I got to Maichan I simply asked her about her janken unit, since the janken prelims were still playing on the screens. In fact, Yukachan’s group had just come on while I was standing there. Anyway, Maichan asked me to root for her duo with Haruppi, which I had forgotten about LOL. I told her I would, and I would see her later.

Sakaki Miyu [CUCA] (Lane 91) I forgot to mention that in Slot 3 when I was deciding who to use my open ticket on, Cuca-chan waved to me from her empty lane. I’m not sure whether she recognized me from our meeting in July, since most of the STU members were waving at pretty much anyone who was looking their way. But I knew I would be seeing Cuca a little later anyway. So I headed over, and Cuca actually had someone in her queue. Nice, I hate to think that she is sitting there twiddling her thumbs all day. But I waited for the lane to clear out before I jumped in. She watched and waved to me all the way from before check-in. As I got closer, she had a look of familiarity on her face, so I knew she remembered me from before. I congratulated her on her Janken Duo with Sato Kiara, and asked what the name of the unit was. Jeez, they have a really long name. I commented, “Wow, that’s long!” (Maiorita Megami to Girigiri no Onna) Anyway, I told her a bought a bunch more tickets to see her for the next single, and she thanked me. Hopefully she will have a better draw.

Nakanishi Chiyori (Lane 108) This was actually a Slot 6 ticket, but since her lane was *starred* I could use it via oshimashi in Slot 5, which I did, and it saved me over an hour of waiting around. This was actually NOT the first time I have had an individual handshake ticket for Chori, as I got one for her around a year and a half ago. But I ended up blowing it off (along with a couple other tickets for Kaotan and Tanamin) since there was a special Wasamin cheki event that conflicted with my evening slots. I did get a chance to finally meet Chori at a Shoot Sign National event earlier this year, and she was really cool. So I looked forward to seeing her again. Anyway, it was really quick. I told her that I was rooting for her unit to win Janken since they had the best members, and then pointed to my Akiyoshi ticket holder. She laughed and said she would do her best to win, all the while being the usual fun and genki Chori that makes her a great handshake experience.

Actually, I am surprised Chori has stayed under the radar for me, because she is EXACTLY the type of handshake experience I really like. Perhaps it is because I spend so much time with SKE and HKT members at AKB single events, I kinda forget about the AKB members. It’s actually another drawback of having all the groups at AKB single events, it takes away from giving the AKB members, especially those that aren’t in Senbatsu, a chance to be the center of attention. Oh well.

And with that, I was done and it was barely past 3:30. 10 tickets in 3 1/2 hours, not bad. I found some friends who were also leaving, so we all went back to Tokyo together. And now there is a bit of a lull between handshake events for me. New AKB single events don’t begin until October, and the next SKE and HKT events aren’t until late-November. I’m not sure if I will apply for the Janken, or Masanya graduation since they are the same weekend as Wasamin’s next big concert. Hopefully some national events will pop up that I can go to.

 

CK in Tokyo

AKB48, Events, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48-Group 48th Single Negaigoto no Mochigusare Individual Handshake Meeting at Makuhari Messe (2017/07/16)

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AKB48-Group 48th Single Negaigoto no Mochigusare Individual Handshake Meeting at Makuhari Messe (2017/07/16) ~Am I the First One Around Here to Do a Handshake with Cuca-chan?~

This was the leadoff event for the 48th single handshake events. For this release I decided to schedule handshakes for two dates, one this weekend and one for the 2nd weekend in August, although today I had the most tickets (14) I would be visiting most of my usual suspects, with a few new girls tossed in for a bit of variety. BTW, Disney on Ice was going on next door, so there were a billion kids around. I wondered why so many people who looked like they were going to Disneyland didn’t get off at Maihama when I was riding the train over.

A HUGE HALL

For today AKB had not two, not three, but FOUR halls rented out for the event. Halls 5-8 in the main building. It was actually divided into two separate venues, with a wide hallway in between. Halls 5-6 had SKE, NMB, and Team 8 (Lanes 1-96), and Halls 7-8 had AKB, HKT, NGT, and STU. (Lanes 97-187) Here’s a weird thing, the food trucks were in one hall, while the drink stand was in another. WHY??? Actually, most of the sales stuff was in Halls 7-8, while the info booth, manager booth, and drinks were on the opposite side. I hope they do something similar to this when SKE and HKT run simultaneous individual handshake events here in November.

WARNING

I am guessing this is due to the dickhead who decided to have his own fireworks show at the 46-group event, but the lane staff were being quite the jerks when it came to people’s names not being exactly the same on their IDs and tickets. Chara-ani stamped my tickets no problem, so ultimately it was a non-issue. But in the morning it was a pain in the ass as I kept getting questioned at check-in. Ultimately I have changed my name on all the preorder sites to romaji, so hopefully there won’t be a big problem in the future. Although in the case of Chara-ani, the system has an 8-letter limit, so Christopher ends up being “Christop” I hope that isn’t an issue. Ultimately it stopped being an problem after Slot 3, which makes me wonder if something was said to staff since it seemed to be an issue with every ticket I used in Slots 2 & 3.

So I had a total of 14 tickets for slots 2 through 7, including one “same day nomination” ticket. As for who I would use my “open ticket” for? I hadn’t decided, but I had a short list. Anyway, I got to the venue early. Since this was the voting ticket single, I anticipated huge lines. However, it wasn’t too busy when I got there. I got all of my tickets stamped, and it was still the end of Slot 1. I headed over to the other side of the venue for my one Slot 2 ticket…

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 155) – FINALLY! I have been wanting to meet her for so long! Ever since she captured my heart when I saw 16th gen in the theater. She has the cutest face with those big cheeks, and that semi-silly demeanor. As I mentioned before, the lane staff gave me a really hard time about my name on the ticket, but after a short argument where I pointed out their flawed reasoning, AND the fact that my tickets were stamped by chara-ani, they apologized and let me in. It was a really short queue, makes me wonder why her lanes weren’t “starred” Zunchan looked cute as a button, surrounded by bouquets of flowers. I entered the booth, and I got the “shocked to see a foreigner” reaction. “Hello?” I responded to her in Japanese, queue the even bigger shocked reaction. It was adorable. Anyway, I told her that I actually did high touch with her last month. Apparently she didn’t remember, but she thanked me, and then I got the “I LOVE YOU.” That’s nice. I told her I would see her again. She’s like “Really?” I said “Yes, I have more tickets!”

So a good start with Zunchan, and now I had an hour wait until Slot 3. I could have used my open ticket here, but by then I had an idea on who I would be using it for, and that opportunity wouldn’t be coming until Slot 5. After talking to friends for a while, slot three eventually started…

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 117) – A quick stop to see Bibian before I used a bunch of Akiyoshi tickets. She had no line, so I went right up to her. It was basically Bibian being all energetic. “Genki desu ka? Genki desu. Watashi mo!” I then said it looked like she just got her hair cut (It looked a bit shorter) I told her it was very cute, and was on my way. Bibian hasn’t been up to too much lately as far as I am aware, so not much to talk about.

During Slot 3 I ventured over to Cuca’s lane to see how the crowd was. Not surprisingly, most of the STU member lanes were completely empty, including Cuca. I felt bad. But at least she wasn’t alone. I spent a few minutes over there, and nobody came to many of the lanes the entire time I was there. I thought about using my open ticket right here, but ultimately I saved it.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 120) [four tickets] – I had five tickets in total for Yuka-chan, four spread over slots three and four. Yuka looked really cute, with a T-shirt, casual collared shirt over it, and shorts. I was excited to see her since I had just gotten my HKT48 Baseball Jersey (designed to sorta look like a Soft Bank Hawks Jersey) with her name on the back. So I showed that off to her. I later asked her about the T-shirt she was wearing, which had pictures of some characters, and like a vehicle, and the words “Joy Joy Joy Gintama” or something like that. She was trying to explain to me that it was from a manga, and I told her that I would ask my friends who like manga about it. Anyone have any ideas?

In the next slot I was one of the first in line. And after the first handshake where I basically told her that her outfit was cute, and then complained that my Akiyoshi baseball jersey was slightly too tight, I immediately re-queued. It was at this point that one of the other fans came up and started talking to me in fluent English. It turned out he lived in Europe for 10 years and occasionally did business in America. He reminded me that Yuka-chan is serious about learning English, so I should try speaking to her in English more, and that she would like that. Anyway, we queued together. And I’m sure the two of them were talking about me as she kept looking over to me the entire time. When I came up I mentioned that Koji-san said that she wanted to to hear me speak English more often, except I screwed up the verb conjugation, and it came out more like a demand than a confirmation. It took her a few seconds, but then she figured out what I meant. At least I think she did. I actually got the answer to this question later on in the day…

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 85) – This would be my first venture into the SKE/NMB/Team 8 Hall after being exclusively in the other hall all morning and afternoon. I had no NMB tickets, no Team 8 tickets (yet) and only one ticket each for Tani and Kaotan. So no reasons to hang out on this side. Anyway, Kaotan had a relatively short queue. In the meantime, she was right next to Tani, who spotted me, pointed at me, winked and gave me a quick acknowledgement between visitors. (Don’t worry Marika, I will be seeing you later) Kaori-chan grabbed me into her cross-handed shake, and lamented she hadn’t seen me in a while. I told her not to worry, that I have plenty of tickets for her at the SKE events. She asked how about today? I frowned, and told her this was my only one. Oh well. The fact is that I am trying to cut down on tickets to the 48-group events, especially since both HKT and SKE have singles coming out soon, and I bought tickets for those events too.

And with that, I went upstairs to take a break. The weird thing was that it was really hot and stuffy upstairs. normally it is hot and stuffy in the halls, and upstairs, outside the halls it is cool. But today it was completely the opposite. Anyway, Slot 5…

Sakaki Miyu [Cuca] (Lane 182) – I was really excited about this. After all, I wrote an article about her on my old blog like 8-9 years ago. I headed over to the STU section, and of course Cuca’s lane was empty. But just then a woman walked into her lane. Cuca got all excited, bouncing up and down. It reminded me of how Yakata Miki used to act when I would walk into her empty lane. So I stopped and waited, hoping nobody else would go into the lane until she finished talking to this woman. Luckily, nobody did, and just as she came down the exit I walked in. Cuca immediately started bouncing up and down, dancing the entire time. I finally made it to the booth. She thanked me for visiting her. I told her I have been watching her YouTube videos for a long time, and that I am really rooting for her to do well in STU, so to please do her best. She graciously thanked me, and I told her I would come and see her again (I have a ticket for her in August too)

Ultimately she is a really sweet girl. I was so happy to get the chance to meet her, and from her demeanor (and her lack of a queue) it made me want to come back and see her again. In fact, when I got home tonight the first thing I did was order three tickets for her for the upcoming single!

As I mentioned, I had one open ticket, which I could use on any “starred lane.” The problem was that since this is the voting ticket single, the lanes with stars on them are few and far between. I also prefer to use these tickets on girls that I haven’t met before, or in a while, as opposed to just using them on girls I am seeing anyway. In any case, I made a short list of girls I was considering using this ticket on, including a few 16th gen and Team 8 girls. Ultimately I decided on this member, since she was the one I liked the most when I saw Team 8 a couple of weeks ago…

Takahashi Ayane (Lane 1)
 – Since this was an open ticket, I had to wait until the middle of the slot before I could queue up. It should also be noted that she had four slots, and this was the ONLY one with a star on it. Apparently I was not the only one with this idea, as a few minutes before the middle of the slot, a bunch of fans started milling around her lane entrance, which was at the far end of the hall. About a minute before the call, everyone bum-rushed into the lane. So I joined in. It kind of annoyed me since I had been standing there longer than all of them, but whatever. Her line wasn’t terribly long. I basically told her that I went to the Team 8 show a couple of weeks ago, and that she made the biggest impression on me. She thanked me, and that was basically it. At the end of the day, she wasn’t the most dynamic handshake. But come to think of it, she wasn’t the most dynamic on stage either, so it sorta fits. I came to the conclusion that I merely thought she looked really cute on stage. I did get another ticket for her for the next single. We’ll see if a second visit is a little better…

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 111) [two tickets] – I didn’t go to see Maichan in the earlier slots, instead opting to see her in the afternoon. She had on a cute, light, summery dress with a flower pattern on it. However, when I was looking at it from a distance, I thought it was fruit. So I was already to make a joke about the fruit on her dress, but it got spoiled. In any case, I showed off my new HKT48 baseball jersey for her. She asked me if I had heard the new HKT song and purchased the single yet, but before I could answer I got pushed out.

When I returned (in the following slot) I told her that of course I bought the new single, and that HKT individual handshake events are much more fun than 48-group events. (I actually do mean that. I much prefer seeing HKT and SKE at their own events than at the group-single events) Anyway, she exclaimed “Yeah!” and gave me a high-five and my time ran out.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 155) [part two] – So when I told Zunchan that I had more tickets for her, I failed to mention that they were scheduled for six hours later (Hehe) But I kept my promise. Again, her queue was short. When I entered the queue she was saying something to me that sounded like a play of “osashiburi” It sounded like “hitachiburi” or something. It was a phrase I had never heard before. I kept repeating it back to her, since I didn’t know what it meant. I told her that I had cancel machi last week for 16th gen, bot lost. She gave a little frown, and as a was being pushed out I mentioned to her that I want to watch her perform more often. Ultimately, Zunchan is everything I expected in a handshake, which is a good thing since I ordered a few tickets for her for the next single. And if her lane is starred in August, I will be using my open ticket to see her.


Mikurin celebration. Glad to see my friend Panda got a good spot. I was behind the camera to the right

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 120) [part two] – At then end of my last handshake with Yuka-chan, I was mentioning something about speaking English with her more often, but I wasn’t sure she completely understood, even if she said she did. In the meantime, the Mikurin fans had a huge congratulatory ceremony planned for her since she made it to Undergirls. So I had a view from behind for that since I was queued or Yuka-chan a few lanes over. But to answer my question of whether or not Yuka understood me…

(All in English) “Hello Chris, did you eat lunch today?” Yes, I ate lunch. “What did you eat for lunch?” I had chicken from Family Mart. “Oh good!” She smiled, and I asked if it was fun to practice English with me. She nodded as I got pushed out. Koji-san was right, I should do that with her more often, just to mix it up.

Tani Marika (Lane 84) – For my last ticket, I decided to go out with a bang with the always crazy Tani. Plus, her lane was closer to the central exit of the hall. I had a conversation all planned for her, but she spoiled it with her manic behavior. She asked me what I thought of her look today. I know what happened the last time I didn’t say ‘kawaii” So I told her she was cho-Kawaii, and that she was also kawaii when I saw her do cosplay modeling for a new Kyoraku pachinko machine. She seemed surprised I brought that up, but then she was like “Yes, you like that, huh?” I told her I liked pachinko (partial truth) and it made me happy to see her doing those type of promotions.

Anyway, as expected the day ended on a good note. I had a Caribbean Jerk Chicken sandwich near the station before jumping on a train back to Tokyo. For the next 48-group event I have tickets to many of the same people, as well as Chori and Rikopi. But I am really excited about the new SKE48 single event, which is in two weeks. I have tickets to all my usual SKE members (Tani, Kaotan, and Yuzuki), as well as a few members I haven’t really talked with before, or for a long time (Obata, Soda, Aoki, Masanya) So it should be a lot of fun.

 

CK in Tokyo

AKB48, HKT48 AKB48-Group Shoot Sign Individual Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/06/25)

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I have made it sort of a tradition to limit myself to two events with these AKB releases. Usually that means I focus most of my tickets on one particular date, and then I will get a few tickets for another date. I do this for a couple of reasons. First of all, I don’t want to overspend on handshake events. Second, I like to keep my weekends open as much as possible for Wasamin events. So after having a much bigger day on June 10th in Pacifico, this would be my “light” event. When I say “light”, that means that I had four tickets spread over two slots (1-2)

So this post is going to be less about the actual handshakes and more about last night’s incident at the Nogizaka/Keyakizaka event next door. If you weren’t aware, both the 48 and 46 groups were having their big events at Makuhari this weekend, and in the same building. Nogi/Keya occopied 2/3 of the main halls, and the 48-groups had the last three halls down at the end. There was also some sort of Toys/Hobby Event happening in the other building, so there were tons of kids around the Convention Center.

I had to head out early since I had slot-one tickets. I ended up taking an unusual route at the suggestion of the Hyperdia train app. BTW I never go through Tokyo Station, I cannot stand that long-ass walk. Instead I usually take the subway to Shin-Kiba further along the Keiyo Line, or in this case I took the Sobu Line to Nishi-Funabashi, and transferred there. I was waiting for the train when all of a sudden someone comes up to me and asks me; “Aren’t you Cristafari from Stage48?” LOLZ It turns out he isn’t an active user, more of a lurker on the forum. And since he had never been to Makuhari Messe before, I decided to show him the ropes. i.e. Where the hall was, how to check in, ticket stamping, reading the legend, etc…

~Security~

The other issue was what the security situation would be like in the aftermath of the disturbance at the Keya/Nogi hall the previous evening. While I was on my way I messaged a couple of people who were already at the venue. They said it was a bit more thorough and strict than usual, but otherwise not a big difference, and the lines were not severely affected. However, when I got to the hall there was a big queue upstairs. I initially panicked. With a line this long there was no way we would make it to our slot one handshakes…

However, the upstairs queue turned out to be a bit misleading. In an unusual setup, they were doing the check-in bag check, and metal detector stuff downstairs in the hall, and they were only allowing a limited number of people in at a time to avoid congestion. So it actually took us less than five minutes to get to the security lines. As for the check in security? As expected, they thoroughly dug through my bag. However, I anticipated this, and only brought essentials, so that wasn’t a big deal. Also, they made me open my umbrella. I initially comlpained to the guy (who spoke English) “But it’s bad luck!” He laughed, and I opened it, splashing rain on him tool. LOL, serves him right. So not much of big deal, although I would advise people to pack their backpacks accordingly.

Once inside, there was really no difference in the process. Well, there was one. Check-in to the lanes was normal, as usual you store your bags in the bins when you get close to the front, and as usual you show your hands to the ticket taker to make sure you don’t have any contraband, or foreign substances. However, when it was your turn the guard next to the member had you show them your hands, and you had to keep them exposed until you shook the girls’ hand. Actually, that was always part of the procedure, it was just something they had become lax about enforcing. Anyway, I only had four tickets, for two members. One for each of them in Slots 1 and 2.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 25): For both of the members I had tickets for, the first slot offered the chance to win some signboard, while the second slot you drew for the 1-shot video. I lost both chances for the signboards, but won both of the 1-shot videos. From what I saw and heard, the signboard was kinda lame this weekend, so it was no big loss. Although I was kind of annoyed since in both lanes the person before me had five tickets, and both won multiple signboards (first guy in Akiyoshi’s lane won 4, in Maichan’s lane the guy won 3) I was like “Jeez, give me one!” Akiyoshi immediately noticed my Wasamin shirt and started asking me about it. I guess she forgot that I have told her before that I am a Wasamin-oshi. Anyway, she acted kind of surprised. nd for the second slot, here is my 1-shot video…

This time I took my time picking which phrase I wanted the girls to say. I thought this one looked cute, and it had that multiple “chu! chu! chu!” thing at the end. Yes, that was written on the paper. I didn’t get the chance to talk about Sousenkyo with her, but that was probably for the best since she didn’t rank. But I did tell her that despite the fact that Wasamin is my Kami-oshi, that she is my 48-group oshi. She was like “Honto???” I think that is the first time I have actually told her that.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 29): I didn’t have very far to go to get from Yuka-chan to Mai-chan, as their lanes were both tucked in the back-right corner of the venue. BTW, I forgot to mention that for the signboards they had switched to using the i-pads to decide who won. I guess the girls’ generosity the first weekend backed up the lines too much, so they decided to limit it by making it more random. At then end of the day the lines went much smoother, so I’m not complaining. Mai-chagave me her usual kami-reaction, and I told her that I watched the SSk on television, and congratulated her on her ranking. She then struggled to remember what her ranking even was. Frankly, I had forgotten too. But after a moment she remembered. And of course here is my 1-shot from Slot 2…

Nice photobomb by the guard at the end. Once again, I took my time in picking. And I knew this line would be a good one. Like Kaotan a couple of weeks ago, she asked if I wanted Japanese or English. I said Japanese was good. But like Kaotan, she threw some English in there anyway. I should also note that the guards told you when to start, and when to stop your video, which they didn’t do two weeks ago. fter the video, Maichan mentioned that she heard that I had a conversation in Japanese with some of her fans while in queue (a couple of her fans decided to strike up a convo with me) She was like “Really, it was in Japanese? That’s great!” So happy that I could impress Maichan. She’s so cute!

It was 10:45, and I was done.  I left the venue, but not before quickly signing a graduation card for Tanamin.  There were a bunch of indie idol shows I was thinking of seeing in the afternoon/early evening, but I was really tired, so I decided to go home. Perhaps if I got some rest I would be up for a show later. But instead I took a long nap. Probably for the best anyway. The next AKB handshake events will be for the 49th single next month. I am looking forward to finally having a handshake with Zunchan. I have a few other new members on my itinerary too, including Cuca from STU, so I am looking forward to that. Oh, and thank heavens SKE and HKT have new singles coming out, so I can focus on my favorite members from those groups.

CK in Tokyo

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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, HKT48 HKT48 Bagutte Ijan National Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/05/28)

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HKT48 Bagutte Ijan National Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/05/28)

I am actually “backed up on writeups, as I have Wasamin’s DVD release week, a special Wasamin exclusive ‘Karaoke Party’, and a Chaki event to write about. However, this one is so fresh in my mind, and it was so much fun, I wanted to write it up tonight.

I had earmarked this event as another chance to spend time with the lovely Akiyoshi, and of course Maichan. So I planned on searching for tickets early. I was also informed that my friend Derek was coming back to town, and he wanted to go to the event too. So I had to find tickets for both of us. So about 3-4 weeks ago I scoured the reseller shops and was able to find 9 inexpensive tickets. Then this past Friday Derek and I were in Akiba, and we found 12 more at Bulb, behind the Donki. So we were set, 10 tickets apiece. We would give the extra ticket to a friend who only had a few. However…


Akiyoshi saying hello from somewhere other than the handshake event

When the schedule came out the other day, I immediately noticed that Akiyoshi would not be attending. Oh well, I guess I will spend a lot of time with Maichan. Except she was out too. Jeez, my “2-top” in HKT were out? Why the hell do I have 10 tickets??? As I checked out the lanes, I struggled to decide how would I use the tickets I had. Would I loop Bibian’s lane over and over? Perhaps I would just go to a bunch of different lanes. I began mapping out ich lanes I was most interested in seeing, and figured I would decide at the event. By the way, here are the lanes we had to choose from…

1) Sashihara Rino (H)
2) Kodama Haruka (H), Ueki Nao (KIV), Unjo Hirona (KKS)
3) Matsuoka Hana (TII), Takeda Tomoka (KKS), Miyazaki Sono (KKS)
4) Miyawaki Sakura (KIV)
5) Ui Mashiro (H), Tashima Meru (H), Kurihara Sae (TII)
6) Tanaka Miku (H), Imamura Maria (TII), Shimizu Rio (KKS)
7) Kojina Yui (H), Yamamoto Mao (H), Aramaki Misaki (TII)
8) Yabuki Nako (H), Tsutsui Riko (TII), Yamashita Emiri (TII)
9) Matsuoka Natsumi (H), Shimono Yuki (KIV), Fukagawa Maiko (KIV)
10) Tanaka Natsumi (H), Tomonaga Mio (KIV), Oda Ayaka (KKS)
11) Sakaguchi Riko (H), Moriyasu Madoka (KIV), Jitoe Nene (KKS)
12) Inoue Yuriya (H), Iwahana Shino (KIV), Tanaka Yuka (KIV)
13) Motomura Aoi (KIV), Murakawa Bibian (TII), Tsukiashi Amane (KKS)
14) Komada Hiroko (H), Tomiyoshi Asuka (KIV)

Members not participating:
Team H – Akiyoshi Yuka, Ueno Haruka, Yamada Marina,
Team KIV – Imada Mina, Kumazawa Serina, Fuchigami Mai, Murashige Anna
Team TII – Sakamoto Erena, Hokazono Hazuki, Yamauchi Yuna
Kenkyuusei – Sakai Moeka, Toyonaga Aki, Matsumoto Hinata

I knew I wanted to go to lanes 11, 13 and 14 for Bibian, Rikopi, and Asuka. Mio in lane 10 was a possibility. Then you had Nako and Miku in lanes 8 and 6. I had mentioned in my last HKT post that I was interested in meeting Nako. I also figured I would use my entry ticket on a ‘heavyweight’. Would it be Sasshi, or Sakura? Lanes 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 12 were pretty much out. Or so I thought…

The three of us got into the venue, and asked if they could renban our tickets. They said no, but we could all go to the “worst” section if we wanted. We all pulled different sections. Koba got A2 (front and center), I got B2 (middle center) and Derek got C2 (back center) We ended up trading our B2 and A2 tickets to various people for C2 tickets. However, that was before any of us knew that there was a rear stage. So for the random guy I traded my B2 ticket to, I felt kinda bad that I sort of screwed him over. But it really wasn’t on purpose. Anyway, we got in about 30 minutes before the mini-live started, so it wouldn’t be too long a wait.

The mini-live started with a skit based on the comedy variety show “Shoten” where the teams answer quizzes and win cushions to sit on (SKE did a variation of this on Ebisho once before) Natsumikan played the host, and Imamura was the one handing out the cushions. Then came the music. The setlist…

1) Bagutte Ijan
2) Melon Juice
(MC) “Waratte Iitomo”
3) Iiwake Maybe
4) Heavy Rotation
5) Flying Get
6) Gingham Check
7) Love Trip
(MC)
8) HKT48 Family


Natsumikan was the “2nd best” of this contest

I may be messing up the order of the songs, and the AKB part was a tribute to SSK. Personally I would have rather hear them stick to HKT selections, but whatever. The MC after Melon Juice included another game, this time hosted by Bibian. The object was for the teams to toss blow up ‘pool rings’ to one member who had to somehow catch and ‘wear’ them. Most of the teams struggled, but the last team used Imamura as the catcher, which everyone laughed at. Until she turned out to be a freakin’ champion, completely covering herself until the rings were even over her head, and then catching three more rings completely blind. Needless to say she was the MVP of this game. The show end shortly after 2:30, and the staff got the lanes ready pretty quick, definitely quicker than the last National event, when the lanes all opened up late. It was time to strategize. I wanted to get a long lane out of the way first, but which would it be? It also didn’t help that our section (C2) was the 2nd to last section allowed to enter the lanes. Finally we were called. Well, it’s now or never…

Sashihara Rino (Lane 1) – The line was already pretty long, but this was a National event, so it wouldn’t be a terribly long wait. However, at one point they reconfigured Sasshi’s lane to accommodate more people. I wasn’t sure what to say to Sasshi, but I figured I would ask her about her teeth. That plan went out the window, however, when I got into the lane and Sasshi noticed my t-shirt. She immediately pointed to it and said “Ebichu, all-right!!” as I was pushed out of the lane seconds later. I was confused though, I wasn’t wearing an Ebichu shirt. But when I looked down at my shirt I realized what she was getting at. I was wearing one of my Wasamin birthday shirts, which features a big shrimp and a heart. “Ebi…Chu!” Ahhhhh! Well, considering Sasshi is into Ebichu, I’m glad I didn’t correct her.

Sakaguchi Riko, Jitoe Nene, Moriyasu Madoka (Lane 11) – Since I got that out of the way, I would start doing the lanes that were high-priority for me. I chose this lane because a) it was shorter than Bibian’s line, and b) my friend Koba wanted to Renban. I eventually made it to the front. Rikopi immediately greeted me with “Kurisu, sashiburi!” I gave her a “whassup!”, mimicking our last exchange at the individual HS event. Nene immediately tried speaking English with me, which became a pattern. Pretty much every single 4th gen KKS tried to speak English to me. Finally I got to Madoka and said “Wingardium Leviosa” in reference to her SSK poster from a couple years back. Anyway, I was glad I had the good reaction from Rikopi

Lane 11, Part 2- I went back to this lane later in the afternoon. However, the girls had changed their order. Madoka was first, so I explained that her that I had her Harry Potter SSK poster framed in my house, which is partially true. I used to have it, but after I sold my house I took all of the posters down. Anyway, she was kinda shocked when I told her that. The guard kinda shoved me over to Rikopi, who acknowledged that I got shoved really hard. Finally more English from Nene, and I was out.

Tsukiashi Amane, Murakawa Bibian, Motomura Aoi (Lane 13) – All of my friends decided that they wanted to visit this lane, so we entered together. The queue was fairly big, but we noticed that the next lane over was completely empty. I decided that I would take advantage and go there next, since I planned on seeing Tomiyoshi anyway. We got to the front, and I gave my usual “good luck, do your best” shpiel to the KKS, since I really have nothing to say to any of them. Bibian was next, with her usual over the top Kami reaction. I told her that her MC was great. After an osashiburi to Aoi I was done. However, I looked behind me and neither of my friends entered the booth. It turned out they stopped the lane right after my turn to send the girls over to the handicapped lane. I would take advantage of their wait to quickly visit Tomiyoshi in Lane 14. I would be visiting this lane later on as well.

Tomiyoshi Asuka, Komada Hiroko (Lane 14) – There was no wait in this lane, and only a couple of people ahead of me in the queue. I greeted Tomiyoshi and asked if she was genki today, but then the fully expected push from the guard never came, so I sat there with my mouth open. Asuka was like “uhhhh” and sorta laughing, finally I got the merciful push to Komada who immediately asked me where I was from while Tomiyoshi watched our exchange since there was nobody behind me. It’s funny, I always struggle to talk to Asuka, while Komada was no problem. I think the issue is that Asuka always waits for me to engage her, while other girls will take charge of the conversation. Anyway, chalk up another awkward exchange with Tomiyoshi, which occurs around 50% of the time I see her.


In the meantime my friend Panda showed up at the venue, after spending the morning with SKE in Nagoya. I wanted to renban with him and visit his oshimen, Mikurin. But he informed me that he would only be doing matome with her. However, he said he was going to see Mio. Okay, she was on my possible ‘visit list’ I would enter the lane with him. And since he is also a big Mio fan, he could introduce me as his friend…

Tomonaga Mio, Oda Ayaka, Tanaka Natsumi (Lane 10) – It wasn’t a long line, eventually we made it to the booth where Panda began talking me up to Mio. She totally brightened up. When I came in after she had this huge smile on her face, and was totally genki. I told her that her haircut looked really nice, since the last time I saw her a couple weeks ago her hair was longer. I was eventually pushed to Oda, who gave me the ‘English’ treatment, then to Natsumikan, who immediately asked where I was from. I then told her that she was a great Shoten host. She enthusiastically thanked me as I left the lane. I have to thank Panda, because he totally upgraded my Mio experience.

Half my tickets were done, I knew I would be visiting Lanes 11 and 13 again, I had three more to decide on. The odd number lanes were on break, and the even numbers were going on break soon. I decided I would get into another even numbered lane before they went out…

Yamashita Emiri, Tsutsui Riko, Yabuki Nako (Lane 8) – I had noticed last week how genki Nako seemed with her fans, and that I would like to meet her. Well, here was my chance. And it was quite the experience, but not for the reasons I expected. Since I had never met Emiri before, I would give her the usual ‘nice to meet you’ greeting. But then Tsutsui saw me, and all hell broke loose. Grabbing on to me, she as just blurting out as much English as she could think of, holding on to me tightly. “Nice to meet you!” “Thank You!” “I Love You!” Eventually I got pushed over to Nako, but Tsutsun didn’t let me go, now leaning over Nako and just continuing to give me facetime, and every time I tried to speak to Nako, Tsutsun would just keep going. Finally I got pushed out, without hardly saying a word to Nako. But just as I was leaving, Nako asked me “Do you speak Japanese?” I responded affirmatively, and she just laughed. They spent all this time yelling at me in English for no reason. Anyway, points to Tsutsui for the tremendous fishing job. It is too bad she is graduating, I would have probably gotten a ticket for her after this exchange.


Two idols who were a lot of fun today!

Tsukiashi Amane, Murakawa Bibian, Motomura Aoi (Lane 13, part 2) – The even number lanes went on break, so I decided this would be a good time to loop my top priority lanes, which were both Odd. After going to Lane 11, which I wrote about above, I went to see Bibian again. I passed Amane in a blur, but when I got to Bibian I wanted to tell her that my friend met her and was really impressed with her energy. She gave me an excited reaction, per usual. Bibian is pretty much always ‘shot out of a cannon’ I moved on to Aoi, who I have similar experiences with as Tomiyoshi, not sure what to say. So I merely told her I enjoyed the mini-live, especially the MCs.

I had two tickets left. There was one lane left on my ‘priority list’ that I hadn’t yet seen. So to have no regrets I would go there next, and then decide what to do with the final ticket. Perhaps see Sasshi again? Meet Sakura for the first time? Or even Meru??? What I didn’t know was that these last two lanes would be my highlight of the day. It was totally unexpected too because it involved members I originally had written off as not being too interested in seeing…

Shimizu Rio, Imamura Maria, Tanaka Miku (Lane 6) – So even if I wasn’t getting to see Mikurin with Panda, I still wanted to meet her, especially since I am the person who receives Panda’s huge orders from AKB and HKT with all the Mikurin tickets. I thought she might be interested in knowing the person behind the scenes of his huge amounts of tickets. All of the lines were much shorter now, even this line was quite small. As I went through the queue, I noticed that Lane 7 was empty, I also noticed that Aramaki Misaki was staring at me. Eventually she nudged Yamamoto Mao, who was next to her. They both waved to me, so I waved back. All of the sudden they brightened up. But they had nobody in their lanes, so I gave them the ‘sad puffy lip’ look. They are both beckoning me to come over. I thought about it a second. Well I DID have one ticket left, so I gave them a thumbs up and motioned that I would come over. They both started jumping up and down, along with Kojina Yui, who had gotten into the act. I love being fished from other lanes while in queue! Anyway…

I went through my usual KKS greeting, then moved over to Maria. I congratulated Maria on being the ‘game show champion!” This time I got a more authentic reaction than the last time I met her. That made me happy. I finally got to Mikurin, and told her I was friends with Panda. (Actually I used his real name) I then told her that “all of his tickets come to my house” and she immediately burst out laughing. It was awesome! Panda has become sorta notorious for the amount of Mikurin tickets he gets, so it wasn’t lost on her what kinda of job handling Panda’s tickets probably is. In fact, when she met Panda later, apparently she was excited to tell him the story. So now she knows the person behind the scenes of all those handshake tickets!

And since my last ticket had been decided….

Yamamoto Mao, Aramaki Misaki, Kojina Yui (Lane 7) – This promised to be an excellent handshake experience after our exchange a few minutes earlier. Like before, there was hardly anyone in the lane. All three of them pretty much were addressing me at the same time, thanking me for coming, complimenting me. “Kakkoi!” “Handsome!” “Jouzu Nihongo!” They were spreading it on quite thick, I felt like was at a hostess bar. But that’s okay. I told them all I will come and see them again. The funny thing was the last time I met Aramaki she wasn’t like this at all. However, my friend said that she has improved at handshakes lately. It was my first time meeting Yui and Mao. And Mao is one in particular I had thought of meeting for a while. So I am glad it was such a fun experience. It was definitely a meeting so memorable that it guaranteed future meeting will be just as fun.

Talk about ending on a high note, eh? Two lanes I almost ignored ended up being the most fun all day. In fact, the entire day was a lot of fun, and just about every lane was a great experience. Sometimes it is good that your “oshi” isn’t around. It frees you up to meet other members. While the cat’s away…

Anyway, that’s it for me and HKT events until they release another CD. Same with SKE for that matter. I would much rather go to their exclusive events than the 48-group events. Aki-P and friends need to get their asses in gear and give these sister groups more releases.

 

CK in Tokyo

HKT48 HKT48 Bagutte Ijan Individual Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/05/06)

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HKT48 Bagutte Ijan Individual Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/05/06)

What a wild weekend I just had to bring a close to Golden Week. Over the last three days I have seen tons of idols, went to concerts, events, went to Golden Week events. I am tired out. And my vacation ends tomorrow, ugghh. Back to school/work. Anyway, this was the second HKT individual event in Tokyo to support this single. The first one was in February, and I actually went for two slots. However, I only had tickets for Akiyoshi. I talked about it in a combo report with the Wasamin cheki event back in February.
The great thing about HKT’s handshake event ticketing process is that they do so many resale rounds. I believe they went up to like 29 rounds for this single. It is nice because you can get tickets at almost the last minute. There is hardly a situation where you can’t go because you missed the initial lottery or first resale (Hello AKB!) SKE does something similar, which makes me happy that HKT and SKE are my two favorite 48-group Teams. I actually started with around seven tickets after the initial sale. But after so many resale rounds that eventually grew to 19 tickets. I had at least one ticket to pretty much every HKT member I had any interest in meeting (with the exception of Yamada Marina, who I still say I am going to meet one day) However, two-thirds of my tickets were for Akiyoshi and Fuchigami. In fact, the eight tickets I had for Yuka-chan were the most I have ever had for any member not named Wasamin.

It was a long day. I started in Slot 2, and went through Slot 6. I will go member by member…

Morning Slots

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 12) {8 tickets} – The first five tickets I used were all for Akiyoshi. I used the other three Yukachan tickets after Naopon in Slot 4. But before I could even enter the lane for the first time, I was greeted by one of her committee members. This girl is REALLY cute too, and she is friends with a couple of the Wasamin fans. Every time I see her she brings me Yuka-gifts to encourage me to continue supporting her. On this day, among other things, she made a Yuka-chan badge for me with my name on it. So I wore it throughout the day. I tandem-ed with her the first time through the lane, and they talked about me. Akiyoshi had made an orange peel starfish, which was sitting next to her. Anyway, I told Yukachan that I loved her portrayal of Tora-san at the HKT concert, and that she was really cute in the VTR. We also talked about Golden Week. When I mentioned the Gyu Fes I went to she was like “Oh, isn’t that in Odaiba???” At one point Yuka-chan started rubbing my hands, stating that she thinks my hands are quite soft. Is that a compliment? Finally, on my last ticket in the fourth slot she gave me a big “I Love You” as I told her that I would see her next at the ‘Shoot Sign’ events. Aside from Wasamin, I haven’t been this excited about meeting an idol for quite a long time. She’s great!

Kodama Haruka (Lane 1) – I had one ticket for Haruppi in Slot 3. I have long said that I wouldn’t mind meeting her, and I was finally taking my shot. It was touch and go for a while though with her extended hiatus from the group. Her line wasn’t very long, which fans tell me has been an issue since she returned. I wasn’t sure what to say to her though. I was greeted with the slightly surprised “it’s a foreigner” look I am well used to. I essentially said that I was an American, I was happy to finally meet her, and I liked her outfit. She smiled and graciously thanked me. So now I can say that I have met Haruppi.

BTW, Haruppi’s lane was right next to Sasshi. I was interested to see how Sasshi was doing since she had just gone through oral surgery less than a day earlier. Sasshi’s lane had a special sign at the front telling people that she may not be talkative because of the procedure. She was sitting down, and wearing a mask, but was definitely attentive to her fans. Ultimately, she didn’t complete her slots, bailing in the afternoon. But I think everyone was surprised that she made it at all, given the circumstances. So her fans still gave her a nice send off.

Okamoto Naoko (Lane 18) – I was lucky enough to pick up this ticket the day before she announce graduation. After that the fans snatched up all the tickets she had left. Naopon was her usual manic self. She was very excited when I walked in the booth and congratulated her on her decision to graduate. I was going to ask what is next for her, but instead told her I was at SSA and that I really liked her monologue part of ‘Love and Peace’. So happy that I had one last encounter with her before she left.

Those were all of my ‘morning tickets’ Up next was the lunch slot, and I had two tickets, including the first of my four Maichan tickets. I guess this is the point where I should mention the ‘Special Stages’. At HKT events they have a side stage set up where random members show up and do random skits, games, etc. It is quite often the 4th gen girls. but sometimes the regular members show up, and it usually causes the fans to make a mad dash for the staging area. I would occasionally go over to check who was there, and one time I found Maichan doing a batsu game with Kojina, Imade, and one other member. Usually by the time I got there the fan section was packed, and I could only stand in the far back. However, I got very lucky with one stage toward the end of the day…

Afternoon Slots

Tomiyoshi Asuka (Lane 16) – At one point I considered not visiting with Tomiyoshi anymore, I just don’t click with her that well. On the other hand, I think she quite good at concert MCs, and she is a very trendy dresser. So at least I can talk about that with her. Last time I saw her she had on a really nice black leather jacket. This time, she had on a cute pink leather jacket, so I decided to compliment her outfit. That seemed to go a long way, and she was very sweet and cheery. So perhaps I won’t give up on her just yet.

Group Lane #2: Sakaguchi Riko, Miyazaki Sono, Sakai Moeka (Lane 24) – I kept trying to get Rikopi tickets after she fished me so well at the AKB Shamekai event, but I kept losing the lottery. I finally settled on this ticket, Rikopi hanging out with a couple of the young 4th gens. Rikopi greeted me with a “What’s Ahhhhhpppppp?” when I got in the booth. I told her that I had not yet found a favorite member in 4th gen, and asked if the two next to her were worthy candidates. She was like “Yes! Yes!!! She said “Yes, please support these two, pointing to Moeka and Sono-chan.

Tanaka Yuka (Lane 15) – Late last year Yuutan attempted to fish me at a Special Stage for the 45th single(?) Afterwards I complained that she was cockblocking my Akiyoshi-time. But then some fans around here said “Yuutan fished you??? Have you seen her in a bikini???” Okay, I admit she fills out a swimsuit very well. However, that has never been a big prerequisite for me to support a member. On the other hand, she did make a concerted effort to get my attention. With that in mind, I decided to visit her. She acted surprised to see me, so I reminded her of the event I first met her at, and that he made me want to meet her again. I’m not sure if she remembered that event or not (probably not), but she did sorta light up when I said it. Ultimately, I had quite a few looks into her booth throughout the day, and she s definitely fun to go visit.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 17, part one) {four tickets} – I am going to divide my Maichan report up since it plays into my end of day narrative. Earlier I had seen her do the batsu game segment (The subject was the SoftBank Hawks) on the special stage. I was excited to see her in the cute pink jersey and short shorts. However, she changed clothes before the slot. So I asked her why she changed clothes. She was like “Oh, you were watching the batsu game? LOL” I told her that I bought my own HKT baseball jersey too. For the next two tickets she was telling me about the Team KIV party she went to during golden week. She said the food was great (although when she described what they ate, it sounded like she was describing KFC, LOL). I told her I went to the Gyu Festival and the Beer Festival in Odaiba, to which she replied “Gyu, yummy yummy!” I wanted to ask her if she ever drinks, but it doesn’t play into her persona, so I chickened out. Anyway, I would have one more Maichan ticket for the final slot.

I used the break to go to the goods lane and pick up an Akiyoshi keyholder, and sign a birthday card for Rikopi.

Slot 6

Murakawa Vivian (Lane 22) – I had three tickets for the final slot, then I would be done for the day. I queued up early for Vivian to get a headstart. In the meantime this was Naopon’s final event in Tokyo, so they did the big production and speech outside the lane. From Vivian’s queue I had an excellent vantage point, and even got a little face/wave time as she walked back toward the booths.


I was behind the cameraman, to the right

I was four away, when I caught Akiyoshi walking behind the lanes. I thought “What is she doing here?”, assuming she had already left for the Sunday HKT event in Fukuoka. She was going to do a special stage. Shit! I need to get this ticket done and run over there for a good spot!

A short time later I got to Vivian, she was wearing a cute, pink baseball cap with the word “TRAMP” prominently worded on the front with a cartoon dog, and in tiny letters “candies” at the bottom. So I commented that I liked her cap. She pointed to the wording and said “Tramp! That’s me!” My eyes practically shot out of my head as I wondered if she knew what that implied. I was like “Honto???” and she replied yes (pointing to herself) “Tramp!” Gotta love Vivian!

After that I ran over to the special stage before it started. I got a great spot, since many fans didn’t know who the next “guests” were. In fact, I was next to a little section where a woman was signing the dialogue for fans with hearing impairment. The event started. Not only was Akiyoshi there, so was Rikopi, Ueno, Komada, Iwahana(?) and NAOPON!! Didn’t he just say goodbye like 5 minutes ago? Tons of fans came running over to watch, so I was glad I got in early, and I got plenty of facetime and waves from Yukachan through the entire show. They were basically drawing talking points out of a hat, and needless to say, Naopon and Rikopi dominated the conversation. This ended up being a long segment, and I wondered if I would be able to get the rest of my tickets done. But I was willing to trade one ticket to watch an Akiyoshi special stage.

The show finally ended, and Yukachan gave me one last enthusiastic wave goodbye. There were 19 minutes left before the lanes closed. I had to decide which lane would give me the best chance of being done in 15 minutes so I could use both tickets. Fuchigami’s lane had been sort of a mess all day, so I decided to try my luck with the other lane. After all, I had already seen Fuchigami three times today, I hadn’t seen this member yet…

Tomonaga Mio (Lane 7) – This would be my second trip ‘north of the tracks’, which is what I like to call HKT’s Lanes 1-10, which is where all the top senbatsu member lanes are. Mio’s lane was definitely shorter than Maichan, so I had a good chance of being able to use both tickets. Mio was sandwiched between Nako and Sakura. I was surprised by Nako’s energy, she definitely has fun with her fans. Sakura looked like she just woke up from a nap. I know she is generally a low-key handshake anyway. Actually, I almost didn’t recognize her. She had very little, if any makeup on. Anyway…

I finally made it to Mio, and I told her that I met hr at the National event. She was like “We did?” “Yeah we did”, and that she was so genki that I wanted to come and see her again. She thanked me for that, and I was was on my way. I still had time, I would make my last ticket after all…

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 17, part 2) – I made it with two minutes to spare, and the line was still very big. Unfortunately HKT doesn’t offer that oshi-mashi thing where you can use your tickets in a different lane, so it was either use my last Maichan ticket right now, or eat it. Ultimately it took around 45 minutes, well into the girls’ dinner break to finish this lane. In fact, three lanes went into the dinner break. This one, Mikurin, and Sakamoto Erena (I didn’t know she was that popular!) It seemed like every other person in line had 5-10 tickets, which made the line move painfully slow. Eventually I made my way to the front, and Maichan had changed back into her Pink Hawks jersey, So I told her that I though her outfit was really cute. Not that what she changed into wasn’t nice too, but there is something quite endearing about Maichan when she dresses casually like that. I told her I was going to see Wasamin and Minyo Girls live tomorrow. She gave me a big thumbs up for the Wasamin show, but she said she hadn’t heard of Minyo Girls. Anyway, I waved goodbye and was on my way.

I bailed upstairs and met BigC and Pandadash. We chatted for a while before they went back down for their final slot tickets. In the meantime I headed to Akiba for some Yamachan wings with @memorybreak. It was a good event, but I had one more fun-filled day in store on Sunday to end Golden Week.

As far as all the members I visited today. Everyone was nice. But did they make me want to get more tickets for them in the future? Not really. For now I will probably stick with my main three of Akiyoshi, Fuchigami, and Vivian, and an occasional Rikopi and/or Tomiyoshi ticket. But maybe I will try Nako next time, she seems like fun.

 

CK in Tokyo