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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

AKB48, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48 8th Album Shamekai Event @ Makuhari Messe (2017/04/22)

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AKB48 8th Album Shamekai Event @ Makuhari Messe (2017/04/22)

This is the third of six Shamekai events for the 8th album. Tomorrow the fourth will take place at Makuhari. However, I don’t have any tickets for that. So this will be the final shamekai event I attend for this album unless they do a resale for the final event in June. Today I only had five tickets, plus one CD signing ticket. I had already pretty much planned how I would use both my signing ticket, and the open ticket I had (due to Mikitty’s graduation).

Also, I brought a friend to the event. (The same friend I took to the AKB national event last week) He didn’t have any shamekai tickets. However, I gave him one of my CD signing tickets so he could meet his oshimen for the first time. I knew he has been wanting to meet Tani for a long time, and I am glad I could help him finally do that. I didn’t need to get to the venue until slot 5. However, I arrived just before slot 4 so I could show him around the venue. It was fun to hear the thoughts of someone who was seeing an actual handshake event in person for the first time ever. Kind of reminded me how I felt so many years ago. But anyway, let’s get into my tickets…

Fuchigami Mai (Slot 5) I had just spoken to Maichan last week. However, I was excited to talk about those pictures the members were posting online last night. I thought Maichan’s was particularly sexy. However, that was almost overshadowed by the cute jeans she was wearing today…

When I first mentioned the photo, she asked which one I was talking about. When I described it she started laughing. I think she was well aware of why I liked it so much. In any case, I always like seeing her because she gives me such a wonderful kami reaction every time.


This is the photo I am talking about.

Sakaguchi Riko (Slot 5) This was my open ticket, and after Rikopi screamed my lane from a lane over back in March, I felt I owed it to her to pay her a visit. I had never done a shamekai with her before, so that was another bonus. Her line was pretty short, and I jumped in just as they opened the lanes for “day nomination” tickets. When I walked in I immediately noticed the little signs she had prepared. I pointed to them, and she immediately gave me the dog one. She asked which one she should hold. I just pointed to the one that first caught my eye…

The good news is that I have scored tickets for Rikopi for the next HKT event, and for the upcoming AKB single. We will see what kind of relationship I can form with her. I will need to keep up with her activities. In any case, I had a short break before Slot 6, but I wanted to queue up early since more than half of my tickets were for this slot. I didn’t want to get shut out.

I forgot to mention that I had another member in mind for both my open ticket, and the CD signing. It is a new member I have just started to really like, and I haven’t had a chance to meet yet. But when I saw 16th gen perform a couple of weeks ago, I was absolutely enamored with Yamane Suzuha. I love her personality, and she looks like a young Kawakami Rena. I did win Zunchan tickets for the 49th single, but that is three months away. Hopefully I will get a chance to meet her before that.

Matsumura Kaori ~CD Signing~ (Slot 6) Of the three tickets I had for this slot, Kaotan would definitely have the slowest queue. So I thought I would get it done first. The opened the lane up about 12 minutes before the start, and nobody went in. Heck, I’ll go. I don’t think I have ever been first in line before. That reminds me, some fans talk about being “last in line” for a slot, and that somehow means you are a special fan. However, the girls will tell you that’s a load of crap. Usually the people with the most tickets go last, only because then they won’t hold the line up. But it is no badge of honor. Like I said, I had never been firstt in line before, and the only time I had ever been last in line (for Nishino Miki), it was purely by accident. On the contrary, some girls say that they like the fans who are first in line because that shows that they were really excited to see them. I must admit, when Kaotan and Masanya came over to the booths, and both of them acknowledged me standing there, it felt kinda good. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. But I might try to be first in line a bit more often. Anyway, she apologized for being late, and immediately started on my CD…

Kaotan takes her time, so we got to talk for over a minute. I wanted to ask her about some of the solo events she does. I see her tweeting about them all the time, and I always think “dang, I want to go to those” So I asked her if there was a place other than Twitter that she posts about her events. She basically said to pay attention to her Twitter account. In any case, she did an excellent job signing the CD, eh?

Tani Marika (Slot 6) Since my friend got to meet Tani for the first time, I wanted to get her impressions. However, they were kinda hurrying people through her booth, despite the fact that she had a fairly short line, and it was still the beginning of the slot. So when I walked in, Tani said hello and immediately asked me what pose I wanted to do. She suggested the heart/peace combo…

Anyway, as I got up to leave I asked her what she thought of my friend, but I don’t think she was paying attention, so I repeated it, and she just thanked me. Then, as I was walking away she said. “Wait, come back! (He) is your friend????” YES! “Oooohh, Thank you!!!” Okay. I just wanted a little credit for bringing her a fan she had never met before. LOL

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 6) Gotta see my girl! When I was in line for Rikopi earlier, the queue was right next to Yuka-chan, and within her sight line. However, I don’t think she had noticed me. There was nobody in line, and the curtain was closed. So I entered the queue, aaannnnnnddddd I WON THE CHEKI! Great! If there was one girl I was hoping I would win the cheki bonus for, it was Akiyoshi. This also meant I would have some time to chat with her.

So while she was decorating the book and photo (the autograph was pre-signed, but she did the rest in front of me) I told her that I had purchased an Akiyoshi HKT baseball jersey (the jerseys they are taking pre-orders for in the official shop right now) She asked if I was going to live in Japan permanently, so that gave me the chance to explain what I was doing in Japan. I also told her I got a bunch of tickets for her at the next HKT event in two weeks. As I was leaving she gave me the cutest little grin, I could feel my knees get weak. And she did a great job with the cheki and book, don’tcha think?

But I forgot to talk to her about her starring role in the pre-HKT concert VTR at Saitama Arena, the one where she plays Tora-san. Damn! I guess I will have to talk to her about it in May. Anyway, I had one ticket left, and over 90 minutes before I could use it…

Matsumura Kaori (Slot 7) Per usual, Kaotan’s line was going really slow, especially when she would get the cheki winners. Also, at one point she left the booth for a few minutes. So as it was getting late they started to rush people, which was fine with me since I had already talked with her a whole bunch earlier. When I finally got in, she apologized that I didn’t win the cheki. But I told her it was okay since I had won a cheki with her already. I didn’t want to do a heart or peace, so we did the third most common pose…

She again apologized, and said she wanted me to win the cheki. I reminded her that I already have four autographed items from her. The business card, the old maid card, the cheki, and now the CD. So it was okay.

Afterwards I ran over to Yuka-chan’s CD signing booth so I could wave goodnight to her. But I got a triple bonus as she was hangin’ out with Rikopi and Tomiyoshi. So I got to say goodbye to all three of them. After that I took off, had dinner in Makuhari, and headed home. I am taking my friend to one last event before he heads home, a Wasamin event. Finally!

 

CK in Tokyo

AKB48, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48-Group “Thumbnail” Album Shamekai Event @ Makuhari Messe (2017/03/20)​

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AKB48-Group “Thumbnail” Album Shamekai Event @ Makuhari Messe (2017/03/20)
 
The cheki “booklet”

So Wasamin has finally received a vacation of sorts, as she has no events for an entire month. Given that it seems like it has been quite a while since I have been to a proper handshake/2-shot event. I did go to the SKE and HKT National events in February, and the HKT handshake event a week earlier (where I only had tickets for Akiyoshi) So I had mustered up a bit of enthusiasm for this event, despite the fact that I am not as big a fan of the 48-groups as I used to be. After all, many of my tickets were for members I had never done shamekai with before. And, I was going to see Akiyoshi again. That in and of itself made me happy since she is my new “best girl” in the 48-groups.

The other issues I needed to deal with were 1) what to do with my now “open” tickets since Mikitty graduated, and how would I use these CD autograph tickets. I had four of them, two for each day I have tickets for. One big issue was the fact that many of my favorite members were signing in Slot 1, and my first handshakes in this event start in Slot 3 (for the April event I don’t start until Slot 5!) So my choices were limited. But I had a game plan, we would see if it all works out. I arrived just before noon, and immediately got my tickets stamped. In the meantime they were doing the Senbatsu and Sousenkyo announcements on the big screen. Okinawa eh? Well if I didn’t go to Okinawa to see Wasamin, I am certainly not flying there for the friggin’ Sousenkyo…

Murakawa Vivian (Slot 3): I went to see Vivian first since I knew her line would be shorter than the other ticket I had for Slot 3. After a short wait ( and losing at the cheki lottery) Vivian greeted me first with surprise, and then with a big English “Hello”. I told her that I really liked her pretty blouse. We sat down and we decided on the heart pose.

 

She asked me if she would see me again, so I told her that I had tickets for HKT at Saitama, so I would look forward to seeing her there. The thing about Vivian is I don’t have that much to talk with her about. However, she is so genki in person it just makes up for that. So while I usually limit myself to one ticket per event with her, it is always fun. Anyway, off to my next meeting…

Suda Akari (Slot 3): I have always liked Dasu, but it has been quite a while since I actually bought an individual handshake ticket for her. the problem is that her line is always a total mess. Today was no different. It had reached “Sayanee level”, stretching out into the crowd. I also noticed her curtain wasn’t even open. After 20 minutes of not moving, I decided that this would not be worth the wait. Also, one of the girls I was considering using my Mikitty ticket on was Slot 3 only, so I took off for the other side of the venue…

Tanabe Miku (Slot 3): I really wanted to see Tanamin, since 1) I haven’t had a handshake with her for almost a year, 2) I wanted to congratulate her on winning Janken, and 3) The last time I actually saw her she gave me this really enthusiastic wave, and I kinda halfheartedly waved back. Her line was actually longer than usual. but I made it to her in about 20 minutes. She greeted me with “osashiburi” But I reminded her that I saw her at the Wasamin concert. She was like “Oh yeah, you are a big Wasamin fan” “And you have the Wasamin iphone case” I asked her if she joyed Wasamin’s concert, and eventually we sat down to pose.

 

 

I have always wanted to do a “beer drinking” pose with her, but before I could suggest it she thrust the Sakura branches into my hand. So it was decided. Anyway, it was good to see Tanamin again, even if I forgot to mention Janken. And Slot 3 wasn’t over, sooo..

Suda Akari (Slot 3): I decided to give Dasu one more chance, rather than making it another open ticket. Her line was still huge, but it was slightly smaller than before, and it was in fact moving. I only had one ticket for Slot 4, so I had time….

30 minutes go by…Slot 4 starts, now it has been an hour, and I still haven’t even checked in. I had a decision to make, since I was now risking burning my slot 4 ticket. BTW, this is exactly what happened the last time I saw Dasu. Line was a total joke, it didn’t move, and I ended up losing out on two other tickets as a result. I finally made it to check in, promptly lost the cheki lottery, and now the line was moving faster. By the time I made it to Dasu I just wanted to get the pic done and get out. But she was her usual genki and sweet self. I told her that one of the first times we met that she made dog noises at me, so we should do a “Wan Wan” pose…

 

 

BTW, Dasu noticed my Akiyoshi ticket holder, and immediately exclaimed “Kawaiiiiii” Anyway, I really like Akarin, but I can’t stand waiting in her line for 90-120 minutes every time I want to see her. So I am afraid this may be the last time I get a ticket for her. We’ll see. Anyway, I had around 10 minutes before Slot 4 lanes closed…

Fuchigami Mai (Slot 4 & Slot 5): Maichan is so adorable, and I would definitely oshi her in HKT if it weren’t for Yukachan. Her line wasn’t long. So I got to see her very quickly. Per usual she started off trying to speak with me in English, but immediately abandoned it. It’s funny, the first two times I met her she spoke a lot of English, but I think she has kind of lost whatever skill she had. In any case, I wanted a shot that emphasized her pretty smile, so we went with this…

 

I love that picture of her. She is so photogenic! In fact, when I was showing my early 2-shots to friends they all remarked how good a 2-shot they thought this was. So when I went back in the next slot I delivered that news. “All of my friends said that my shamekai with Maichan is the best of the day.” She was really happy to hear that as we took our second shot…

 

Maichan asked me if I was coming back. Like with Vivian, I told her I was going to the Saitama concert, and I would try to win for NHK Hall too. I checked my photo, another really nice picture of Maichan. She REALLY is photogenic.

Tani Marika (Slot 5 CD Signing): By the way, I had finally decided to use one of my CD autograph tickets in Slot 5. Since I had heard that the autograph lines seemed to be slow, I decided to pre-queue, so it wouldn’t mess up the time I had for the shamekai tickets I also had for Slot 5. This worked out well, since I ultimately was fourth in line. So it was just a few minutes before I got a signed CD jacket…

 

From Tani!!! Actually, I decided to go for Tani since the last time I saw her was at the High Tension event, where she watched me loop Mikitty’s line like 4-5 times. So I wanted to make it up to her. Not that she remembers, but I remember. Anyway, Marika spent quite a while doing that autograph since she saw I was wearing a Wasamin shirt. She started talking to me all about Wasamin. I didn’t get all she said, but I can tell she really likes and respects Wasamin. So it was a nice little conversation. I told her I would see her a little bit later. But first…

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 5, Slot 6): Finally, a chance to see my princess! This is how I know that she is my favorite member in the 48-groups now, since I could feel anticipation when it was time for this slot. And Drats! I didn’t win the cheki. Originally I didn’t care that much about the cheki, but after I saw a few of them I decided it really was a good prize, and if I managed to win one I would want it to be with Yuka-chan. Yuka-chan saw me before I entered the booth and exclaimed “Hi Kurisuuuu!!!” I immediately showed her that I was wearing my Akiyoshi ticket holder today. When we sat down, like Tanamin, she just handed me the branches. However, the ones she gave me were just in a big clump. So I started trying to untangle them so I could hold them properly. But Akiyoshi told me that I should be looking at the camera, so the whole “sakura” thing didn’t really work out the way she planned it…

 

I told her I would be seeing her again in a little bit. I actually had my 2nd Maichan 2-shot (which I wrote about above) in-between these two. When I came back I told Yukachan that I had purchased a few more tickets for her at the HKT event in May, so I would be seeing a lot of her in the future. Anyway, for the second shot I suggested a “rabu rabu” pose (which is what Tani calls it)

 

After the shot I told Yukachan that I would be bringing a CD to her and that I hoped she would sign it. She said of course, and I was off to see Tani. And for the record, after seven tickets I was yet to win the cheki prize.

Tani Marika (Slot 6): Like I said before, I was really happy to be seeing a lot of Tani today. When I entered the queue I immediately commented on her kakkoii leather cap, and that she was like “Motorcycle Tani” But the newly observant Tani noticed my Akiyoshi ticket holder, so it was time for a bit of taunting. Pretty much every response I was getting was “Ahh-kiii-yooo-shiiii” She eventually paused to suggest an “onigiri” pose.

 

But once the photo was taken, the taunting continued… “Ahhh-kiii-yooooo-shiiiii” At this point I am hiding my ticket holder. “Chiigau! Akiyoshi nani????” as I put it behind my back. But Marika wouldn’t let up. Too funny. I finally had a break until my final three tickets, so I went for a very late lunch.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 7 CD Signing): Like with Tani in Slot 5, I wanted to pre-queue for the CD signing so I wouldn’t miss out on the girls I had scheduled for shamekai. The problem was that Oguri Yui’s lane was right next to Yukachan’s, and it was a complete mess. There must have been 500 people in that queue, which was odd since there was a limit, and her slot had been over for an hour. It was such a mess that it completely blocked the lanes of Hazuki, Akiyoshi, Tomiyoshi, and Rikopi. The HKT fans started complaining, so they decided to move the YuiYui fans to some other part of the venue. Thank god! Although this caused the lanes to open up a little late. In the meantime Yukachan was taking pictures of us waiting for the lane to open. It finally did, and I was around 8th in line. While I was waiting in the queue, a funny thing happened…

 

Sakaguchi Riko was in the next lane over. Eventually she noticed me in Yukachan’s lane, and starring calling out to me. “Kurisuuu!!!” while she is waving to me and smiling. Wow, I am amazed that she remembers my name like that. I mean I have met her once. And now every time I see her she is totally making a big deal out of it. Now I felt bad that I didn’t have any tickets for her. I need to change that, since Rikopi is really making an effort to connect with me. Anyway, Yukachan was signing the CD as I told her I how excited I was about the HKT concert in Saitama, and that I actually lived not far from the venue. She also complimented my Japanese writing, which was on the back of the ticket. I reminded her that we are both left-handed.

Matsumura Kaori (Slot 7): The Akiyoshi autograph took a bit longer than expected, so I had to be strategic if I was going to get both of my Slot 7 tickets done. I checked both lines, Kaotan’s was a bit shorter. Although Kaotan’s lanes tend to go slow since she takes extra time with pretty much everyone, I took my chances. I checked in, and Yes!!! I finally won a cheki! I always seem to get lucky in Kaotan’s lane. In fact, at the Love Trip event I also won the drawing at Kaotan’s lane. Anyway, the lane was going very slow, I began thinking about what I would do with my last ticket if I couldn’t use it as scheduled. While waiting in the queue I was spying on Jurina, who was in the next lane over. I finally made it to Kaotan. she was like, ah you’re here, and you won!!! They quickly took the shot…

 

Now Kaotan really takes her time doing the signing part. She noticed my Wasamin shirt (I had hidden the Akiyoshi ticket holder, LOL), and she was like. “Oh right, you oshi Wasamin, right?” (Kaotan has told me before that she really likes Wasamin too) I told her I was a member of Wasamin’s fan club. Since we had all this time, I started telling her about all the different events Wasamin has done for her fans. Kaotan was really amazed. I then asked her about the events she does. I told her that I read her twitter and I want to go to a Kaotan event. She then asked how to spell my name in English since she wanted to write it both ways, and I only wrote it in kana on the sheet. As I left she asked when she would see me again, and I told her at the next shamekai event I would ask her to sign a CD for me. She happily agreed. BTW, that one handshake ticket took about 3 minutes. And now I had around 3 minutes to queue up for my last ticket. Thankfully the other lane was very close.

Hidaka Yuzuki (Slot 7): I made it to the queue, checked in, and whaddya’ know, I won another cheki, Yatta!!! The girl at the staff table was giggling at my reaction, so I blurted out “LUCKY!” which really got her to laugh. Anyway, Yuzuki’s queue moved quickly. Yuzuki was like “Good to see you again…and you won the cheki!” I suggested a baseball pose, not really knowing what that would look like. But I know Yuzuki likes baseball, so she suggested this…

 

While I was taking the picture, I mentioned that I was the one batting left-handed, she was batting as a righty (we are both left-handed) But she didn’t mind. As she was signing the photo we talked about the World Baseball Classic. She mentioned the fact that Japan was playing against the U.S., so I leaned forward and whispered to her that I would be rooting for Japan. She also noticed my Japanese writing, so I told her I had been studying Japanese. Anyway, I thanked her for the cheki, and with that my day was done.

In the meantime I resolved that I would be using my Mikitty ticket, and one of my CD signing tickets on Rikopi when I go to the next shamekai in April. She was actually one of the girls I was considering using the ticket I had today for too. I think her fishing of me on this day pretty much decided it. I also applied for Rikopi tickets for the HKT single when I got home after this event, but I ended up losing that lottery. Oh well.

One other thing. As I was leaving the venue, all of a sudden I hear a girl yelling my name “Kurisu Kurisu!” I started wondering, did one of the members break free? Who is this young girl calling out to me. I turned around to see one of the guards waving to me. It was my friend Suzuka-chan! And BTW, Suzuka could be an idol herself. She is really cute. It turned out she was working the event, specifically Lane #43 (Nakano and Yamada from Team 8) She said she was surprised to see me. I said “But you know I like idols, LOL!” After showing her my photos we parted ways. Oh, and I saw her today too and she immediately greeted me with “Hey, HKT!”

CK in Tokyo

HKT48, Iwasa Misaki HKT48 Bagutte Ijan Handshake Event @Makuhari Messe AND Iwasa Misaki Saba Kaido Cheki Event at Nippon Crown/Tokuma (2017/02/18) ~Breakfast with Akiyoshi and Lunch with Wasamin~

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HKT48 Bagutte Ijan Handshake Event @Makuhari Messe AND Iwasa Misaki Saba Kaido Cheki Event at Nippon Crown/Tokuma (2017/02/18)
~Breakfast with Akiyoshi and Lunch with Wasamin~

Saturday was the start of a wild 3 days where I would be seeing Wasamin on three consecutive days in three different prefectures, with a quick hit and run in a 4th prefecture to see HKT. It’s a lot of running around for the girls I care about…

When HKT48 announced that they were adding a 2nd Kanto event on the 18th of February, my first though was that I couldn’t go because it conflicted with Wasamin’s event. But then I realized that Misaki-chan’s event didn’t begin until the afternoon, so if I wanted I could go to Makuhari for morning slots. I checked the schedule, and saw the Yuka-chan had early slots. Great! I would pop in early, say hello to Yuka-chan, and then go back to Tokyo. Easy, right?

BTW, I hate going to early slots, either at Makuhari or Pacifico. It requires you wake up at dawn, and catch a very early train. Of course, there is always the chance of oversleeping, which is EXACTLY what I did. Shit!!!

I woke up to the bright glare of the sun, and I knew it wasn’t dawn. Checked the time, I was supposed to leave five minutes ago!!! I jumped out of bed, took a 3-minute shower, threw on my clothes while I brushed my teeth (luckily I had packed my bag the night before) and made it out of the house in fifteen minutes. Checking the train schedule, I saw the fastest route was via a Limited Express, but that is a major pain in the ass, so I decided to go the 2nd fastest via the Sobu Line to Funabashi. My train would be arriving exactly 16 minutes before Slot 1 closed. It would be close…

Alternating between a brisk walk and a slow jog, I made it to the building with 7 minutes to go, now I would just have to make it through security. Oh, and there was no way I would have time to get my tickets stamped. I would just have to take my chances that my ID is good enough. But security had other ideas. the guy checking my bag starts pulling things out and asking about them. I let out a low growl. “Dude, now???” Then the guy with the metal detector found something I forgot to empty out of my pockets. :fp: Finally they let my through, three minutes to go. I bee lined it toward Lane #12. There were two minutes to spare. I made it…

Slot 1: Akiyoshi Yuka.
I handed ALL of my Slot 1 tickets to the guard. She looked at them, checked my ID, and gave me a little smile. I was good to go. I headed down the lane, where Akiyoshi was just finishing up with another fan. She saw me huffing and puffing as I came into the booth. “Kurisssuuuuuu!!!” she said with a big wave.

Me: I’m sorry, I am late. I didn’t wake up!
Yuka: You made it!
Me: Genki?
Yuka: Yes, I am genki. You live in Japan?
Me: Yes, I live in Itabashi!
Yuka: I didn’t know you lived here.
(Now this whole time I am waiting to get pushed out, forgetting that I was using all of my tickets at once. So the push wasn’t coming Also, Komada was in the next booth watching and laughing at us)
Yuka: That is a cute t-shirt
Me: My Wasamin T-shirt?
Yuka-chan: Wasamin????????
Me: It is from Wasamin’s solo concert.
Yuka-chan: Sugoi Kurisu! (Now the push came)
Me: See you in a few minutes…

I left with a big smile on my face as I heard Akiyoshi and Komada giggling behind me. Now I could breathe. I went back upstairs to grab a conbini breakfast, and to meet my friend whose tickets I had in my bag. Now that I had a chance to relax, I went back down to the handshake area. No problems with security.

 

Slot #2: Akiyoshi Yuka.
For slot #2 I decided to split my tickets into two trips. For my first visit I decided to go into more detail on how I moved to Japan, and what I am doing here. Then on my last visit I finally revealed to her that I have oshi’d Wasamin for 8 years, and that I am a member of her fan club. I said I was only there for the morning, and then I would be leaving for a Wasamin fan club event (technically a half-truth, but sometimes my Japanese limits what I can say) But I really wanted to see Yuka-chan, so I only bought tickets for her. She was really happy about that remark, and asked when she would see me again. At first I said the next HKT Kanto event, but then as I was being pushed out I remembered that the first AKB Shamekai was in a few weeks, so I blurted out “AKB no Shamekai!” As I left I heard her still saying goodbye to me, so I turned to see her smiling and waving.

I kinda wanted to say to her that she has become my 48-group oshi. But sometimes I have trouble using that term for anyone aside from Wasamin. So I neglected to say it…this time. But yeah, I think she would be happy to know that she has become my #1 girl of all of the 48-groups. (Kaotan being my #2) Anyway, I would say goodbye to a few friends at the event, and then head back to Tokyo to see my #1 girl of all…

I made it to Gotanda about an hour before the Wasamin cheki event started. Jeez, I could have gotten more Akiyoshi tickets! I camped out at a nearby Tully’s waiting for Slot #1 to begin. Wasamin’s cheki events are pretty much like AKB handshake events. There are slots with fixed times. Wasamin’s gimmick is that she changes costume for each slot, which of course encourages fans to get tickets for each slot as well. What we didn’t know was that she would essentially be wearing the same stuff as the first cheki event two weeks ago. But that’s okay, all Wasatime is quality time, no matter what she is wearing.

We all knew the drill, they are very restrictive about where we can or can’t go within the building, and they pretty much escort us the entire time. After checking in at the entrance, we are sent to the third floor and taken to a waiting room. Once there is enough room, we are taken to a second room to queue, we get our picture taken, a little chit-chat, and then we are sent back to the elevator. Oh, the hallway on the third floor is lined with promo posters for various Tokuma and Nippon Crown Artists. Also, near the elevator is this cool statue of famous Enka artist Kitajima Saburo. They were slightly more loose with security this time, so I was able to grab a picture of it…

 

And here are my three chekis. By the way, since I forgot all of my concert gear for the last cheki event, I decided to bring it this time (which is also what caused the slight issue with security at Makuhari) Of course this time all of the fans brought either her PB and/or souvenirs from her Bus Tour to pose with. So once again, I was a bit behind.


I really need a haircut!

For the most part we just chit-chatted. I mentioned that I like when she wears chokers (she had one on in the first slot) I had told her that I used the experience of going to see the Battleship Mikasa with her as a class report, which actually drew a cool reaction from her manager, Ishikawa-san. Finally, on the third ticket, after Wasamin repeatedly tried to help me get that “Ninja hand pose” right, that we had a cute little exchange…

Me: At tomorrow’s dinner show, will Ebi be there? (I purposely said it like Ebi was a person)
Wasamin: (looks at her manager) Errrr….
Ishikawa-san: Errrrrr, Kurisu Gomennasai…
(Wasamin says something to her manager about Ebi)
Me: I love the photo of Wasamin with the bowl of Ebi (in the PB)
Wasamin: Ahh, you like the PB?
Me: Beautiful!
Wasamin: Arigatou!
Me: Goodbye Ninja-chan!

And that was it for the day, and after three trips to drink coffee between photo-ops, I wasn’t hungry. So I went home. I would be having plenty more fun with Wasamin on Sunday at her first solo dinner show. I will do that writeup the next chance I get, perhaps tomorrow night if I can make the time.

And just for a little preview, Wasamin and I had a personal interaction in the middle of her show that had the entire audience laughing. In fact, not only did I had people coming up to me about it after the show, it was a topic of discussion today at her event in Saitama. Also, Wasamin has been reading my twitter again. I got another recitation of some of its contents…

 

CK in Tokyo

HKT48, SKE48 SKE48 2nd Album National Pre-order Event & HKT48 Saikou ka yo National Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/02/12)

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SKE48 2nd Album National Pre-order Event AND HKT48 Saikou ka yo National Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/02/12)

Multiple 48-groups holding events at the same location on the same day is becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence. Such was the case on Sunday when both HKT48 and SKE48 had their National events right next door to one another. For SKE, this seems to be their big tactic for increasing the sales number of their second album. The only way to obtain tickets was to pre-order the album, either at mumo.net or at the event itself. For me, this would be my last chance to say goodbye to Mikitty before she graduated from SKE, so getting tickets to this was very important for me. And as long as I was there, I might as well jump next door and say hello to Yuka-chan, right? At least that was the plan…

A few days after ordering the CD I saw that the 48-group handshake event on the first weekend in February was being called “Mikitty’s last.” It was complete with group photo and everything posted on twitter. Now I was wondering why I went through the trouble of getting tickets when Mikitty will already be gone. Well, I guess I could use my tickets on Kaotan, or maybe Tani. And at least I still had Yuka-chan next door….

A couple of days before the events the schedules came out. I first took a look at HKT…No Yuka-chan. WTF? Why the hell am I going to Makuhari when the two girls I most want to see aren’t going to be there? But then I looked at SKE’s schedule, and to my surprise Mikitty was on it. Great! Not all is lost. I had considered getting more tickets than I already had (three for each), but with no Akiyoshi I would stick to three for HKT. SKE, however, was another story…

The Morning

I was going to wait until noon to show up, but all of my friends were getting there early, so I arrived at 10:30. My plan was to use a couple of SKE tickets in the morning, move over to HKT in the early afternoon, then finally back to SKE where I would finish out my tickets with Mikitty. It should also be noted that they had created a path between the two events where you could walk from one to the other without the hassle of security. So that made things a lot easier. Mikitty had a handshake slot in the morning, but I skipped that since I wanted to see her at night, closer to the “end” of her day. I spent my time watching all of the games they had set up. This was a pretty cool idea…

The Games

So you could spend your tickets on a handshake, or you could spend them playing the various games with members. They had basketball shooting, soccer shooting, baseball pitching, and badminton. On the other side there were some strength and measurement things, although I have no idea what those were like. There was a Haunted House (which did not get good reviews) and a booth where girls could try on actual member costumes. That was a popular line. In fact most of the games were very popular. The trouble was that most of the girls I like never participated in them, with the exception of Tani, who played badminton for almost an hour. I am kicking myself now for not going for that, but I was waiting to see if Mikitty or Kaotan would come out to play the games. I was here mainly for Mikitty anyway…

Special Stage B: Yakata Miki, Suda Akari, Goto Risako, Matsumura Kaori

 

Two hours later I finally spent my first ticket on the 12:40 special stage, featuring Mikitty, Kaotan, Dasu, and Goto. This was a lot of fun. The girls came out and sang Party ga Hajimaru yo!, followed by Doku Ringo wo Tabesasete. It was all done sorta tongue-in-cheek with the girls fooling around the entire way. And of course the MC went about how you would expect with those four involved. They did have a photography section, so I got a few cool pics…

 

Unfortunately I wasn’t very close. The combination of members made this a very popular stage, so it was pretty much full. The other issue was that this stage started at almost exactly the same time as the HKT Mini-Live, which was just on the other side of the wall. So we could hear that almost as loudly as our event. But it was still fun.

And that was the one ticket I used for the first four hours I was there. Mikitty had another special stage later on, but it was the same time as the HKT handshake event, so I decided to skip it…

Moving Over to HKT

After grabbing lunch in the SKE food court, and queueing up to pre-order one more SKE Album (and three more tickets), I moved over to the HKT Area. It was a good thing too since there was like a tidal wave of HKT fans pouring over to the SKE area (interestingly, far fewer went from SKE to HKT) I had nothing to do, so I hung out with friends as we watched the staff transform the mini-live area into handshake lanes. This took far longer than they expected, and the handshake event started almost 30 minutes late. I knew how I was going to use two of my tickets, I would decide about the last one at the afterwards…

(Ticket #1) Lane 15: Toyonaga Aki, Inoue Yuriya, Murakawa Vivian.
I was going to visit this lane second, but my friend wanted to see Aki, so we decided to tandem.  Of course I was there to see Vivian, but I was interested in meeting Yuriya too.  This was a National handshake event, so the line moves really fast. Also, in the beginning you are supposed to use the mini-live ticket exclusively, which I didn’t have. But since it just opened I guess they just assumed I had one since they let me pass. Anyway, when I got to Aki she excitedly asked where I was from, which I told her. Unfortunately, she pretty much took all the time I had with Yuriya too (who I really wanted to meet) so by the time I turned to Yuriya I was already being pushed away. Finally, Vivian excitedly thanked me for coming to see her again as I was pushed out of the booth. It’s a National Event, so quick one-liners are about all you can really expect…

(Ticket #2) Lane 16: Miyazaki Sono, Kurihara Sae, Fuchigami Mai.
If Akiyoshi wasn’t here, at least I would get to see Maichan. However, I would have to wait since they were now checking to make sure you had a mini-live ticket to enter a handshake lane. Fortunately, this line wasn’t very long so I just hung out close to the entrance, and the moment they announced you could use a second ticket I jumped in…

Sono just stared at me, and unfortunately I had nothing to say to her so I just stared back. Then Sae, to my surprise tried to fish the hell out of me. Considering that she completely ignored me when I saw her special stage with Yuka-chan last month, this was quite the turnaround. In fact she kept at me even after I moved over to Fuchigami, who gave me the usual “Kami” reaction that I get from her every time. She is so adorable…

So now I had one ticket left. Would I sell it? Would I use it? I didn’t want to visit those same lanes again (Kurihara is kowai!), but I was having trouble deciding which other lane I wanted to go to. Sasshi, Sakura, and Lovetan’s lanes were all huge, and I was never much of a Lovetan fan anyway, even if this is her last handshake event. I finally narrowed it down to two, and then one. There is someone I have contemplated meeting for a while now. Someone I kind of have a love-hate feeling for. i decided to give her a shot and see what she’s like…

(Ticket #3) Lane 8: Tomonaga Mio, Hokazono Hazuki, Sakai Moeka.
I have always thought Mio was cute, but I have been under the impression that she has sort of a shitty attitude, which is why I have avoided her. For me, “cute” only carries so much currency. I would much rather spend time with members who are fun. In any case, this lane wasn’t too long, and it was getting close to Mikitty’s final handshake slots next door, so I went for it.

I couldn’t see in what order they were sitting because I was blocked. It was only when I got up to the booth that I saw Mio was first. She had long, and light hair. I had never seen this look on her, and I thought it was adorable. She greeted me with a big smile and I told her I loved her hairstyle this way. She stroked her hair and thanked me and I was pushed to Hazuki, who I barely had time to tell that one of my friends oshis her. I was quickly pushed past Moeka, and that was it. I walked out of the lane really happy that I had a great experience with Mio. In fact, I am considering buying tickets for her in the future. And with that I went back over to the SKE event…

Back to SKE

I had five tickets left, One I would use on Kaotan, the rest on Mikitty. The only question was how would I use the Mikitty tickets since she had three different slots happening. In the meantime, I met one of the other Wasafans who was at the event. He wanted to go see Kaotan, so I decided to tandem with him…

Lane 8: Takatera Sana, Matsumura Kaori.
The line was really short, and we both breezed by Sana to get to Kaotan. My friend was in a tight handshake with Kaotan when he gestured that he brought me with him, and she got so excited. She finally let go of him to grab onto me, and it was pretty much just a few seconds of squeeing before I finally got pushed out. It is funny how Kaotan treats me. I mean she does play with me, like she does with most everyone, but for the most part she just acts so happy that I have been coming to her for so long. Well, the good news for her is with Mikitty graduating, Kaotan will officially become my SKE Oshi. She earned it!

Lane 9: Kataoka Narumi, Yakata Miki, Ishida Anna.
What I really liked about Mikitty’s evening lanes is that in both she was paired up with another member I really like. This time she was with Anna. After saying hello to Narumi-chan, I grabbed onto Mikitty. She immediately informed me that this was her final handshake event. I told her that I was aware, and I would be seeing her later. At that moment Anna grabbed me to say hello and Sashiburi. That was actually one of the most animated interactions I have ever had with Anna too. Hmmm…

I had over an hour until the last slot. I considered playing one of the games, but by then all of the lines were huge. So forget it. In the meantime I was watching the people shooting hoop and pitching. Jeez, some pretty bad athletes amond the SKE wota. There were a few skillful people here and there, but others…hidoi!

Lane 9: Saito Makiko, Hidaka Yuzuki, Yakata Miki.
The interesting part about this was that it was my interaction with both Miki and Makiko four years ago that made me a Miki fan. For those of you who weren’t around back then…

In a nutshell, I was in line for Kaotan trying to decide what to say, and Miki and Makiko decided to try to play with me from the neighboring lanes. I got so flustered that I didn’t realized I was next for Kaotan’s booth. While I sat there stammering Kaotan started screaming at me, asking me why I liked her. “WHY WHY WHY!?!?”, and then “I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU” as I was being shoved out of the booth. Meanwhile, with Kaotan still yelling at me out the back of the booth, both Mikitty and Makiko were laughing at me the entire time. The original story is on this post in the thread, if you want to read it.

Anyway, I entered the lane and Makiko gave me a real deadpan hello. That’s okay, Yuzuki was all ready to give me a nice excited greeting. Finally I got to Mikitty, and just as I was telling her I would see her for matome the guard puts me in this “bear hug” I’m WTF? What did I do? So I turn to him and say “Nani!?!?” He tells me that I forgot to put the ticket in my pocket. (This was a unique situation where the tickets were “multi-use”, and since they rushed me in so fast I forgot to put it back in my pocket. Why this is such a heinous crime, I do not know) In the meantime Mikitty said something to the guard, then called out to me. “Chris, it’s OK, you are OK” and gave me a big smile.

Matome Lane: Yakata Miki
I debated just using the rest of my tickets in this slot, but I had never done matome before, so I decided instead to wait it out. Obviously a lot of people had the same idea considering this was Mikitty’s last ever handshake event. So I hung out close to the lane so when they called for us I wouldn’t be far back in line. Since it was only Miki I would have a little more time to say at least some of the things I wanted to tell her. When it was finally my turn I told her that I fondly remembered the first time I ever met her, and I have always enjoyed visiting with her, and that I hope this isn’t sayonara. That was when she said she would still be on social media. So we parted with smiles.

I could have waited for the final photo shoot, but the line was extremely long, and all of my friends were done with their tickets, so I decided to call it a night. After all, I had to wake up extra early the next morning for the Wasamin Bus Tour, which you can read about on the previous post.

CK in Tokyo