Archive for the ‘Concerts’ Category

AKB48, Concerts Horipro Thursday FES 2018 ~Spring Song Battle~ at Zepp Diver City (2018/03/15)



A lot of odd events occasionally show up on the AKB-Group Ticket Center. I wasn’t sure what this event was, despite the “Hori” at the beginning being a major clue. It wasn’t until I checked the details that I got really excited….

Ishida x2?



My first true oshimen, and I have not seen her since shortly after she graduated from SDN48 when I went to her Gravure DVD release event at Tower Records Shibuya. That was what? Six years ago??? This was the clincher for me. Not to mention Ishida Anna and Tomochin, two former 48-group members who I enjoy visiting would also be there. On the other hand, it had been quite a while since I had actually won a concert via the ticket center. So I was truly surprised when I got the winning email.

I received a second surprise when I picked up my ticket and saw that I had entry #26. Diver City can fit over 2000 people, although I didn’t know how many people were actually coming, especially since the Horipro website said the show wasn’t sold out. But needless to say, with that ticket I would be very close to the stage.

Anyway, I got to DiverCity relatively early, had lunch, and then hung out at Tully’s waiting for doors to open. I checked the goods on the website, and frankly nothing appealed to me at all, so I had no interest in the “early bird” goods table. At 5:30 pm, they didn’t line us up. Instead everyone was in this mass of people as they called people in one by one. That seemed like quite an ineffective way to handle the queue, but whatever. They also made you buy a drink ticket, which I thought was slightly lame considering the cost of the show ticket. Oh, and the crowd was a sea of orange Ogino Yuka T-shirts. It seems like at least 1/3 of the crowd was there to see her. The only other performer I saw any evidence of a support group for was Yamauchi Suzuran.

When I got in, they quickly checked my bag. I ran over to the bar, and quickly grabbed a beer (took about 15 seconds) and then jogged in to get a spot. There was a walkway in the middle of the arena, so you could either go to the left side or right. Everyone was going to the right, so I took off for the far side, and got a spot right against the rail. Not really close to the center, but a good spot nonetheless.

I mentioned a few of the members who were performing. Let me give you the full lineup. The majority of the performers were current and former 48-group members….

The hosts were Ijiri-san and Oshima Mai
Current 48-group members were Myao, Suzuran and Ogino Yuka.
Graduates (other than MaiMai) were Meetan, Iwata Karen, Kasai, Tomochin, Harukyan, and former Nogi member Nagashima Seira. Ishida Anna was supposed to be there, but ultimately wasn’t. I didn’t read the reason for her absence, but I was kinda bummed out about it.
Non-48 Women: Kojima Ruriko, Sasaki Moyoko, Hamaguchi Junko, Yamane Chika, Koso Yoko
Male Talent: Ueda Kandai, Sadaoka Yuho, Okamoto Tomotaka

This was a “Spring Song Battle,” and the performers were put into two teams, red and blue, captained by Meetan (blue) and Kasai (red). The members chose teams by picking balls out of a box, which was shown via VTR at the beginning of the show. BTW, Anna WAS in the VTR, which made it surprising not to see her performing. Also, Kasai had some sort of throat condition, and was not allowed to speak. Instead she carried a art book with pre-written lines in it. As for their outfits, all Team red members wore some kind of red themed outfit, wile the blue team wore blue or white attire.

The first half of the show featured members singing various songs in various pairings and groupings. Interestingly, the Horipro members all have varying degrees of skill when it comes to singing. I’m a Meetan fan, but I am painfully aware that she is an awful singer. There’s really no one among the 48-girls who is an exceptional singer. Karen probably comes the closest, and Myao is surprisingly decent. Ranran’s not bad either. On the other hand, the other talent really carried the show, singing-wise, especially Koso and Uedo. Oh, and Okamoto Tomotaka, well….

This guy is amazing. He is billed as a classical singer. He’s gigantic. He towered over everyone in the group. He’s huge, from shoulder to shoulder he looks like a human wall. Couple that with the long and flowing gown he wears, he is quite the site. And, his singing is incredibly powerful, which is even more surprising considering he is a Soprano. He did a duet with Ranran that for me was probably the biggest highlight of the show.

The second half of the show was the AKB Battle, where they for the most part sang all 48-group related songs, and Tomochin performed her solo song OMG with two backdancers. They sang a lot of short versions of songs, and for the life of me I can’t remember all the songs they performed. I do remember Only Today, Korogaru Isshi ni Nare, Sakura no Hanabiratachi (Ranran/Okamoto duet) and Heart Gata Virus. I would have loved to see a performance of Oshi/Meshi, but since Kasai couldn’t perform. Speaking of Kasai…

It was nice to see the graduate members, and most of them looked for the most part the same. Iwata has the short blonde haircut, which is quite cute on her. However, I did not recognize Kasai when she first came on stage. Her entire face looked completely swollen. Now it IS possible that whatever her ailment is might be affecting her face, since I didn’t notice this in recent photos. Moreover, the rest of her body looks fine, so it isn’t like she is putting on a lot of weight. But yeah, she looked different. Meetan, on the other hand looked really good. I like the short top w/side-ponytail look on her.

As for the non AkiP-Idols, the one that stuck out the most for me (aside from Okamoto) was Kojima Ruriko. Let’s just say she has a slammin’ figure. It was fun to watch the non-singing idols trying to perform AKB songs. One of them commented (I think it was Hamaguchi) that after performing these songs, she had a newfound appreciation for the work if idols.

The end of the show was 1) the vote, and 2) the photo-op portion of the show. We were all given a red and blue glowstick to use during the show, not only as a cheering tool, but to ultimately vote on who won the battle. In the beginning, my glowstick refused to work properly, but after smacking it a few times, I finally got it to light up and stay lit. I was in a quandary, since I wanted to vote for Team Meetan, but I was standing against the Team Red side of the stage, so they would clearly see me voting against them, including Tomochin. Nut what the hell, I voted for Team Blue anyway, and we won. Yatta! It was pretty much a given since Ogino was on the blue team. But it was close, there were a lot of red sticks too.

I was looking forward to the photo ops, but ultimately was disappointed in the way they carried it out. In other shows I have been to, when they offer this benefit the performers will move around the audience to meet more people. However, in this show they stayed stationary throughout the song, I ended up with Iwata Karen right in front of me, so I got lots of great closeups of her. But Meetan and Suzuran were far away from me, so I didn’t get any photos of them. Bummer.

After the show there was a promised High Touch. A couple of the older non-48 group related performers didn’t participate. It was quite a line, and you were pushed through fairly quickly, but I was sure to pause when I got to Meetan. Actually, I saw her eyeing me from when I got about three away from her too. I also got nice reactions from Ranran, Tomochin, Iwata, and the Nogi girl Nagashima, who started speaking to me in English.

And with that I was out of the hall and ready for dinner. But unfortunately last order at all the Diver City restaurants was 9:30, and I got out at 9:31. So I was out of luck. Ultimately the show was fun, but I was mainly happy that I got to see Meetan again. Who knows when/if I will have another chance to meet with her. But never say never, right? It had been almost six years and here came another opportunity

CK in Tokyo

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Concerts, Minyo Girls Minyo Girls: “Mingaru Dream Paradise” One-Man Live at Asakusa Gold Sounds (2018/02/25)



This has become somewhat of a “home base” for the Minyo Girls, as they have been doing a monthly solo live at this club for a little while now. It’s nice, since they do advance ticket sales for a discount at their other events, and it’s relatively inexpensive considering you are getting a full show, usually with the full group. Although unfortunately Yutori, who is a big part of the personality of this group, was out because of school commitments.


Photo gift, pretty much a solo live tradition for this group

The more material Minyo Girls do, the better they are sounding. Needless to say, I have really been getting into them lately. Plus, their lives are a lot of fun!

I arrived at the station around 15 minutes before doors opened. I was surprised that they were doing crowd control at the station, although it wasn’t very crowded at the time. It turned out that this venue was right in the heart of the Tokyo Marathon. Luckily, everyone was already watching the race, and Asakusa Gold Sounds was off on a side street, so I had no trouble getting to the show…

The venue is pretty much standing room only, with the exception for a side seating area for family and kids, plus another section reserved for the members’ parents. We were led in by our ticket number. I had #35, but I was able to get a standing spot on the right side, one back from the stage. (It’s a very small venue) After reserving a spot, I headed to the goods table, and bought the two items I still don’t have, the hoodie and the “new” oshi towel. (I have the original oshi towel) This afforded me three handshake tickets to use later, and I spent a lot of time lamenting how I would use these tickets…



As I went back into the venue, I was again greeted by Yuua-chan’s mom. Miyabi’s mom also gave me a little wave. Yuua-chan’s mom came up to me after the show as well to thank me for coming, which was really nice.


The theme of the performance was “casual.” This I knew. The members would be wearing their normal clothes, plus their official hoodie. What I didn’t know was that the show had another theme; cover songs. I had mixed feelings about this, since I am really joying their new songs and wanted to hear them perform. On the other hand, the songs they did perform were also interesting. I didn’t know all of them, but among the songs I did know…

Momen no Handkerchief
Sochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu
Valentine Kiss

What do these songs have in common? They are all songs Wasamin has performed. In fact, two of them she has recorded! I couldn’t wait to tell Wasamin about this. (In fact, I did yesterday, as told on the previous post) A lot of the songs they performed were also fast paced. In fact, their version of Momen no Handkerchief had a real “metal” feel to it. Adding to that was Miki on the shamisen, who seemed at times as if she was channeling Eddie Van Halen.


Although the theme was cover songs, it wasn’t ALL covers. They did perform Ureshii Namida in the encore, which is kind of their staple “end of the show” song since it gets everyone to wave their oshi towels. They also performed a brand new song called “EMOTION,” which you can see below on this official video…

Plenty of shots of the back of my head, LOL.


What really made this show special were the big announcements at the end of the show. The VTR began with a message from Yutori, who was the one member not in attendance. This was followed by a few surprises. First…


Minyo Girls will be continuing their monthly performances at Asakusa Gold Sounds. Okay, cool. And then…




Rina-chan will become a full-fledged member of the group! Okay, good for her. I like Rina-chan, except that she still seems like she is “getting her proverbial feet wet” in this group. She doesn’t seem entirely comfortable yet, although they did give her plenty of solo lines, and she actually centered one of the cover songs. She is still relatively new, so we’ll give her more time to mesh with the other members. Although her senpai were really excited about her promotion. And that’s not all…



Minyo Girls will be releasing their first major single. Not only that, it will be the ending theme to an Anime. Wow, this was unexpected. Half the girls lost it on stage. All crying, LOL. A couple of them were still whimpering a bit during the last song. Then it was time for chekis and stuff…


As I said, I had three tickets. I had decided to do 2-shot chekis with Miyabi and Yuua. However, I wasn’t sure what to do with the third ticket. If Yutori was there, I would have used it on her for sure. I also considered using it on Miki, or even Kako or the new member. But when I got to the front of the queue, Miyabi was staring at me, so it was decided; two Miyabi chekis.


Miyabi chekis

Now the way they do this is kind of unique, and if I had known the procedure beforehand I would have picked a third member to take a cheki with. After all the group shots and chekis are done, everybody re-queues, and you essentially get a handshake/autograph session with everyone you did a cheki with. Since I had two Miyabi, I ended up losing the opportunity to do a handshake with another member. So I was slightly bummed about that. On the other hand, I have always said that if I picked a third member, it would be Yutori.  But alas, she wasn’t there.

Yuua went for the seifuku cosplay. She’s learning…

It’s so cute how both Yuua and Miyabi both know me with different names. To Miyabi, I am ‘CK-san.” and to Yuua, I am “Kurisu-san.” LOL. I talked to both of them about how they were singing the same songs Wasamin performs. Interestingly, neither of them seemed to be aware of that. I also talked to both of them about meeting their parents in Yokohama. Miyabi seemed somewhat surprised, however Yuua knew all about it. She got all excited when I mentioned it, especially when I said that her mom’s English is very good. Finally with Miyabi, I told her that I enjoyed her birthday SHOWROOM.




So I think I will make this a monthly thing, since I do enjoy Minyo Girls’ solo lives. It is interesting that this venue, Asakusa Gold Sounds is somehow becoming their home base. I have noticed this lately with a lot of the groups I like. They do play at different venues, but ultimately they have a “go-to” venue that they regularly play at.  FESTIVE has Twin Box AkihabaraTokyo CLEARS has Akihabara ZestKissBee has Diver City & Venus Fort, even Himeri, when she was in NoPlan had Yoyogi Muse. Interesting…

After I had all of my stuff signed, I headed out. The Marathon had long passed by, so the streets had become somewhat deserted. The show was a lot of fun, and I already have a pre-order ticket for their March solo-live, so I am looking forward to that. Not sure if I will be seeing them between now and then. We’ll see.

CK in Tokyo

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Before the Show

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

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

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

Part One (in brief) 

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

Part Two (the best part!)

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

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

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

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

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

The End 

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

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

CK in Tokyo


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


Plus, Wasamin meets her fans a few days later…


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

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

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

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

The “hoodie” kinda fits me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FLOWERS: Here ya go…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CK in Tokyo


Concerts, Minyo Girls Minyo Girls Challenge Stage Vol. 3 Live at Yokohama O-Site (2018/01/21)…Plus an Amazing Post-Show Interaction!



After seeing and having such a great time at their Vol. 2 Challenge Stage last Summer, I was really looking forward to attending Minyo Girls’ next big solo live. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. This show was full of surprises. New songs, new members, and then the biggest surprise that happened after the show as I was leaving the venue.

Unfortunately I am just out of the picture, but you can see my penlight on the far left side of the pic

Yokohama O-Site is a short walk from Yokohama Station, right in the middle of a major shopping and entertainment area outside the West Exit. I didn’t get to the venue until shortly before doors were opened. I wasn’t sure if it was festival seating or not. I mean I did have a ticket, and it had a number on it, but it wasn’t clear if it was a seat number. Once I saw the seating chart I decided there was no need for me to be in queue, so I instead went to the goods booth. The two big items they were debuting were a group T-Shirt and a Hoodie. They both came in XL size, however Japanese XL’s are kinda hit and miss with me, so I decided to just pick up the T-shirt. Additionally, I picked up one of their CDs (a friend wanted it) and a presale ticket to their solo live in February. That would afford me three post-show 2-shot/group shot tickets. Anyway, I made it to my seat, and put on my Minyo gear, this time remembering to wear not only my Miyabi pins, but my Yuua pins as well. I was in the second row, but had the last seat on the far right, right in front of the speakers.

I still haven’t tried on the shirt yet, LOLZ


The setlist had a few of the songs from their new CD. However, they also debuted three new songs they had never performed before. The first one was an original song called Hankachi DROP. Later they performed two old traditional songs, Akita Ondo, which was awesome. I think it instantly became my favorite Minyo Girls song. It almost sounds like something BABYMETAL could perform. Finally, Kokiriko Bushi, which they have released on video…

I hope they release more videos from the show, especially Akita Ondo!

As usual for the Minyo’s, they did have a photo-op portion of the show (much like Wasamin’s) Unfortunately for me, my seat was not very advantageous for photos, and I ended up trashing a whole bunch for being too blurry. However, I did get a few good shots in…


Miki and her Shamisen

However, the biggest surprise was when they introduced their new “kenkyuusei” member, Rina-chan. Interestingly, Rina-chan looks like she might be in the upper-half of the group, age-wise. They haven’t added her to the official site yet, so I’m not sure. But I am guessing that performing ability is a major factor in her selection since pretty much every member is a decent singer.

Left: Rina-chan, the new kenkyuusei. Right: Matsuri-chan (from Matsuri’s Twitter)


After enjoying my prerequisite 600 yen cola, I went back into the venue to line up for photos. I wasn’t sure why there were two separate queues, but once the event started, I realized the shorter queue was for group shots. Since I usually do group shots with this group, I switched over to that queue.

Have my two favorite members flanking me, and Yutori has her doll again, this time on top of my head.

I was kinda hoping Rina-chan would be in the group shot as well, but they had her helping with the sales table. In any case, the single-member cheki queue had grown considerably, so there was a bit of a wait. When my turn came I chose Miyabi, and she was very thankful. I confirmed that they sang three new songs in the setlist, and told her that she performed really well. At the end, she gave me a big “Thank You CK-San!” This would become very funny later on.


After the cheki I went back to the sales booth because I really wanted to take a cheki with Yuua as well. I still hadn’t purchased a ticket for their March Solo Live, so perfect. I bought the March ticket, and am now covered for the Minyo’s over the next two months. I could take another cheki too.


Yuua is such a sweetheart, although she isn’t quite as conversational during chekis. It is sorta surprising since she (and Fuuka) are essentially the main MCs of the group. I did manage to tell her that I love their new MV. Anyway, I didn’t want to spend any more cash, so I changed out of my Happi, gathered my things, and headed for the exit. It was at this point the most interesting thing happened……

One lonely flower basket =( Some of the fans (and family) also brought flowers


A woman was waiting for me at the exit. As I stepped out she said Hello, and asked me my name. she then introduced herself, as Yuua’s mother. She was standing there with Yuua’s Dad and younger sister and they were thanking me profusely for supporting Minyo Girls. We talked for a few minutes; she was asking me about what I was doing in Japan, and how I came to know the group. Her English was quite good (she said she takes lessons) I was about to leave, and she tells me to follow her….

“CK-San!” ~ Miyabi

Yuua in action!


Yutori stopped, like “Hey, I’m posing for you, take a shot!” and I blurred the pic.

She takes me over to this group of women standing by the staircase and intruduces me to them in Japanese. Just then, the first woman says “Is this CK-San?” Hahahahaha!!!! I know exactly who this is. Like mother, like daughter, she was Miyabi’s mom. I told her the story about how Miyabi surprised me the first time she started calling me “CK-San.” The other two were Fuuka and Izumi’s mothers, along with Fuuka’s younger sister. It was just incredible to be invited into this little pow-wow with the parents of the members. I mean I have met Wasamin’s parents before, and once met Himeri from DISDOL’s (and former Alice Project) mother, but never on the level of this. It was pretty neat, and I have a feeling I will be talking to them more in the future.

Another show perk; free pic!

Moar Minyo tickets!

After a few minutes I bid my farewell and headed downstairs to find lunch.  But yeah, quite a neat experience overall, eh?  Minyo Girls are definitely a group that is demanding more attention in the idol world, so I invite you all to really check them out!

CK in Tokyo


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


A few things…

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


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

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


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

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

Wasamin’s official Nagara Pro event page

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

CK in Tokyo

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Concerts, Minyo Girls Minyo Girls Solo ‘Countdown’ Live at Hamamatsucho Cultural Hall (2017/11/25)

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I mentioned on a previous post how I had scored a ticket to this show after the website declared it sold out. I really do like Minyo Girls a lot. I usually don’t see them very often, despite the fact that they are now appearing regularly at idol live events. However, they usually only perform on weekends, and they are usually the first act in the morning. Frankly, I prefer to see them solo where they have a much longer set. Actually, I pretty much feel that way about most idols. Solo lives are better than multi-act lives.

I took an afternoon nap before the show, and woke up quite late. So I was going as fast as I could trying to make it to the show on time. It was a good thing I knew where this venue was from seeing both Wasamin and Minyo Girls perform there in the past. I got there around five minutes before curtain, passed up the goods table for the time being, and get to my seat. It turned out that my Row J ticket was actually in the very last row….technically. They had seats set up against the back and side walls too, so there were people behind me.

Two cool things about this show. First, they were going to have a photo-op portion of the concert. This is becoming the new tradition for a lot of groups these days, although Minyo Girls have been doing it for quite a while. Second, this was going to be Minyo Girls’ ‘Countdown Live’, the ten most requested Minyo Girls song, voted on by fans on a dedicated website. As for the setlist, I am sorta doing this by memory since I have not seen any setlist posted anywhere on the internet. But here is pretty much what it was…

10. Iyouutsu! Kabuki Mono
09. Zashikiwarashi
08. Hanagasa Ondo
07. Himitsu no Yoru
06. Aizu Bandai
05. O-men Men Men
04. Ureshi Namida!
03. SAKURA☆ Kishi
02. Takeda no Komori Uta
01. Let’s Go Takarajima!
(New PV “Making of” VTR)
EN1. Toryanse (New song from upcoming release!)
EN2. Ureshi Namida!
(Note: I might be slightly off with this setlist)

Here is a video of the new song performed in the encore, AND the VTR of the new PV filming.

Overall, I thought it was a really nice setlist, and pretty much covered all of their best songs. My only two complaints. As usual, the song that fans like the most (Let’s Go Takarajima!) is not one of my favorites at all. Contrarily, Oni-san Da~are is one of my favorite songs, but didn’t make the list at all. It was, however, the play-out song as the girls left the stage after the encore.

A couple of thoughts after watching the show…

1) These girls really are superior performers. They are good dancers. They can definitely sing well. Miki is a competent shamisen player. Overall they are a an extremely talented ensemble of young idols. Unfortunately they haven’t quite caught on yet do to 1) their association with enka, despite the fact that they are becoming more of an idol group as of late. and 2) Their ages. Most of them are 12-13, with one 11 year-old, and three aged 14-17. Speaking of age…

2) I really like that they are adopting a more crossover Minyo/Pop style, as it makes them a lot more fun to watch. That said, I think it is important that they maintain the traditional/folk image as I think that’s what truly makes them special.

3) They are all definitely becoming more idol-like in personality, although talking to them it is obvious by their demeanor that they are young kids. It makes it slightly awkward to talk to them at times, but they are doing their best. This is why I almost prefer taking group shots with them as opposed to individual chekis. It feels odd being fished by a 12-year old, and Miyabi is a definite fisher.


4) I still have sort of a difficult time deciding who my favorite member is. I want to say it is Miyabi, since she makes a tremendous effort to get me to oshi her. Even in this show, when they roamed the audience, Miyabi was sure to look directly into my camera a bunch of times trying to give me a lot of good shots. I really like Yua too. She is adorable, and an extremely energetic performer.


5) At the end of the show, they made two announcements. First, that they would be selling tickets to the group’s Christmas Live Event, which I would love to attend but can’t. They also had tickets to their January Solo Live in Yokohama, which I CAN go to. The second, and biggest announcement was the upcoming release of Minyo Girls IV, their fourth mini-album (not counting their first indie release) Unfortunately for me that will be releasing in December while I am out of town, so I will probably miss most of the release week festivities.

This photo, taken at their latest PV shoot, was sitting on our chairs when we came in

After the show I went down to the lobby to decide which goods I would purchase for handshake tickets. I picked up a ticket to the Yokohama show, but they don’t give you tickets to that. The only items they had which I don’t already own were the T-shirt (too small) and the cheki book. I decided to get the cheki book, which would get me two meet and greet tickets. I could either use one each for chekis with Miyabi and Yua, or take a group shot. Ultimately I decided on the group shot…

When my tun came they all greeted me, and I asked Yutori who the doll was that she was holding. They all yelled in unison “Gangan,” or something like that. I thought it was cute that Yutori would bring a doll out for the event. After the photo I told them all they did a great job, and that I had a lot of fun. And with that, I took my leave. I was in a drinkin’ mood.

Finally, some of the photos I took at the event….


(l-r) Minori, Yutori, and Kako




(l-r) Miki on shamisen, Yua, Miyabi, Fuuka

Final Group Shot

I’m in the far back, but you can see me since I am holding a lightstick in front of my face

I can’t stress enough what a great group these girls are. Their music is great, they sing well, their costumes are beautiful, and they are a lot of fun to watch. If you have the chance, please check them out. I already have my ticket for their January live. Hopefully I will be able to catch them before that too.

CK in Tokyo


Concerts, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Acoustic ‘Love Live’ at Hamamatsucho Cultural Hall (2017/11/26)


We are winding down the year to the last couple of major Wasamin events in 2017. Her ‘Love Live’ Acoustic shows are becoming a twice yearly tradition, dating back to last year. This is not an Enka concert. Wasamin instead sings classic pop songs and ballads while playing guitar in an attempt to branch out and not be pigeonholed into one musical genre. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the first one in September of last year, but I have attended the last two.

This time, Wasamin would be holding two shows, one in the morning, and the other in the late afternoon. The venue, which is in a radio station building across the street from Hamamatsucho station, is extremely small, seating less than 200 people. I got a good look at it the previous evening when I went to see Minyo Girls’ solo performance. As usual, fan club members got first crack at tickets, and I scored pretty good seats; second row center for the matinee, and sixth row center aisle for the late show. I headed out early to queue up for goods, since I didn’t want to miss out on the cool new soccer jersey Wasamin was selling. (as well as her 2018 calendar) The shirt actually came in XXL size, which is a rarity in Japan.  BTW, Wasamin posted a video promoting the new goods…

I got me goods, and immediately tried on the shirt. Slightly snug. Normally in America I wear XL shirts, and I can usually wear an XL in Japan too. But for some reason when it is a Jersey, XXL is more like a regular large. Oh well. I also picked up a couple of CDs since Wasamin would be holding a handshake event after each show. Doors opened at 11 a.m., and since the venue was on the 12th floor, we were taken up in groups of ten via the elevators. The fan club came through with another beautiful flower/ balloon set.

The show started with a music box version of Hatsuzake, as Wasamin hit the stage. For this show, she would have a piano accompanist. She was wearing a very pretty black dress, that from my vantage point really showed off her cute legs. Here is the matinee setlist…

Matinee Performance
1. Snow Halation (μ’s)
2. Chippokena Ai no Uta (Ohara Sakurako)
MC Nagara Pro’s relationship with the Cultural Broadcasting station
3. Kandagawa (Kaguyahime)
4. Nagori Yuki (Kaguyahime)
MC Wasamin doesn’t like Winter, it is too cold. History of ‘Love Live’ concerts
5. Sweet Memories (Matsuda Seiko)
6. Watarasebashi (Moritaka Chisato)
7. Fuyu ga Kuru Mae ni (Kamifusen)
8. Fuyu ga Hajimaru yo (Makihara Noriyuki)
MC Summary of Winter themed songs
9. Nora (Kinoshita Yuko)
MC Today’s new goods
10. Himawari no Yakusoku (Hata Motohiro)
MC Special drawing, five fans win a signed cheki
11. Orion (Nakashima Mika)
MC Introduction of the pianist
12. Yuki no Hana (Nakashima Mika)
EN1. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara (Iwasa Misaki)


Interestingly, quite a few of the songs Wasamin performed had English lyrics. It is no secret that her English is not very good, so I am always interested in hearing her singing in English. It just melts my heart. Her English, as bad as it is, is soooo cute! Also, her performance of Fuyu ga Kuru Mae ni was incredible. It is a really powerful song, and Wasamin doesn’t often sing with THAT much power. I was really impressed! For the encore she changed into her new soccer jersey, which looked really cute under her black skirt.

The post-show handshake event was held in the station lobby, down on the second floor. I told Misaki-chan that I LOVED Fuyu ga Kuru Mae ni, and that I also enjoy when she sings in English. She asked how her English sounded. I gave her a big thumbs up and said Cho-Kawaii!

We had almost two hours until doors opened for the late show, so I decided to eat lunch at Devilcraft, and have a couple of beers. That may not have been the best choice since the beers started hitting me in the late show, and I suddenly felt really tired. In fact, I think I dozed off briefly. But I was able to shake myself awake and pay attention. I don’t think Wasamin would appreciate me sleeping in her show.

In addition to the goods, they were also selling tickets to Wasamin’s 4th concert in Ebisu, as well as tickets to NagaraPro Enka Matsuri in January. I have already pre-ordered my 4th Concert tickets, but I still hadn’t decided whether I wanted to go to the Nagara Pro NHK Hall Show. The tickets are quite expensive. (10,000 yen!) But since they were actually selling tickets for the special Wasamin cheering section, I bit the bullet and bought a ticket for the late performance. Once is usually enough for me and Nagara Pro Enka Matsuri, even if Wasamin promises to sing different songs in each show. The real stars of the event are Kiyoshi and Mizumori anyway.

Late Performance
1. Kabukicho no Joou (Shiina Ringo)
2. I Wanna See You (Abe Mao)
MC Promoting Cultural Broadcasting
3. Heroine (Back Number)
4. Konayuki (Remioromen)
MC Promotion of the water company Wasamin is the image girl for
5. Sweet Memories (Matsuda Seiko)
6. Watarasebashi (Moritaka Chisato)
7. Fuyu ga Kuru Mae ni (Kamifusen)
8. Fuyu ga Hajimaru yo (Makihara Noriyuki)
MC Backstory of Watarasebashi, apparently it’s a favorite of her manager?
9. Nora (Kinoshita Yuko)
MC Promotion of new goods
10. Chippokena Ai no Uta (Ohara Sakurako)
MC Special fan drawing for signed chekis
11. Orion (Nakashima Mika)
MC Pianist introduction
12. Yuki no Hana (Nakashima Mika)
EN1. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara (Iwasa Misaki)


Around 2/3 of the set was the same, but there were a few songs changed up in the beginning, and toward the end. Wasamin had on the same outfit, but she changed her earrings. And of course the MCs were somewhat different. I was really hoping she would sing Sweet Memories and Fuyu ga Kuru Mae ni again, which she did. And there were even more English lyrics in the second set.

And about that drawing. Unfortunately I didn’t win any of the signed chekis, although I did come close. The seat two to the right of me (B-12, I was B-10) won in the early show. Wasamin announced “B…juu….ni!” Dammit, I thought for a second I had it! Instead it was Yukikaze, who I also mentioned in my HKT/SKE handshake report on my last post.

I was one of the first in line for the post show handshake. I thanked Wasamin for the show, and told her she was great. I also explained to her that the #23, which is the number on the back of the soccer jersey, is also famous in America as being the uniform number of Michael Jordan. All the people in line behind me, as well as her manager, went like “Ooohhh” since I am sure they have seen people wear that old Bulls jersey in the past. I think Wasamin knew who I was talking about, although I didn’t confirm it with her.

I wasn’t hungry, so I decided to head home and get some homework done. I also wanted to check out the calendar. As Wasamin said in her video in the above post, it is a cute calendar. The same CD Jewel Box style she sold last year. And I think I will be joying the Spring, as April and May are among my favorite of the the photos.

And here is the soccer jersey…

Next up for me is Wasamin’s River Cruise luncheon on December 9th. I got my official confirmation in the mail this week, as well as a cute little gift from Wasamin…



CK in Tokyo


AKB48, Concerts 16th Gen ‘Let’s Go Kenkyuusei’ 16th Gen Stage Live, 4pm Late Show (2017/11/19)


This was supposed to be an “all-Wasamin” weekend…

Actually this was supposed to be a light weekend. The type of weekend where I could catch up on personal stuff. But then at the last minute Wasamin announced that she would be doing a slew of mini-lives, most of which were taking place around the Northern part of Tokyo, very close to my apartment. So my plan was to go to most of those events, and spend the rest of my time on personal stuff. I was just getting on the train to go to Wasamin’s first event when I got the email…

Sunday Afternoon Show, 16th Gen Kenkyuusei. Cancel Machi #103.

I am always happy to win a show, but this put me in a real quandary. When I was deciding which Wasamin events to attend, the one I was most excited about was the Sunday afternoon one since it was within walking distance to my house. I had also resolved to skip Wasamin’s early Sunday event, since of the four, it was the furthest away from me. But I have a personal rule, which I have mentioned before in this thread. If I win a show, or get cancel machi, regardless of how high the number, I will go.

But Cancel Machi #103, sheesh. There were no guarantees with this one. In fact, the odds were on me not getting in at all, which means I could be blowing off Wasamin, and not seeing AKB either. But, I decided to take the chance. And since Wasamin specifically asked me if she was seeing me on Sunday, I bit the bullet, and went to the early event in Koiwa…

So after seeing Wasamin in the late morning, running errands across town, eating lunch in Shinjuku, I headed over to Akiba. Quite the zig-zag, as I was basically going back and forth on the Sobu Line, LOL. After vegging out in Excelssior Cafe for a while, I headed over to the Donki. The online pre-cancels for the show were already close to #40. Additionally, there wasn’t a long line for tickets, and there weren’t too many people waiting for cancel machi. I started feeling more confident about my chances. There was no real last-minute rush, so they started calling cancel machi numbers right at 3:30pm. From the 40’s, into the 60’s, he started slowing down. The call then resumed and went all the way up to #80 before it was cut off. Okay, I wasn’t counting on making it into the seat lottery. I surveyed the room. There were exactly 16 cancel machi people left, and since they usually allow 10 more in via the second chance lottery, I felt I had a decent chance now. I got slightly worried when the first couple numbers were present, but eventually he crossed the 100 threshold, and called my number. I was ultimately the 2nd to last person called, as they cut it off after the guy behind me (#108)

So great, I won the show! Who cares if I was going to ultimately be the 2nd to last person to enter the theater, right? This would be my 39th Theater Show, my fifth time seeing the 16th Gen Kenkyuusei, and my 4th time seeing the “Let’s Go Kenkyuusei” Stage. Right now the 16th gen is by far my favorite AKB team, so I am more than fine winning all of these kenkyuusei shows. As expected, when I entered there was only standing room in the very back, but oddly most people were jammed into the left and right side, the center back was not nearly as packed as usual. So I ended up standing dead center. I had to look over people’s shoulders, but I had a fairly good view of the center stage, although I couldn’t see the sides at all.

I’m ultimately going to do this review slightly different. I mean, you guys know how stage shows work, and I have already talked about this stage three times on this blog. I feel like I am getting to know these members. As such, while I was watching I started compiling a list of the members I like, and why. I will also tie this in with the “high-wave” at the end, since I put a lot of stock into how members react to me, and it affects who I ultimately like.

Zunchan: is currently my favorite member in AKB. I love watching her perform. The way she moves, her expressions, they way she plays with the other members, and the fans. She has an adorable face. And I am not even getting into the experience of seeing her at handshakes. This girl is top notch, needs to be promoted, and when she is promoted, she needs to be prominent in the group. Period! She is always at the very end of the “High Wave” line, and since I see her at handshake events, I always get a good reaction.

Zukkii: Is the other “All-Star” in the 16th gen. And since they put her in the U-17 Senbatsu, and she has a solo unit in this stage, I would say they have plans for her. It is also amazing the way she transforms when putting on the leather and garter for that unit too. Normally she looks very young, and she has has a body like a bean pole. Oh, and I love the “shocked” expression she gave me tonight in High Wave.

Satomina: Right now I call her my #3. She is one of those that I like, but then I am afraid to like her too much since she is kinda ‘babyish’. But it really seemed like she took it to the next level tonight. She was out front for many of the songs, and she was much more outgoing in the MCs. I love that expression on her face, where she always has her mouth open. It’s cute. On the other hand, I got virtually no reaction from her at the High Wave, so I fear if I meet her, she might be a disappointment, personality-wise.

Anyway, those are my top three. As for others who make an impression…


Ayamin, Naamin: The two ‘tall girls’ aside from Zukkii. I must admit that I always notice them every time I see the 16th gen, but I kind of bypass them since I don’t consider them my favorite. All that said, it is time to admit that they always catch my attention since they are always performing to a level to make me notice them. Ayamin also seems exceptionally confident on stage. She is also one of the members who tries to speak English with me during High Wave. I would put both of these members in the upper tier of 16th gen.

Kana: I have gone back and forth in my mind over Kana. Sometimes I like her, and sometimes I think she looks ‘goony’. However, she is the main reason I think the ‘Cross’ unit is so awesome. Her performance is especially fierce, and in my opinion, has the intensity that Team 4’s ‘Confession’ unit is missing. Oh, and she is one of the others who tries to speak English with me, so fishing points for her.

Orin: I originally didn’t care for Orin, or perhaps I should say that I didn’t want to like Orin. I didn’t care for the way that everyone seemed to ‘pile on’ to being her fan since she is Tomu’s sister. She was the one 16th gen (iirc) that made senbatsu, and to me she didn’t necessarily deserve it. Her bloodline got those votes. I also think, like Kana, that she is kinda of goofy looking, LOL. On the other hand, for the last three shows she has tried very hard to make an impression on me, either during the show or in High-Wave. Now, I am usually a sucker for a good fisher, but it doesn’t always work. I have had idols who I had no interest in whatsoever try to fish me, and I thought “yeah, who are you kidding?” Inagaki has done this with me on occasion, but not as consistently as Orin. Anyhow, Orin gets points for effort.

As for the rest. Well, they just don’t make an impression on me, for whatever reason. I will say that I noticed some of them really trying to appeal to the fans tonight. Tacchan in particular comes to mind. But my head is not on a swivel, and I try to pay as much attention to my ‘Top 3″ as possible.

So anyway, I finished high touch, retrieved my bag, and decided to finally purchase one of those photosets they offer after the show. I had always blown them off, until I actually looked at the most expensive set.

It is really nice! With the cute folder you can also put your ticket into. I may get these from now on, they are a nice keepsake. 1200 yen, it is probably a bit more expensive than it should be, but what the heck. What they should probably do is throw in a pic of one member too.

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Concerts Team 4 “Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai” Live at the Donki, Chiba Erii’s Birthday Stage! (2017/11/06)



I originally planned on doing a writeup on this past weekend’s 48-Group handshake event. However, I kinda want to report on this one while it is fresh in my mind. Actually, it was while I was hanging out at Pacifico during the Sunday event that I got my cancel machi email. I was initially surprised because i thought I had already lost this particular stage application. But I checked the ticket center, and there it was. Cancel Machi for Monday’s Team 4 Stage. The good news was that I had a fairly decent cancel machi number (#55) so I figured my chances were good…

I checked my account throughout the day to find out how many cancellations the theater had, and it was stuck on 5 all morning. Around lunch it had risen to 15. Now all of a sudden I wondered how good my chances were. After all, it was a birthday stage, and most of Team4’s big players were going to be there. Oh well, as I make it a rule to show up no matter how good or bad I think I chances might be, I headed out to Akihabara.


I got to the Donki around 10 minutes prior to cutoff. Surprisingly, the queue to purchase tickets wasn’t very long. On the other hand, the cancel machi group was very big. However, that all changed, as five minutes before cutoff an onslaught of people came up the escalator. WTF??? Ya know, that never ceases to annoy me. Why do so many people show up at the last possible second to purchase their ticket?  The staff was temporarily overwhelmed, which actually caused them to extend the cutoff time for people to queue by five minutes. That actually became kinda significant to me…

Cancel Machi

They finally cut off the line, and got it relatively shorter, and started calling cancel machi numbers. At this point, I didn’t have a great feeling about my chances, but they kept calling numbers. Into the 20’s, the 30’s, the 40’s, the 50’s. Could it be???

Nope, they cut it off at #52. Now remember I mentioned they kept the line open around five minutes past cutoff, and they let around 8-9 people into the queue during that time. This meant that I would have won in the initial cancel machi had they not done that. But the good news was that I was pretty much assured a chance of getting in via the second lottery. Sure enough, I was second in line. Score-a-rooni! Ultimately it didn’t really matter, as the last group of people who won the initial cancel machi got a bad draw-in during the seat lottery, being called 3rd to last.

Team 4, and Birthday Festivities

So this would be my 38th theater show. It would be my first time ever seeing Team 4. It would also by my first time seeing the Himawari-gumi 2nd stage, which happens to be in my Top 3 all-time favorite stages, live in person. I was excited! This show was also celebrating Chiba Erii’s 14th birthday, so when I queued up for my ticket, I was handed a birthday “goodie bag” by one of her committee members. It was kind of anemic. There was a call chart, and a lightstick color chart. However, they did not provide lightsticks, it was B.Y.O.”gs”. Oh well. Oh, and it had a little rubber birthday bracelet! Anyway, I made it into the theater, and found a spot on the right side. It was a crappy view, with the pillar blocking the center stage, but I could see the far right side clearly, and the far left side, and could sorta see the center via the mirror on the pillar, LOL. The show started with a special “Erii” version of “Tiger, fiber…”

I must admit that I forgot to check who was performing in this stage. So I didn’t know that there were A LOT of replacements from other teams on the roster. Among the members not performing were Saho, Juri, and Sato Kiara. In their place were Shimada Haruka (didn’t she graduate already?), Shimoguchi Hinana, Yamabe Ayu, and Nishikawa Rei. But the biggest, and best surprise was that Mio was actually performing. That made it clear who I would be rooting for.

The Show

The crowd seemed to be in a very rambunctious mood. The calls, especially for Erii, were loud and long. Since my best view was on the right side of the stage, I missed what was going on in the center most of the time. However, Komiharu, Kojimako, and Okada Nana spend A LOT of time on this side of the stage, so I saw a lot of them. Additionally, I saw a lot of Nozawa Rena, Hinana, and Yuiri. I was really impressed with how much Komiharu interacts with the audience. I remember seeing her debut in the theater over four years ago, and she has really matured as an AKB idol. In fact, at the end of the show she spotted me and started waving. Also, the more I watch Mio, the more I think she is absolutely adorable. And since she has been growing her hair out, whoah! I spent most of the show wishing Mio would come to the far right side of the stage. She did, occasionally. But she spent more of her time in the center or on the left.


Confession, and Notable Performances

When I saw this performance a month ago I noted how I thought it was the worst performance of ‘Confession’ I had ever seen in my life. I felt it lacked energy, and was poorly sung. I wanted to draw a comparison to this performance. However, my view wasn’t very good, so I don’t think I can make a fair comparison. As for who stood out to me (aside from Mio) I mentioned before that I was extremely impressed with Komi’s stage presence. I also thought that Shimoguchi carried herself well on stage, although she isn’t really my type of idol. Murayama seems to be quite energetic too. That said, my MVP goes to Komiharu.



After the show, the birthday celebration for Erii, and watching the new single MV, we got to do the farewell “High Wave.” I got the best reactions from Komiharu, Mio (of course), and Nozawa. In fact, when Rena saw me her eyes widened, and as I turned back toward her a second later she was still staring at me, LOL. A couple of the members also started speaking English to me. Okada Nana was one of them, and I think the other one might have been Sayaya.

Anyhow, a fun time. I hope I win at least one more show before I head out of town for the holidays.


CK in Tokyo