Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Events, HKT48 HKT48 1st Album Shamekai Event at TOC Gotanda Messe (2018/05/20)

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This was the last in the series of both AKB48 and HKT48’s album shamekai events. Despite only having three usable tickets the first time around, I had a lot of fun during ‘Sports Day’ where the members wore sporty clothing and we took photos with sports themed backdrops. I was also really looking forward to seeing Yukachan again since it had been a while. I didn’t win a ticket for the Romeo and Juliet musical, and I had to oshimashi my Yukachan ticket at the 48-group event last week since she was out for the day (I used it on Yamauchi Suzuran) I also got the great news that Tomonaga Mio would be attending the event, and those of us who couldn’t use our Mio tickets last time could use them at this event as a makeup. That gave me five tickets in total to use.

TOC Gotanda Messe is similar to Tokyo Ryutsu Center in that it is extremely small compared to Pacifico, Makuhari, or Big Sight. And like Ryutsu Center, the lanes were spread out over two different rooms. Both rooms were relatively similar in size. The first room contained lanes 14-22, which were generally the girls who usually have shorter queues. It also had the entrance/bag check, information desks, and handicapped seating area. The far room had lanes 1-13, plus lane 23 which was the ‘Group Shamekai’ lane. I didn’t notice they had added this feature, and Yukachan’s group sold out before I tried to apply. In-between the two rooms was a large hallway, where they moved spillover queues, then the outside parking lot had food, goods, and photo trading. I got in before the 2nd slot started, and immediately queued for Yukachan…

Slot 2

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) “Otona Ressha”: While waiting in queue for Yukachan, Hokazono Hazuki’s lane already opened. Hazuki was wearing tight, black leather pants and a red leather jacket from the 10th single Platinum Girls B-side, and with her red hair she looked totally hawt. In fact, at one point she caught me checking her out and smiled at me. Meanwhile, Yukachan’s lane finally opened up. Great to see her out of her cast and without her legs covered. Plus, she was wearing the outfit of one of, if my my favorite 48-group songs of all time, cool! When I was third in queue I caught her eye and she smiled at me. Finally it was my turn. “Kurissuuuu” However I hadn’t even sat down yet and the guards were already yelling “pose, pose!” So we quickly did a heart pose.

I tried to say something to Yukachan but they were pushing me out withing a micro-second of me shaking her hand. Oh well, maybe I will get a chance to say something to her next time around.

I had loads of time, and wanted to get something to eat before the food queues got too long, so I went out through the hall and toward the food booths. Karaage, Gyu Bowls, and skewers. I still find it interesting that they offer skewers on sharp wooden sticks inside the venue. Nobody sees the irony in that? I got a Gyutan Bowl.

I also noticed that were selling the guidebook. After seeing the Yukachan photo from the book, it was pretty much a given I was going to buy it. Plus, I would get a bonus photo from buying at an event. Anyway, I went back into the venue to use my other Yukachan ticket…

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) <2nd ticket> This time I was determined to say something other than hello. The line was short, so I was to the front within a minute or two. Once again, the guards were yelling “pose, pose” and we did an usagi pose.

The guards were trying to push me out, but I managed to ask her about her performance in Romeo and Juliet. However, I think she assumed, based on my question, that I had seen the play, so she thanked me for seeing it. As I was being pushed out, I didn’t have the chance to correct her. That’s okay, if she assumes I saw it, that’s better for my fan cred, LOL. I turned back and she was still looking at me and smiling as I was collecting my bag, so I smiled and waved back to her one more time. I’ll have plenty of time to talk to her at the upcoming Jabaja handshake events, so no biggie.

I left Yukachan’s lane, and the was still around 5-10 minutes before the gates closed. I decided to get my makeup ticket done right then and there. I didn’t want to lose out on my chance later on (a wise move, as you will find out)

Tomonaga Mio (Lane 7) “Hitsuzenteki Koibito”: This was the only ticket I had for the ‘senbatsu room’ where most of the long queues were. I had checked earlier, and Mio’s queue was fairly long. When I returned it was somewhat shorter, as were the queues of most of the members, but it still extended outside the lane itself. The nice thing was since my ticket was a make-up from April, I could use it in any slot I wanted. I wanted to get it done ASAP just in case Mio bailed on the event at some point (which she later did!) Once again, it was extremely noticeable how quickly they were processing fans through the shamekai. In fact, the queue past check-in was getting shorter, despite the larger queue outside. They were taking 2-shots faster than they were checking people in, LOL. The gate had already closed by the time it was my turn. Mio was sitting with her legs covered in a blanket, much like Yukachan a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure what song her costume was from, but I thought all the pills affixed to her shirt were funny. She greeted me with an English “Hello” and I asked how she was doing. We quickly posed and took our shot.

Afterwards I thanked her for making it to the event while the guard was pulling me toward the exit, LOL. That beings me to the subject of time…

So the scuttlebutt around the venue was that all the lanes were being handled in much the same way. People were being rushed through the process. This especially pissed off people who had multiple tickets. As a result, people were complaining at the information booth, and I happen to agree with them. If you show up with 12 tickets, your entire experience shouldn’t take less than a minute, including the pics. What they were doing was rapidly taking the pics, then allowing 2-3 seconds for a handshake regardless of the amount of tickets you had. I only use one ticket at a time, so it didn’t affect me too much, but I get why some people were pissed off.

Anyway, I used this time to queue up and buy the guidebook, and got Ota Nao as my bonus pic. They were pretty much sold out of everything else I was interested in. I held up the photo as I walked through the traders, but since these were HKT fans, none of them were interested. I got the same “Nope!” look over and over. At one point someone asked who I was looking for, and when I said Akiyoshi they responded “Yeah, good luck!” In the meantime, I ran into Carey, who had purchased multiple books for the photos. He didn’t want the extra books, so he gave one to me. Shit, had I known that was going to happen I wouldn’t have wasted my time buying one! Anyway, on to the next 2-shot…

Slot 3

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 15) “Shekarashika!” It had been a while since I had hung out with Rikopi, so I was looking forward to seeing her. I had to ask what costume this was, and when she said it was from her first senbatsu selection I was kinda surprised. I always think of the yankii uniforms they wear in the PV when I think of that song. Anyway, when it was my turn I got a big ‘hisashiburi’ greeting from Rikopi, she is always super genki at these events.

Once again, it was a rushed process. In fact, the guard took my phone and ran outside the booth with it trying to get me to chase him, LOL. Rikopi noticed my ticket holder, and asked who was on it as I was being led out, but I just smiled and waved to her.

I had over an hour until my last ticket, so I went back outside to the food and goods area. I had to maneuver my way past the spillover lines, which were taking up much of the space in the center hall all day. During each slot, the lines of Sakura, Mikurin, and Hana (yes, Hana!) stretched so long that they had to move them outside the room and to the hallway. Mio also had a relatively long queue since she was doing make-ups for multiple missed events, but her queue didn’t quite make it to the hallway. Part of the issue was that the queuing areas were so small, that even a medium sized line crated havoc for the guards, plus the waiting area outside the lanes was so tiny that there was hardly room for anyone to stand.

This also became an issue for my final handshake of the day. I had a similar issue at the first HKT shamekai. My last ticket was for Maichan, and her lane was in the hall of the ‘lesser popular’ members for some reason. Moreover, it was in the far corner furthest from the doorway to the hall. I tried to get over there early so I could get the jump on Maichan’s queue in the next slot, however Piichan was finishing up her last slot. Like last time, Piichan has this huge entourage of fans who want to do this big production when she finishes her last handshake. Rikopi’s fans also had a similar plan, so getting near those two lanes was almost impossible. Piichan’s fans did their thing, and they almost immediately re-opened the lane for pre-queueing…

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 14) “Sakura, Minna de Tabeta”: I managed to push my way through the mass of Piichan fans coming the other way and made it 4th in line to check-in. This also gave me a front row seat to the Rikopi fans’ festivities. That was fun. As I was 4th in line, this didn’t affect me, but I noticed that line for Maichan became insanely long and had a snaking queue outside the lane in the waiting area. If the lane were closer to the door, they surely would have put it out in the hall, but that wasn’t feasible. The guards kept trying to get us all to scrunch closer together to make more room in the line, it was getting ridiculous. Maichan was a few minutes late too, which didn’t help. Maichan looks cute in anything she wears, but she especially looks cute in the Sakura, Minna outfit.

There wasn’t much of an exchange between Maichan and I during the handshake, except as I was leaving she shouted “I love you, Matta ne!” while I was outside the queue. It was around 2:45, and I was done. I had a plan for the afternoon, but I stopped to chat with my friend Panda before I left the venue.

Postscript

So a couple of interesting things happened to me after the event. I headed to Shinjuku to hang out at the Oedo Beer Festival, and I still had on my HKT48 jersey and concert t-shirt. Every once in a while I would hear the name “Akiyoshi” being muttered from someone behind me. Then after I got to the beer festival, this girl grabbed me. She opened up my jersey. “HKT48, you like them???” “You are fan of Sashihara?” She was even more surprised when she found out I was a fan of Akiyoshi. This girl ended up hanging out with me for two hours talking about idols, LOL. Later on, my friend, a Sasshi fan, came over since he couldn’t use his Sasshi tickets, and we had a couple of brews.

The other funny thing was that I had earlier tweeted my Yukachan and Mio pics, and it was retweeted by a couple of Yukachan fans I know. However, by the evening I was getting a constant stream of Like and Retweet notifications that went well into the night, and is still happening sporadically today. So my Yukachan pic kinda went viral, LOL.

Today is my day of lounging around and doing nothing, but the rest of my week is kinda hectic. Tuesday: I have a ticket for NHK Utacon, Wasamin is performing,Wednesday: AKB48 Theater show, Thursday: FESTIVE single release event Friday: Keyaki Beer Festival Saitama, Saturday: AKB group Jabaja Handshake event, Sunday: Minyo Girls One-Man Live, then Wasamin 4th concert DVD release event. And that will end my 30 day vacation. It’s been fun!

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki The Iwasa Misaki Fan Club Bus Tour to Shizuoka (2018/05/16)

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I went back and revisited my post last year of Wasamin’s 2017 ‘Valentines Bus Tour’ just to remind myself of what an amazing time it was. Suffice it to say, I was really looking forward to this year’s edition. This year’s event kept with a tradition of moving further and further away from Central Tokyo. The first edition drove to various places around Tokyo, last year was the general Yokohama area, and this year we would be heading 75 miles Southwest of Central Tokyo, to Shizuoka. There we would be visiting the Mishima Sky Walk attraction, enjoying a fabulous lunch, Tea Picking, our traditional shrine visit, as well as all the fun during the bus ride. I’ll tell you right now, this year’s tour was even more special than last year’s, for numerous reasons.

I set two alarms since I didn’t want to oversleep and miss the event. Luckily, I was up at the crack of dawn, and out the door quite early. The event started at 8am in the bus parking lot at Tokyo Station. My first concern was which of the two buses I would be on, since last year I was on Bus #2, in the very back, and it felt like the 2nd bus kind of got a secondary experience. Luckily, I was on Bus #1 this time, albeit in the back row again. Although I had my section to myself, so I could stretch out. The buses were scheduled to leave at 8:30, but Wasamin was ‘fashionably’ a few minutes late. which amused most of the fans.

Bus Ride #1

Lucky Bus #1 got Wasamin on-board first. After a few introductions, where we were given a basic rundown of how the day would unfold, Wasamin had everyone in the bus introduce themselves, and then give some background of how they became a Wasafan, or why they are a fan now. There were 38 fans on each bus, so this took the better part of an hour. In fact, when we reached the mid-point rest area of the drive out, we still had five people left to do the introduction, including myself. (I was last) I essentially told the story about the first time seeing Wasamin perform in the theater in April 2009, and how special I thought she was even from that first encounter. Then I talked about meeting her in New York later that year, and that was how she became my oshimen. I know Wasamin remembers our New York meeting (she has mentioned that she does) but I don’t know if I had ever told her the theater show story before, and how I rushed back to the hotel to figure out who she was, LOL. Anyway, we were then given 15 minutes at the rest area to use the toilet, or whatever.

This was a lively rest area, to say the least. There were lots of food stalls selling melon pan, steamed buns, and meat skewers. Everyone lined up at the various booths to grab a snack, including Wasamin. Wasamin had two photographers filming her every move on this trip, so people at the rest stop began to notice. Everywhere I heard people muttering to one another. “She’s the Enka singer from AKB!” I was so proud of her. She looked so beautiful, and was catching the eye of everyone, yet she is hardly a diva, and is totally comfortable milling around with the fans, and everyone else.


Our one chance to see Mt. Fuji. No worries, I have seen it many many times.

We re-boarded the buses, this time with Wasamin on Bus #2, and proceeded 75 minutes to our next destination. For this part of the ride we were entertained with Wasamusic over the bus sound system.

Mishima Sky Walk

Mishima Sky Walk is essentially a 400 meter long walking bridge over a small valley on the opposite side of Lake Ashi from Hakone. It also provides beautiful views of Mount Fuji on a clear day, which unfortunately this wasn’t. Of course there are also food stalls and gift shops with local products. Wasamin handed each of us our tickets and guidebook, and we proceeded to the bridge entrance where we took a group shot, and then had a Wasamin photo session. The sessions were broken up into four groups, I was in the ‘kiro’ (yellow) group, which usually went second.

At this point I will mention that I kind of have a fear of heights, a concern I mentioned to Wasamin a couple weeks ago. In this case, it’s not that I feared the bridge falling down, it’s that I think I am somehow going to fall over the side. Ultimately, it ended up being quite the pleasant walk, despite the fact that the floor of the bridge was a metal grate, and you could see the valley below under your feet. Since it is a suspension bridge, it sways a bit too. There were a few fans that didn’t cross, and a few others that did, but were petrified the entire way. LOL.

Once across, Wasamin took some photos on the other side. There were food stalls here too, including a guy steam-roasting chestnuts. He saw our large group come across and immediately got to work steaming, but nobody went to his stall. Ultimately Kimura-san and I each bought a bag. Another feature of the Sky Walk is the ‘flower drop’ where you get a small wooden ‘flower’ disc and write a wish on it, then throw it over the side of the bridge. I bought a yellow one, (Wasamin’s color) wrote a small wish for myself, and a small message to Wasamin, and threw mine around mid-way, where the stream passed. When I threw it, it went into a really fast spin, and practically floated to the bottom of the valley, and I am pretty sure it landed in the water, which is what I was aiming for.

We were given discount coupons for the soft cream shop, so a lot of people lined up for that. The rest of us loaded back on to the bus for the next stop. While we were waiting, one of the fans told me he had an extra ticket for Wasamin’s Utacon performance next week, and invited me to come. SCORE! I was about to send a message out to the fans asking if anyone had an extra, so that worked out perfectly!

Soba Lunch

Wasamin was back on our bus for the ride to lunch, which took over 30 minutes to a town called Izunokuni, which is near Atami. The bus had a karaoke system, so Wasamin sang 2 songs for us along the way. First Tokyo no Bus Guide, and then Tegami (The song she sang at her most recent challenge stage) Much to Wasamin’s surprise, our bus guide had never heard the bus guide song before, LOL. The other nice thing was, Wasamin performed the 2nd song at the rear of the bus, so they were really focused on paying attention to everyone this time around.

So lunch…Actually, we were in more of a catering hall, which seems to be a regular stop for Tobu Top Tours, since we weren’t the only tour group there. We could essentially sit wherever we wanted for lunch, and our food was already set at the table, waiting for us to eat. I grabbed a spot at the end of the center table, which ended up being a primo seat later.

Cold soba, tempura, sushi, soup, veggies, and green tea jello. Quite the bounty, eh? The tempura was served with green tea/salt, which from what I understand is a popular local condiment. Everything was delicious, and we all finished rather quickly, which gave us time to go the local gift shop in the regular restaurant, where Wasamin was having lunch with staff. One of the fans, whose name I always forget, came out with an interesting looking bottle. What was it? Unagi Cola??? It has Unagi in it??? I had to try this, so I went inside and bought a bottle.

All the fans were crowding around me. “What is that? Unagi Cola? How does taste?” To be honest, it just tasted like cola. But it ultimately got me a lot of attention, so well worth the purchase. After that we headed inside the dining hall, where we would be getting an impromptu photo session with Wasamin…

 

I strategically placed my Unagi Cola bottle right at the edge of the table. The first person to notice it was the photographer, and then Ichikawa-san (Wasa-manager) who came over to take photos, ask what it tastes like, etc. Wasamin was moving from table to table, posing while asking us about lunch. I got awesome closeups since I was in the first seat. And, I got a special pose…

Yes, that Unagi Cola was a wise purchase indeed…

Tea Picking at Kuraya-Narusawa

A short ride away we arrived at the site of our tea-picking experience. Before leaving the bus we were given a bandanna, and a bag to collect tea leaves. This was also our chance to take 2-shots with Wasamin with her wearing her tea-picking outfit. The tea fields were up on a hill, and had a beautiful view of Fuji…on a clear day. Today was really hazy.


Looking thoroughly confused, not sure which leaves were the right ones…

They didn’t really give us much instruction on tea picking, so I kept asking everyone around me if I was picking correctly, and getting laughed at each time. People were like “What the heck are you picking?” and removing half the leaves from my bag. Ultimately people threw a bunch of handfuls in my bag. I guess I will make some tea with it eventually. To be honest, I was kind of distracted as I had noticed that the property also housed a microbrewery called Hansharo Beer. I was more excited to visit the gift shop than anything else. So I headed back down the hill.

Wow, I would have loved to buy just about everything in that store. They had just about everything tea or wasabi related imaginable. Tea tasting, green tea soft cream, and of course Hansharo Beer! Ultimately I picked up a 4-bottle variety pack, along with a few Wasabi related items. I really wanted to buy the fresh wasabi too, but their graters were kinda pricey, and I had already spent quite a bit, so I passed.

Mishima Taisha

Back to Mishima, where our last ‘event’ would be a visit to a traditional Shinto Shrine to pray for Wasamin and her fans. We did the same thing last year on the tour to Yokohama. Ya know, it is this moment, watching Wasamin praying, that I really get that at the end of the day she’s just a human being with hopes and dreams, just like the rest of us. Anyhow, it was a short ceremony, and we all got a small cup of sake at the end. After a few minutes where everyone bought fortunes and charms, we re-boarded the bus. BTW, my fortune was kinda mediocre. The fans I asked either said “slightly taihen” or “it’s okay” Anyway, I tied it to the wall just the same hoping that it will bring me good luck anyway.

The Ride Home

Once again, Wasamin split the ride home between Bus #1 and #2, we got the first leg. We had been running around 20 minutes late all day, so we would only have a short stop in Ebina for a toilet break, and for Wasamin to switch buses. For starters, Wasamin went around the bus asking various people what they thought of the trip. When she came to me, I told her that I was happy because I had a delicious lunch, bought a lot of omiyage, and got to be with Misaki-chan all day. She asked about the omiyage, and when I showed her the beer she said “You really like beer!” She was referring to the conversation we had a couple weeks ago, when I told her about going to a bunch of Golden Week beer festivals. Wasamin also mentioned to me that she had been reading my twitter updates on the trip all day. Afterwards, she was speaking to the woman who was also in the back of the bus, and sat down in the seat right next to me. My first reaction was to move in order to give her some space. But then I thought “What the heck am I doing? Wasamin sat her cute little booty right down next to me!” So I stayed right where I was.

Next was janken for prizes. She had 10 signed clear files with unique messages, plus a personally signed 2018 Calendar. Unfortunately I didn’t win, but I did come close on the second round of Clear Files, losing on the final round. Misaki-chan rounded out this leg of the trip with more karaoke. Unfortunately a lot of the songs we were requesting (including my request of Niji wo Watatte) weren’t in the system, so Wasamin ended up singing a lot of songs acappella. Finally, as we left the bus we were given a thank you card from Wasamin, as well as Wasa-chocolate (and a gift of green tea from the Tour Company)

For the rest of our bus tour, we were treated to a karaoke performance by our Bus Guide, who was a total doll. Bus #2 got an older guide, we got the cute, idol-level guide. Finally a few fans did Karaoke before we arrived in Tokyo. We all said our goodbyes outside Tokyo Station, and went our separate ways.


Our idol-caliber bus guide

Summary

Chalk it up to another incredible 10-hour experience with my favorite girl in the world. Everything about this event was an upgrade from last year. The bus rides were more evenly distributed, had more activities, and she paid attention to the people in the rear of the bus too. We had more interaction with Wasamin, more photo-ops, and it was a beautiful place to take a bus tour. Wasamin is a wonderful host, and it seemed as if she had as much fun on the tour as we did. I know I had a blast, and I look forward to whatever the next big event is.

Actually, my next ‘big’ Wasamin event is her karaoke party, which is in three weeks. But we also have Utacon next week, Wasamin’s DVD release weekend, and the concert at DMM VR Theater. So lots coming up!

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events, SKE48 AKB48-Group 9th Album Shamekai Event at Pacifico Yokohama (2018/05/13)

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This was the last of the shamekai events for AKB48’s 9th Album. I chose to skip the three Golden Week events, figuring they would probably be more crowded. It also gave me a little more separation from the 1st event of the series, which took place in early April. My report on that one is around 11-posts ago.

The bummer was that my favorite member, Akiyoshi Yuka-chan, was going to be absent from this event because of her commitment to the Romeo and Juliet musical. They gave us the option of using it as a makeup during any of the Golden Week events, but I was not going to make the trip all the way out to Pacifico just for one ticket. Furthermore, I have two tickets for Yukachan at HKT’s shamekai event next weekend in Gotanda. So I will have a nice sob story to to tell her. Well, actually two, since I didn’t win for her play either. Anyway…

I had six tickets, plus an album jacket signing. I had at least one oshimashi to do, and the possibility of a second one came up during the event. My first ticket wasn’t until slot 4, so I came sauntering into the venue at 1:15pm, well rested, and ready to go.

Slot 4

Sakaki Miyu [CUCA] (Lane 28) At the April event, I managed to go 0-6 on winning the signed cheki and booklet. However, I knew I would be getting at least one today since Cuca-chan was an automatic win. I met with my friend David in front of the queue, shortly before the beginning of the slot. We decided to tandem, and were 1st and 2nd in line. Cuca came out, we took our cheki…

Now the problem was that I didn’t really think this meeting through. As you can see, Cuca took her sweet time signing the book, but I really didn’t have that much to say to her. To her credit, she began initiating conversation with me. She asked where I was from, and how long I have lived in Japan. She also asked if I had gone to any of STU’s concerts. What I find most amazing about Cuca is that every time I see her she seems more mature, idol-like, and beautiful. I’m just really impressed by her. So next time I see her I am going to plan some good stuff to talk with her about.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 74) I waited for David to finish up with Cuca, since we both needed to walk to the other side of the hall. Eventually I made my way over to Zunchan’s lane. I expected the usual huge crowd. To my surprise the line wasn’t long at all. I lt the cheki drawing, and while waiting in the queue I saw Inagaki Kaori in the next lane over. She looked good, and genki. Considering her serious injury at SSA, I was glad to see she was doing well. Anyway, Zunchan remarked that she hadn’t seen me in a while. I think it has been around three weeks. I dunno, not so long, but maybe she missed me, LOL. I asked her the name of her little frog doll she always brings to events. His name is Gabriel. (The way she said it was really cute) So I asked if we could incorporate Gabriel into the shot.

Well, at least Zunchan looks good. I hate when they turn me profile like that. And, this is just another example showing that the closeup shamekai are much better than the long shots. At least that’s how I feel about it.

When I left Zunchan’s lane I walked by Tomonaga Mio’s lane, and it was closed. WTF? If she’s out for the day, then I have two oshi-mashi to do. I found out that she was there for Slots 2-3, cancelled Slot 4, but had not yet cancelled Slots 6-7. (I had Slot 6) What should I do? One of the members I was considering doing oshi-mashi with, Oba Mina, had early slots. If I wanted to see her, I needed to do it soon….

Slot 5

Yamauchi Mizuki (Lane 84) To save a little time, I decided to pre-queue for Zukki’s lane. I was around 5th in line, and just before they opened the gates a bunch guys started to mill around, I guess planning to cut the queue. I stared daggers at a couple of them, and they walked to the back of the line. However, one guy stayed, and when they opened the gate, he tried to jam into the line, but I blocked him with my elbow, LOL. While we were waiting in the queue, they started playing the new b-side MVs from the upcoming AKB48 single. I loved the Center Exam Senbatsu. The song, PV, all great. They just started the Team 4 Music Video as the queue started moving. I really liked this one too. The video ended with Zukki doing a “Nyan” pose, just as I was next in line. Perfect! Zukki lit up as I entered the both. “You have returned!” I said I loved her in the PV, and we should do the PV ending pose…

I think this is my favorite shamekai of the day. (The Cuca pic is nice too) Afterwards I congratulated her on being in senbatsu and centering the single team song. She said she hoped I come back to see her many times. Yes, I do have more tickets for her for both Jabaja and Teacher Teacher, so I am good to go!

I was considering seeing Zunchan for the Jacket Signing, which was in this slot. But after checking her queue, which was pretty long, I decided there was someone else I would rather to the Jacket Signing with. I instead left the venue since I had over an hour until my next ticket. I went all the way out to the Food Truck area before I found a seat. Here I met another Stage48 lurker named Paul. It was Paul’s first 48-group handshake event, so we talked for awhile about what he thought, and shared a few war stories about meeting the members, before heading back in. I wanted to get back in a little early since my Slot 6 schedule had the potential of becoming a little hectic.

Slot 6

Matsumura Kaori (w/Saito Makiko) Jacket Signing (Lane 51) I debated using this ticket first, or one of my handshake tickets. I’m glad I decided on this one, since the interaction completely changed my game plan for the rest of the day. This was another joint autograph lane, just like the first event I went to when I had Yuka-chan sign my CD. Luckily, I managed to be second in line, so I was getting a good head-start on the slot. I knew I wanted to have Kaotan sign my CD, except that Tani was in the next lane over. Moreover, I did not get any Tani tickets for this day’s event. This could be an issue if she sees me, and then doesn’t see me in her lane. In the meantime, Takeda Tomoka was in Tani’s queue, still with a huge line of people. So I might luck out after all. Around the beginning of the slot Murakawa Bibian came walking over, fresh off of her Produce48 activities, and I have to admit, Bibian looked radiant. Not to mention the cute little black shorts she was wearing. I’m not sure why she came over, she talked to the guards for a minute, and then left. After that, Tani came out. The trouble was, they had just cleared out all the fans who didn’t get to see Takeda, and hadn’t let Tani’s fans in yet. Everything was a mess, plus Kaotan and Makiko still hadn’t come out. Finally, a few minutes later, here they came…

The first guy in line chose Makiko, and she signed her CD relatively quickly. It was then my turn. Since Makiko was there, I decided to relate the memory of one of my earliest handshakes with Kaotan, the time when she started yelling at me, and then Makiko and Mikitty started laughing at me. Kaotan and I were trying to figure out how long I had been seeing her, but then when I said the part about Kaotan screaming “Why Why Why???? I Love you I Love you I love you!!!” Makiko started laughing. Not only that, Tani was laughing at us. I think after I related that part of the story, Makiko seemed like she might have remembered it. In any case, I am glad I made everyone laugh, including Tani. Kaotan asked me if I was coming for shamekai, and I pointed to my ticket holder, which I had strategically placed my Kaotan shamekai ticket right on top. (Hehehe)

Yamauchi Suzuran (Lane 43) <oshi-mashi> I had considered quite a few members for my oshi-mashi ticket. Komiharu, Mutou Orin, Sato Kaho, Minarun, even Yuihan. But I have wanted to meet with Ranran for a long time. Plus, I had a story that I wanted to tell her, and I wanted to do it before the story became too old. So this is where I decided to use my Akiyoshi ticket. I got over to her queue around 10 minutes before it opened for oshi-mashi, and spent the time talking to my friends Nori and Keita, who were also waiting to oshi-mashi with different members. Her line wasn’t very long at all, so I still had time to use my other ticket for this slot afterwards. In the meantime I was watching Jurina in the next lane over. However, I never made eye contact with her. She does a great job of focusing on her fans in queue. When I stepped into the booth, Suzuran immediately pivoted to “Oh Hello!” We sat down and I quickly suggested the peace pose, trying to save as much time as possible for my story.

I wanted to talk to her about HoriPro Matsuri, which I went to see around a month or so ago. Suzuran sang a duet of Sakura no Hanabiratachi with a classical singer named Okamoto Tomotaka, and it was really good. I wanted to tell her that I really enjoyed it. She thanked me, and asked if I came to see her, which I replied “of course.” Actually, I’m not sure what she really meant by that, but the fact is I really did want to see her. She said goodbye to me in English, and asked me to come back again. She’s really nice. I had always heard she was a big ‘fisher’, but I didn’t really have that kind of experience. I think perhaps because I kinda controlled the conversation.

Tomonaga Mio (Lane 60) So Mio did come back for her evening slots. But I had somewhat of a dilemma. Since Tani had interacted with me during my jacket signing with Kaotan, I felt really bad about not having a shamekai ticket for her. When I went to Mio’s queue I noticed there was hardly anyone in line. Moreover, there were a bunch of signs hanging in front of her lane. I couldn’t read what they said, but they usually put those up if the member isn’t feeling well, can’t talk, or something adverse like that. It was at that point that I thought that I would really rather go see Tani than see Mio, so I took off. In any case, I may have the opportunity to see Mio next week at the HKT event anyway. I found out later from a friend who went to see her that she seemed fine to him, and she looked really cute in his picture too. As a consolation I will show you what the outside of the cheki book looks like…

BTW, I was running into a few Wasafans during the day. Since Wasamin is out of town, many of her fans found their way to 48-group events. One of them told me that Wasamin apparently mentioned me on a radio show she guested on? When I met with Wasamin last week, I mentioned to her that the name of the show she was going to be on that week was the same as the name of the city I grew up in. So apparently Wasamin related that story to the host of the show. Cool!

Slot 7

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 37) After the dinner break, I headed in a little early to pre-queue for Kaotan, and I managed to be 2nd in line for her slot. Plus, I won the cheki, Yatta! I ultimately went 2-4 on chekis today (I had two ineligible because of oshi-mashi) While I was waiting for Kaotan to come out, Tani was in the neighboring lane, and spotted me again as she headed to her booth. That cemented it, I made the right choice by saving a ticket for her. Anyway, Kaotan came out, and I had a couple minutes since the girl who was first in line also won the cheki. When it was my turn, Kaotan exclaimed “Yatta, you won!” Yes, I was very happy about it too. She asked what pose, I said “smile pose.” Kaotan remarked, “You are very basic with the pose suggestions.” Yeah, I know.

I guess now I need to come up with interesting poses for her, although I thought the one we did in April was funny. (What, me worry?) We continued with my story about some of the first times I met with her. I will have to go back and look to see when it was, and if it was an SKE event or AKB. The incident I was talking about was an AKB event, but I am sure the first time I saw her was at an SKE event. In the meantime, she asked me how to spell “Smile” She had written it, but omitted the “e” at the end. She also asked if I had more tickets. When I told her I would see her next at the Jabaja event on the 26th, she asked how to say that in English. At first she said “two weeks ago,” but she kinda knew that was wrong. Then she said “two weeks later,” which I said was okay. I then told her “in two weeks” She repeated it twice, like she was happy she learned something new. Always fun with Kaotan, she hung out in the doorway chatting at me as they had me check the photo one more time, and didn’t leave until I was halfway down the exit. Kaotan runs on her schedule, LOL.

Tani Marika (Lane 35) <oshi-mashi> I had to wait 15 minutes before I could queue up for Tani. Plus, her line wasn’t short. So this had the potential to take a while. That’s okay, I really wanted to see her at this point. I ended up waiting around 35-40 minutes before I made it to the front of the line. She immediately suggested a heart pose, but after Kaotan made fun of me for being basic, I wanted to do something at least a little different. I had a couple of ideas, but ultimately decided on the Sailor Moon pose…

Yeah, not that groundbreaking, but it’s slightly different from what I usually do. I asked Tani if she liked the story I told Kaotan. Tani asked me about the shirt I was wearing. “Ebi shirt?” I then showed her the whole thing, it is a Wasamin shirt! She puffed her lip and said the she wanted to meet with Wasamin, and gave me a heart sign. I love that Tani and Wasamin are fans of one another.

It was time for me to go, just as the passing rainstorm was at its heaviest. The nice thing is that there is a covered walkway all the way to the station from Pacifico. So despite it raining all day, I never once needed to open my umbrella. Well, except to show the guards that I wasn’t hiding any contraband. Interestingly, of my seven tickets, ultimately I used none of them on HKT members. 4 were used on SKE, 2 on AKB, and one STU. Considering that I think of myself as an HKT fan…Well, next week is an HKT exclusive event, so I will make up for it then.

CK in Tokyo

Events, HKT48, Iwasa Misaki HKT48 1st Album Shamekai Event at Tokyo Ryutsu Center, Plus a Quick Visit & Photo-op With Wasamin (2018/04/15)

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I have been anticipating these HKT shamekai events for a while now. Although I had heard mixed reviews about the event. As you may have noticed, HKT’s album was coming out right before AKB’s album, which meant that HKT fans would have to double-down on album purchases. Not to mention HKT’s album ‘theater version’ was more expensive than AKB’s. This ultimately negatively impacted HKT’s album sales. I know it affected me, as I originally bought only six cds/tickets, three for each Tokyo event, although I ended up purchasing two more in a later resale round to make eight total.

The other thing I heard was “Well, it’s basically the same as an AKB event.” We’ll see about that.

I had also purchased a ticket for Wasamin’s cheki event in the late afternoon, so the plan was to get out of the HKT event as quickly as possible and then head over to nearby Gotanda to see Wasamin.  I arrived at Ryutsu Center at 11:45, shortly after the beginning of Slot 2. The venue is in the middle of an industrial area without much surrounding it, and you have to take the Tokyo Monorail to get there, which is a slight pain, although it does drop you off right at the entrance of the building. There was a big queue to get in, but it went fairly quickly, a little more than five minutes. It was a strange setup, since the event rooms are extremely small, especially compared to Yokohama and Makuhari. In fact, they couldn’t even fit all the lanes on one floor. Lanes 1-13 were on the first floor, and lanes 14-24 were upstairs on the 2nd floor. LOL. The fan area was tiny too, so most people just went outside when they weren’t doing handshakes. Also, it was hot as hell inside, so I had no desire hanging out in there longer than I had to. I went to my Slot 2 lane, said hello to a couple of fans I knew, and headed in…

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 5) I got a message from a friend that Akiyoshi looked lonely sandwiched between Mikurin and Sakura. I told him I was on the way! As expected, she had no queue, all of her fans were hanging outside the lane. She’s still in a cast and on crutches, so she stayed seated. The neat thing is each lane has a special backdrop that is based on whatever the day’s theme is. Today is “Sports Day.” the girls are also supposed to dress sporty. I waited for two people to go before it was my turn. Yukachan greeted me with a big smile and I gestured toward the food on the table. “Tabetai! Of course, I could have been talking about her. (LOL) She asked what pose, and we did the one I usually do with Maichan.

BTW, we’ll give Yukachan a pass for not dressing ‘sporty’. It’s a really nice pic, right? In fact, the first person I sent this to thought we really took the pic in a bowling alley. Anyway, Yukachan said see you again, but I told her that I only had one ticket for today. I think I disappointed her. :(

I went over to the map to see which lanes my other three tickets were, but I couldn’t find one of the members. Where was she? I double-checked the kanji to make sure I wasn’t overlooking her, and then I saw two members were out for the day, one being Tomonaga Mio. Oh no! I found out she recently had knee surgery, so I don’t know if she will even be back for the next Tokyo shamekai event. It’s times like these when I wish they offered oshimashi. I would’ve happily used the ticket on somebody else. Anyway, I spent the next 90 minutes outside. My plan was to do my one Slot 3 ticket toward the end f the time period, and then prequeue for my Slot 4 ticket since I needed to get out of there ASAP to go to Wasamin’s cheki event. Unfortunately, there were ants everywhere, and at one point I had a couple crawling on me. I was sure to brush them all off before I headed back in for Slot 3…

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 21) My one trip upstairs. Surprisingly, it was much cooler in the upstairs hall than the downstairs, but I think that was mainly because downstairs had all the senbatsu, and was much more crowded. Bibian’s lane was completely empty, and I could see her fiddling with her phone while in her booth. She spotted me coming down the lane and began waving to me. It’s nice when the experience begins early like that. I immediately noticed all the basketballs, and the schoolyard court scene as the backdrop. I asked her if I could pick up one of the balls. It was cool, we both grabbed one…

I think this pic is great. In fact, most everyone I have shown it too has really liked it. It makes me wonder what people were saying about it being “the same as AKB’s shamekai” I think it’s completely different. It’s also fun to play off the backdrop. Bibian asked if she would see me again soon. I wasn’t sure if I had any Bibian tickets coming up. Later I checked, and found I have one in July for the last Jabaja event. So it will be awhile. Oh well…

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 3) I got to the queue early, and maneuvered my way around all the Piichan fans who were waiting to say goodbye to her. I managed to get third in the queue, which was good since the queue got extremely long before the lane opened. I got a peak at the decor when the guard pulled the curtain for a moment. It was darts. Okay, bowling, darts, beer drinking sports, LOL. Maichan had a cute little tennis outfit on. She asked what pose, and I suggested that we pretend we are throwing darts. I didn’t notice that there were actual darts as a prop on the table. To my surprise, Maichan reaches in and hands me one. Really??? With all the caution about weapons? The guard immediately lunges over like “Nooo!!!” Maichan quickly grabbed it back from me. I actually left it resting in my open hand instead of clutching it since I had a feeling the guards would have an issue with this. I started laughing since I found whole exchange to be quite comical.

Ultimately, she was able to hold a dart, while I just had to fake it. No problem. It’s another cute pic. As I left the lane I heard the guards discussing with her about the darts. So I doubt they had that issue anymore. But yeah, interesting prop considering the safety concerns.

Ultimately, I really like the way these photos came out. The whole idea of the backdrops and the themed clothing is a really good one. They should definitely think about doing this again in the future. AKB could even do it.

BTW, the other HKT48 Shamekai event in Tokyo is next month. I was hoping that maybe I would be able to do a makeup for Mio’s tickets, but she might not be back by then. My other four tickets for that event are for Akiyoshi (x2) Maichan, and Rikopi. I’m looking forward to it.  Anyway, I had plenty of time to get to Gotanda to Wasamin’s cheki event, so I didn’t need to rush.

 

Iwasa Misaki ‘Sado no Ondeko’ Cheki Event at Tokuma/Nippon Crown (2018/04/15)

When Ichikawa-san announced the dates for Wasamin’s 7th single chara-ani events, I was disappointed to see that the first date fell on the same day as the HKT48 Shamekai event. I quickly checked the second date, and noticed I had nothing else scheduled, so that was a relief. However, I didn’t have very many HKT tickets, so I compared my HKT schedule with Wasamin’s cheki schedule and figured out that my last HKT ticket was at 2:30, while Wasamin’s 3rd and last cheki slot was at 3:30. So I could definitely make it. In that spirit, I purchased one ticket.

Well, all went according to plan. I finished with HKT at around 2:40, and made it to Wasamin’s event by 3:15. When I got upstairs, they had a booth set up to get additional tickets if you wanted. I never saw them announce this, but that’s ok. I wanted to make the most of the trip over, so I purchased an additional cd/ticket. I went into the pre-queue room, and all the Wasafans noticed that a) They hadn’t seen me in a while, since I have missed the last few Wasamin mini-lives, and b) I was wearing HKT gear (LOL) While we were waiting I showed them my shamekai from the HKT event.

Eventually I was called into the main queue. In the meantime I took off my HKT jersey. Sasou-san saw me peaking from around the corner and started laughing. Wasamin eventually saw me and exclaimed ‘KURISUUUU!!!” with kind of a crying face, indicating to me that she missed me, and perhaps wondered where I had been. I immediately noticed she was wearing the dress from her Ebisu Garden Hall concert., and she had on sexy red heels. She asked if I wanted to take a full body shot, but I said the face and torso were fine. I got two pics…

I got most of the dress anyway. Sasou-san is a pro at taking chekis. In the meantime, I was telling her about the big paper that I had to write tonight, and that I also had to write an essay in Japanese. She asked what the essay was about, and then asked if she would be seeing me again soon. (Actually, I didn’t mean to miss a bunch of events, it’s just that her events recently have either conflicted with the AKB handshake events, or have been very far away. Admittedly, I missed one because I had a hangover.) I reminded her that I would see her on Wednesday since she is performing very close to where I live. She was like, “Oh yeah Itabashi!”

And with that I took off. I rushed home to start my paper, but instead I am writing this report. :fp: I’ll get it all done one way or another.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, SKE48 SKE48 22nd Single Individual Handshake Event at MetLife (Seibu) Dome, Saitama (2018/04/14)

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When they announced the handshake dates for this single, I was slightly disappointed that they jammed two Tokyo events into one weekend, instead of two different weekends. But the decision of which date to attend was easy since I had already purchased HKT48 shamekai tickets for Sunday (not to mention Wasamin’s special cheki event tomorrow, but that’s another issue) So at least I wouldn’t have to worry about filling two days of handshake tickets, and doubling up on buying theater versions. I might’ve had a couple of drinks when I applied for these handshake tickets too. I don’t remember, but I ended up with an interesting set of tickets, and not nearly the usual lineup I go for. Oh sure, I got Kaotan and Tani, as well as a ticket for Yuzuki. But then I also grabbed a few tickets for members I have never purchased tickets for, or haven’t for a long time. So it promised to be an interesting day.

Getting to Seibu Dome is a bit of a ride. I live near Saitama, but not on the side where the stadium is. As a result, I need to go down to Central Tokyo to catch the Seibu Ikebukuro Line back up to the other side of Saitama. Not to mention the stadium is on this separate line that spokes off of the main Seibu train, so it takes four transfers. The nice thing is that the train drops you right at the stadium entrance. Anyway, I made it before Slot 2 started, grabbed a quick lunch, and then headed inside.

It was neat, we were on the field. The handshake booths were set up in the middle of the field, with nothing really behind them, so you got a pretty clear view of what goes on behind the scenes, unlike at Makuhari or Pacifico. I will talk about that as we go. I had a total of nine tickets for seven members…

Slot 2

Suda Akari (Lane 3) I took a chance on getting this ticket, since my experience is that Dasu’s line is always crazy. To my surprise, it wasn’t very long at all. When I bought the tickets, I isolated my Slot 2 and 3 tickets because I thought the lines would be really long. This meant I was going to have A LOT of downtime in-between tickets. Anyway, I spent my time in the queue watching Jurina and Obamina in nearby lanes. Kumazaki Haruka was in the next lane over, and in her downtime, I caught her eye. She gave me a big smile and wave. It was finally my turn. After the hisashiburi, I asked Dasu if she was cold, and then I complimented her cool leather jacket. Dasu was her usual genki self, so it was a good experience. In fact, I have never had a bad experience with Dasu, but I only see her once in a while.


Lanes are empty since I took the pic in-between slots.

I had around 90 minutes until I needed to use my next ticket, so I went back outside. They had opened up the stands, and all of the concessions on the third base side of the field, so it ended up being the perfect place to eat, drink, and relax in between handshakes. You also had an overhead view of the entire event, which was really fun to watch, especially with the games and stuff they were offering. I ended up going over there three separate times during the day.

Lunch Slot

Ego Yuna (Lane 12) This really puzzled me. Why the heck did I get an Ego ticket? Don’t get me wrong, I like her, but I can’t say I like her enough to want to get handshake tickets for her. The only thing I can think of is a) I did enjoy her performance in that SKE48/New World Order MV, which I think I was watching around the time I applied, and 2) this was the lunch slot, when most of the popular members go on break. So I think of all the members who were available in the slot, she was the only one I had any desire whatsoever to meet. I didn’t go in until the slot was almost over, and there were two people in front of me, so not much of a wait. She immediately grabbed my ticket holder, “Kaotan!” Yes, Kaotan. I basically told her that I enjoyed her performance when I won a Team KII show last year, and that she is a very good dancer. She smiled and thanked me. Overall, Egochan is not an overly demonstrative handshake. She smiles, and listens, and is generally very nice. But I don’t know that I will be making her part of my regular rotation.

Slot 3

Matsui Jurina (Lane 1) I finally pulled the trigger and bought Jurina ticket. I make it a point to meet her at pretty much every National Event I attend, but this was the first time I reserved a ticket for her. I went to queue up early, the plan being that I would get it done quickly, and then have a big break until the next slot. I was 4th in line, great! It was just after the Slot opened that management came over and announced that Jurina would be considerably late for the slot, and offered to let people “uncheck-in” if they wanted. This was my only ticket for the slot, so I had no choice but to ride it out…

I played with my phone for a while, and watched Kumazaki again. Kumazaki was great, she was engaging with all of us during her downtime. Smiling, waving, talking, she’s really cool. Also, and this was really neat. I saw the woman who makes all the PA announcements. You know, the one with that really generic, almost inhuman voice? She’s basically standing back there with a wireless microphone, making announcements as needed. She was standing by the Jurina lane since she needed to keep announcing updates on the Lane status. Oh, and she is really cute too. I am guessing she is probably in her 40’s, but she’s tiny, and really pretty. She had on tight jeans, and a white leather jacket. Now that I knew who she was, I was kinda watching for her throughout the day when I was up in the stands, LOL. Anyway, back to Jurina…

Yeah, 50 minutes later Diva Matsui made it out to the lane, and she had all sorts of handlers around her too. But she was like “enough of the coddling, let’s go!” She got excited when she saw me, and I told her that I have fun meeting her, and I want to see her more often. She latched onto my Kaotan necklance. “Kaotan, she is your oshi?” Yeah. “What about Jurina?” Ni-oshi (I lied, LOL) She gave me a crying face as I left the queue. I didn’t want to make her cry, but she would cry harder if she knew the truth, LOL.

 

I took another break. Part of the fun was watching all the extracurricular activities going on in the venue. They had a badminton court to play against members. You could also throw pitches in the bullpen, or throw off the main pitcher’s mound, with select members cheering you on. And of course they had the SKE staple of costumes to try on (If you are a female) These two were on display outside; The 22nd single uniform and Masanya’s graduation dress.

Slot 4

Sato Kaho (Lane 10) Another first time meeting. A few months ago I was queued up for Yamane Suzuha, who was in the lane next to Kaho. I was just fascinated watching her interact with her fans. Not only was she a big flirt, but she was wearing a very loose top, and really giving all the fans a show (if you know what I mean) Needless to say, I wanted to meet her, so I grabbed a ticket the first chance I got. Unfortunately, it was cold in the venue, so she was kinda bundled up, but she got excited when I entered the booth, and leaned in really close to me. I basically told her the story of watching her from another queue, that I thought she was really cute and genki, and I wanted to meet her. She definitely has a bit of a “twinkle in her eye, and I would love to meet her again. Perhaps in the Summer when its warmer. XD By the way, of all the queues I saw or experienced today, hers was the longest. My guess is she will be a senbatsu member soon.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 14) <2 tickets> Finally I’m getting to my regulars. I pre-queued, and was ultimately 5th in line. Kaotan’s lane was right in the middle, so we had a perfect view of all the girls coming and going, plus the pitching event. I pretty much saw most of the members come out. Kaotan was talking with Obamina when she walked over. Since it was her first slot of the day, Kaotan sets the ground rules with the staff. “Don’t push them out, I do it a certain way.” I love it! I showed her my Kaotan-JK badge that I bought at the concert, but she didn’t really react. I mentioned that I had been watching the pitching behind her, and that I used to be a pitcher. She asked when, and I told her High School. And of course she asked how many tickets I had. When I mentioned three, she asked if I would be looping. Yep…

So I immediately looped. It didn’t take very long. I asked her about the “talk show” she did yesterday. (Yuasa mentioned it on his blog) She said it was in Osaka, and when she does it in Tokyo that I should come, so I should keep track on her blog. I promised her I would, and that I would see her next slot,

90 minutes later, it was next slot. I passed the time relaxing in the stands, and had some takoyaki from Gindaco…

Slot 5

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 14) There was nobody pre-queued for her when I came back into the stadium, so this meant I would be first in line. Now the last time I was first in line for Kaotan I kinda got a special treat since she talked to me the whole time while setting up. This time was even better…

Once again, I was watching the people pitch (most of them are awful) and watching the members walk around behind the lanes. Shirai Kotono was in the next lane, and before she started waved to me and smiled. Eventually I see Kaotan walking over with Oba Mina again. Oba is eyeing me while they are talking, although I can’t hear what they are talking about since they are too far away. All of a sudden Oba turns in my direction and yells “Hey Kurisu!” and starts waving. I laughed and waved back. Mind you, I have never met Oba before. My guess is that she said something to Kaotan about her having a foreigner waiting for her, and then Kaotan gave her the scoop, LOL.

Kaotan made it into the booth, and immediately started screaming. Apparently there was a bug crawling across the counter. It was then I noticed they had bug traps and repellents around the lanes, so that must be an issue. I asked her if she killed the bug. She said no, she just brushed it away. She then asked me why I wasn’t wearing a jacket. When I told her I forgot to bring one, she got worried that I was going to catch a cold. I told her I would be fine, although to be honest, I really was cold. And then a few minutes later my nose started running.

Tani Marika (Lane 17) I quickly switched to my new Tani ticket holder and queued up. It wasn’t a very long line. Tani was wearing side braids, which look cute on her, so I immediately commented about it. She kinda turned and showed them to me. Tani was also bundled up. I asked if she had a heater, and she said no and she was cold. I said I’m cold too. At the end she asked when she would see me again. I wasn’t sure, so I just said the AKB event.

I checked, I don’t have a ticket for her until the AKB Jabaja event at the end of May, so it will be a while.

Hidaka Yuzuki (Lane 8) My final ticket of the night. Ya know, I really don’t see Yuzuki as often as I should. She is a really great handshake experience, and she is always excited to see me. Not to mention, she is a senbatsu member, so there is always stuff to talk about. She was really happy to see me again. I asked if she was excited to do the event at a baseball stadium, and she emphatically said yes. I know she’s a big baseball fan (Maichan in HKT is too) She said she had never seen a game at this venue, but would like to one day. I said I wanted to see one there too, as I finally got pushed out. I bid my farewell, and headed toward the exit.

Luckily, I was able to use my three tickets more quickly then expected, and was able to catch an earlier train home. I have a somewhat long day tomorrow, with the HKT48 shamekai event at Tokyo Ryutsu Center, followed by the Wasamin cheki event a couple of stops away. It’s lucky that I only have four tickets for HKT, so I have time to make it to Wasamin’s last cheki ‘slot’, if all goes well.

And here’s one last cardboard poster pic, because Obata is cute.

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events AKB48-Group 9th Album Shamekai Event at Makuhari Messe (2018/04/08)

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Today was the first Shamekai event for AKB’s latest album. Of course I made the mistake of getting tickets for the first event of the promotion, which is always a total clusterf**k. Many of the queues early in the day seemed to take forever to navigate. I didn’t arrive at the venue until 1:35, but it still seemed like an incredibly long day.

To be honest, I didn’t get to talk very much with any of the members since they seemed to be pushing people through quickly. Unless of course you won the opportunity to get something signed. Aside from the signed CD cover, which they did for the most part the same way as last year, you had the opportunity, instead of the normal shamekai, to win either a short 2-shot video, or a signed cheki (with a signed booklet). Unfortunately for me, I went a perfect zero for six on the prize. It was funny, after I lost the 4th one I was kinda routing for the “perfecto” I really wasn’t interested in the video, and while the cheki and booklet are nice, and I would like to win one, ultimately I can take it or leave it. So here are my six shamekai, with a few small anecdotes thrown in…

FYI, chara-ani is still doing the “stamp thing”

Slot 4

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 21) I was going to bail on getting my tickets stamped, since it’s debatable whether or not I really need it. After all, I do have a Japanese ID card with matching address. However, my name is cut off due to length. When I saw how long Zunchan’s queue was, I thought I better get them stamped, just in case. There was no line at the info booth anyway, so it took less than two minutes. Anyway, after 90 minutes in Zunchan’s queue, it was finally my turn. You know, Zunchan kinda reminds me of a bunny rabbit…

BTW, Hiwatashi Yui was next to Zunchan, and she’s adorable! Anyway, after the shot I told her that after reading her sign at the last event, I went out and had chirashizushi. She had this semi-confused look as I told her the story, but the moment I said “chirashizushi” it all clicked for her, LOL. Anyway, I entertained the idea of having her sign my CD, but her Slot 4 queue was going to run so late, and the queue for her CD signing was already huge, I abandoned the mission. I really didn’t have much of a choice about it anyway, as you will soon read.

I had all of Slot 5 off. I decided I would queue early for one of my two planned tickets in Slot 6, but I didn’t know which one would be best. I first went over to the CD signing lane I wanted to do, but the pre-queue was already huge. So I went over to Maichan’s lane, who I had a ticket for, and there were like 4 people waiting. OK, this is cool. They opened the lane, and some a-hole who wasn’t even queued jumped in first in front of all of us. Whatever. Then, one of the staff came over and told us the slot would be delayed, and they brought this mass of people from another lane to finish their previous slot. I was so pissed, I literally exclaimed out loud “Oh, f**k you!” This looked like it would take at least half an hour. So I went back to the CD signing lane. It was friggin’ huge, but it looked like it was moving. I’ll give it a shot. If I miss out on Maichan, so be it…

Slot 6

CD Signing Lane Akiyoshi Yuka (w/ Yamada Marina & Ueno Haruka) (Lane 133) The way the three person lane worked is that only one would sign at a time, while the other two just watched and talked. Not too efficient, but I think they counted on the lane to be collectively short. That was the first issue. The second issue with this lane is that Mariri is graduating soon, so there were a ton of people there just to see her. In fact, I would say it was 70% of the line. The third issue was there were multiple guys in the queue with huge stacks of CD covers and tickets. One guy had 20, another had around 40, and the third guy had 12, and they were all in front of me. I kept thinking “there’s no way they’re gonna let them do this, it’ll take an hour just for the three of them. Finally a staff member told them it was “no-go” so thankfully they left the lane (along with a 4th guy I didn’t see) Thank god! In the meantime, Yukachan spotted me in the queue and waved, then threw me a “heart” and pointed me out to Harutan. I got another “heart” a couple minutes later. Finally it was my turn…

This was the one time I got a chance to talk to Yukachan for a while. I asked her how bad her foot still hurts (she said it really hurts) I told her I broke a toe a few years ago, and I know it’s really painful. While she was signing, I turned to Mariri and congratulated her on her graduation, and then I told both she and Harutan that I am Yukachan’s English teacher, which got a laugh from Yukachan. She finished signing, and said “I really love you Chris-san!” I told her I would see her next slot. In the meantime, I had four minutes left to get to Maichan’s queue.

BTW, there was a girl in line behind me for the CD signing. She was so cute! She looked a lot like Kawaei Rina. In fact I thought it was Kawaei. The funny thing was that she ended up behind me in Maichan’s queue too, and kinda gave me a little nod and smile when she noticed she was behind me again.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 108) I was happy that I wouldn’t have to oshimashi this ticket, since I always seem to bail on Maichan when I am pressed for time, LOL. The line wasn’t very long, and I got to the front relatively quickly.

One of my favorite shamekai is from last year, when Maichan and I did this pose. So I chose it again. Maichan is so cute. I told her I went to the SSA concert and liked her solo.

Slot 7

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 111) Once again I couldn’t decide which queue to get in first, but Yukachan’s looked a lot more manageable. (The entire SKE area was slammed with people) At first I thought her prequeue was huge, but then I noticed it was for Mariri. Yukachan’s queue was five deep, and in the queue was one of the Socal fan club guys. (I forget his name :(, but he won the cheki ) It took them a few minutes to get her situated, and they had her legs covered with a blanket. I asked her which pose we should do, the “Itai” pose (crying) or Onigiri pose. She chose crying…

Oh, my poor little Yukachan. So painful. But look at her though. She worked all week, did the HKT National event on Saturday, and worked today for the shamekai event. What a trooper!

Tani Marika (Lane 50) I quickly changed ticket holders from my new Yukachan holder to my new Tani holder. Her line wasn’t very long, which was good as I could get a break between slots 7 and 8. Since I have been well-trained, I immediately greeted her with a “Wow, Kawaii Marika-chan!” She was like “Me, I’m kawaii?” Yes! “Am I beautiful?” “Yes, Marika-chan is beautiful!” “Well then let’s do heart pose”

She asked me if I was cold, since I was wearing shorts and short sleeves, but I told her I have a sweatshirt (paa-ka) in my bag. Anyway, it wasn’t cold in the venue. I now had plenty of time until Slot 8…

I knew I wouldn’t have any issues getting my last two tickets done, but I decided to pre-queue for Yukachan again anyway. In the meantime, the Akiyoshi Birthday/Sousenkyo committee came over to me and asked if I wanted to be part of their LINE group. Of course I said yes, so they added me in. I’m not sure how good an idea this was, however, since I have been inundated with LINE messages all evening, LOL. But I am glad I am part of the team now.

Slot 8

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 109) Yuka-chan was moved to another lane. In the meantime I was third in the queue. While we waited, I had the perfect angle to see “backstage” where the girls come out, and I was really interested to see how bad Yukachan’s foot really was. Out she came, on crutches! She also had a hard cast on her foot, going up to about her ankle. They eventually put her crutches backstage, but then she had to get up. She was hopping around. Oh no, my poor Yukachan! I felt so bad, but in a way it was really cute, LOL! I decided we should do the Onigiri pose after all…


My onigiri seems to be more diamond shaped

After the 2-shot I told her I saw her on her crutches backstage, and that I felt really bad for her. “Poor Yuka-chan” I told her to keep doing her best, and I would see her next week.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 81) What would a 48-group event be without a visit with Kaotan? Kaotan’s queue was relatively short. However, it took a painfully long time since it seemed like everyone in the front of the queue had won the signed cheki. She was taking quite a long time to sign each one. What should have taken 10 minutes, ended up taking 35. But finally it was my turn. What pose? I had no idea. Actually……

Perfect! It’s my favorite shamekai of the day! A nice way to end the evening. I was finally heading home.

However, I made the mistake of stopping by the station for dinner, and by the time I finished eating some concert got out and there was a mass of humanity trying to board the train back toward Tokyo. There are a few shamekai events still to go, most of them around Golden Week. However, I only have tickets to the last event in mid-May. My itinerary is slightly different. I have tickets for Zunchan, Cuca, Mio, Zukki, Kaotan, and one oshimashi (since Akiyoshi won’t be there) I have a good idea who I am going to use it on. My CD signing ticket, on the other hand, I have no idea. Those lines are the worst!

CK in Tokyo

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Events, KissBee, Tokyo CLEARS Hisashiburi CLEARS, Hisashiburi KissBee! (2018/03/26-29)

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It had been quite a while since I had last seen Tokyo CLEARS and KissBee perform.  I last saw KissBee in early December, just before I headed to California for the holidays.  For CLEARS, it had been much longer.  almost eight months.  It’s unfortunate since I really adore Rion from CLEARS, and I had developed quite the rapport with Tanifuji Misaki from KissBee.  But such is life, when I decided I needed to curtail my idol spending.  Indie idols were the first casualty.  That said…

This week I noticed that 1) CLEARS was doing some free lives in support of their debut album, and KissBee had just started promoting their own debut album.  So here were some chances to visit these groups without a big admission layout, see a performance, and talk with the members for the cost of a CD.  I was in.  First up, CLEARS…

Tokyo CLEARS at Shinseido Sunshine City, and Naka-Meguro Club Try

I actually went to two different CLEARS events for their new album, “We Are CLEARS”.  The first one was on Monday at Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, where they were doing an in-store live along with Gunma CLEARS.  They had two events scheduled, at 5pm and 7pm.  I didn’t think there was any way I could make it to the early show, which was fine.  However, I arrived earlier than expected, and was actually there by the time the live was just ending and the handshake event was starting.  But I decided to stay hidden, and just wait for the later show.

I came back around 6:20pm, and was checking out the rules/benefits of the event, when all of a sudden the door to the dressing room opened, and out came Rion.  Her manager had their dinner.  Rion immediately spotted me, and completely lit up.  “Kurisuuu!”  Rin Asahina also came out to see what the commotion was, and waved to me.  Anyway, my next stop was to do the preorder, but I didn’t understand the benefits at all.  They were quite confusing, and looked like you had to buy multiple copies of the same version, and some video shooting.  I was like “Screw that, I’m not buying five albums just to do benefits.  The people at the cash register were kind of confused too, and went to ask the group manager manager.  Ultimately what the chart didn’t say was that you could still do normal benefits with the purchase of one or two CDs, like chekis and handshakes and whatnot.  So I preordered the limited version, and got three tickets.  I was ready to go.

It was 7pm, and there were literally like eight fans standing there.  WTF?  So I got a spot front and center.  Since there were so few people, nobody was really doing any calls.  Just clapping.  At one point I started calling for Rion, and she pointed her microphone toward me.  The crowd did fill in a bit as the show went on, then some random foreigner came fumbling into the live with her camera raised, and they had to stop her.  Later there were a group of little kids who came by, and we cleared the front of the stage for them to dance along.  It was very cute.  They stayed for the entire rest of the show.

I had three tickets, which I was going to use for a signed cheki with Rion, and an unsigned cheki with Sayuri.  Rion was going on and on about how she missed seeing me, which I also repeated back to her.  I really did miss her, possibly more than any of the other idols I hadn’t seen in a while.  I also mentioned that I sometimes have a hard time figuring out when and where they are appearing, and it was mainly because I saw her tweet that morning that I was there.

Sayuri was a lot more opportunistic.  When I mentioned that I came for the release event, she immediately asked when I would come again, and mentioned the actual release event on Wednesday.  She made me pinky-promise to come.  I remembered reading that it was only 1000 yen to get in, so I was like “Sure, I’ll come.  It is fairly close to where I will be anyway.”

Fast forward to Wednesday…

I had a couple hours to kill before the live, so I went to Devilcraft to grab a couple of quick pints.  I stayed a little longer than expected, and was rushing to get over to Naka-Meguro in time for the show.  It was odd though, I had never seen this many people on the Hibiya Line all the way to the end.  It wasn’t until I got there that I realized why…

It turns out that Naka-Meguro is a huge Hanami-Sakura Viewing spot, since the river cuts right through the middle of the area.  So there were tons of people pouring in and out of the station.  I finally made it out, and tried to figure out where Club Try was, which I had only been to once before.  It took me about five minutes to figure out I went in the wrong direction, and had to backtrack through the huge crowd to the other side of the station.  I was worried that I was going to miss the beginning of the show, arriving at 7:02.  I got upstairs, and paid my admission.  Luckily, I misread the time.  It didn’t begin until 7:15.  there were still a few seats left, so I grabbed one in the third row, but not before buying the regular version of the CD.  This would afford me a signed cheki with Rion, and mean that I had one of each CD version.

This show featured four of the CLEARS groups.  Tokyo CLEARS, who I was there to see.  Then you had Gunma CLEARS and CLEARS SMILE!, neither of which really grab me.  Then there was Chiba CLEARS, who I had never seen before.  OMG…

The girls in Chiba CLEARS were adorable.  All of them.  I was watching them, deciding which one I wanted to meet, but I was having trouble deciding.  There were like four of them I liked, including their brand new chibi member, LOL.  Each group did two songs in the live, and then appeared all together at the end.  As they were setting up for the handshake event, I went and grabbed my prerequisite drink.  I also went to check out Chiba CLEARS’ system.  (All the groups have their own sales tables)  They weren’t selling the CD, they were doing a preorder for something else.  I had no idea what it was, and didn’t feel like spending any more cash, so I will have to meet Chiba CLEARS another time.  I went to line up for Rion…

I still had a slight buzz from all the beer I drank earlier, so I boldly decided to tell Rion that I had checked out some of her old gravure work that was on YouTube.  This stuff is all from about 8-10 years ago, before she was in Ebisu Muscats.  I confirmed that she was a teenager when she did most of those gravure DVDs.  Anyway, I told her that she was a very cute teen.  She said she hoped to see me again soon, and I was on my way.  I went to do a little Sakura viewing on my own before getting back on the train for home.

KissBee at Village Vanguard, SkyTree

It has been a while since I have posted her about KissBee.  Actually, I was getting ready to do a post in December about all the release events for their last single, but I got sidetracked by the holidays, and ultimately never wrote it.  I prefer going to their CD events since they are usually free, as opposed to their non-release events, which usually cost upwards of 3000 yen to get in.  Since this is an album promotion, I probably won’t be going to too many events.  In fact, they have already been promoting the CD for a couple weeks, and this was the first event I had been to.  It was quit convenient though, since I had an appointment near SkyTree, it was easy for me to come over after I was done.

 

KissBee’s new album is called “Pop Honeycomb.”  And like CLEARS, there are two versions, although both versions are the same price.  I got there over two hours early, and the shop hadn’t even started setting up for the show.  So I went over to the food court and got an early dinner at Gindaco.  After wandering around for a while, I headed back to the venue, and saw that the regular fans had already camped out their front spots.  Which reminds me, a small rant…

Back when Wasamin first started her solo career, I noticed that many of her big fans often stayed in the back of the venue when she had events.  Eventually I asked them why, and they said because they are already big fans, and see her all the time, they would rather let newer fans have those spots, so hopefully they become big fans of her too.  I have always taken that philosophy to heart, and usually stay out of the first few rows at Wasamin events.  So I have to be honest, when I see these KissBee fans ALWAYS taking these spots, never allowing anyone else to be in the first row, it kinda rubs me the wrong way.  I once mentioned this to one of the KissBee fans (not one of the front row guys) and he seemed surprised to hear me say it, but he understood.  Anyway…

The other big change is that two of the members seemed to have left the group.  Well, I’m not sure if they left, or are on hiatus, but they are not promoting the CD, aren’t on the cover, and aren’t even listed on the website anymore.  This includes my #2 KissBee girl, Maeda Reon.  I knew Maeda was on hiatus, since I read her Twitter.  I asked what her current status was, and they said she is still considered on hiatus.  I feel badly about that, but it makes things easy for me, as I will focus all my attention on Misaki.

Another interesting issue, this particular Village Vanguard has a history of being over-regulating when it comes to idol events.  In fact, it makes me wonder why they have these events at all.  Fans aren’t allowed to do “calls,” they demand the volume of the music be kept down to a surprising low level, so “not to inconvenience other shoppers,” and they try to stuff everyone into this tiny little space, regardless of the amount of people there.  Luckily, this time they allowed the music to be at more acceptable levels.

It was the usual KissBee live, four songs with a couple of MCs, then it was time for 2-shots and handshakes…oh and the high touch, which is free for everyone.  They weren’t offering the group cheki at this event, but they DID offer a shamekai option, which I suggested to them before.  “Why not give a choice to the fans, and shamekai don’t require you to use any film.”

Anyway, I took a cheki with Misaki-chan, and then later lined up for a handshake, and to have her sign the cheki.  As usual, Misaki had the longest line, and I was toward the back of it, but I eventually got my turn.  She had asked why I hadn’t been around, and I explained that I had cut back on idol events for financial reasons, but I did enjoy their CD promotions, so I would come to a few of those.  I also mentioned that I liked her new hairdo, and the bangs looked really cute on her.  BTW, I also like the album costumes.  To be honest, I thought their costumes for the last two singles looked cheap and ugly.  These are definitely an upgrade.

And that was it.  I had a busy weekend planned with all the 48-group Saitama Super Arena concerts, which I will talk about in my next post.

CK in Tokyo 

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Events, SKE48 SKE48 National Handshake Event at Yokohama Arena (2018/03/18)

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I think I look forward to these Zenkoku handshake events even more than the individual events. Granted, you don’t get much time at all to actually talk to the members, but you DO get a chance to shake hands members that you might otherwise never meet. It’s always a crapshoot, but at just about every event there is at least one member that impresses me out of nowhere. This event was no exception.

I kinda waited until the last minute on this event. As of yesterday I had no tickets, although I knew I could purchase CDs at the venue. Ultimately I had a friend with a bunch of tickets, and he wasn’t going. So he tossed me a handful. I bought two more at the event to make seven tickets in total. I was also hoping that they would be doing make-up for Souda Sarina, who missed an individual event last year. I have been holding this ticket for almost eight months, and have not heard about any recourse. So I was somewhat disappointed when they announced they would be holding a special lane for make-ups for Ichino Narumi, and not Souda. But I digress..

I had no intention to get to the venue early, and waited until almost curtain time before I showed up. Since it was assigned seating, there was really no reason whatsoever to queue early. I got a 20th row arena level seat, dead center. It was a really nice view, well…until some tall dude with a huge head sat right in front of me. While we waited for the show to start we were entertained by a bunch of acrobats jumping around on stilts. Anyway, here is the setlist of the mini-live…

Setlist
1. Muishiki no Iro (Senbatsu)
2. Igai ni Mango (3rd gen. draftees)
3. Hanshateki Through (Love Crescendo Senbatsu)
4. Aishiteraburu! (Tani/Kaotan W-Center)
5. Madogiru Lover (I think Ichino centered this)
6. Wagamama na Nagareboshi (Eigo/Ichino)
7. Nakama no Uta (All)

The highlight of the mini-live had to be the 3rd gen. draftees. They are quite the adorable little group. They all did their personal introduction, and then performed Igai ni Mango. I could be wrong, but I don’t think they were singing live. I thought Hirata really shined on stage. And the two petite girls, Otani and Nishi, are both adorable and full of personality. Anyway, that was my first impression.

This is the first time I can think of where they did a ‘mini-live’ event at Yokohama Arena. Minarun commented during the first MC, and I absolutely agree, that it actually felt like a big concert. Granted, the arena wasn’t at capacity, but the stage and seating setup really made it feel that way.

Tani/Kaotan W-center on Aishiteraburu! Obviously that’s heaven for me, although somebody was off-key in the chorus. This one was definitely done live. Also, they didn’t make too big a deal about Ichino’s pending graduation, aside from having her out front for a couple of songs. And finally, they showed a preview of the new SKE TV show, the one where they are in a public bath. Should be interesting. Anyway, the live ended, and we had over an hour before the handshake event started. I bailed, and then returned just before doors. I wanted to use my first ticket on a “heavyweight” before the lines got too long. But who would I choose???

Matsui Jurina (Lane 1) It was between J or Dasu, and I have tickets for both of them next month. I decided to go with Jurina since the person who gave me the tickets is a Jurina fan. The queue was huge, but I was confident it would go relatively quickly. This was also when I ran into @Boma Adhi in the queue. Eventually it was my turn. Jurina started to pull the “wow, a foreigner” thing with me, but I think she remembered that she has met me before on multiple, although sporadic occasions. Anyway, I got out that the tickets I was using belonged to ….-san, and she was like “Ehhh, Uso!!!” Lucky for him, I didn’t have time to tell her that he didn’t come because he was more interested in seeing HKT today, LOL.

One other thing, they had a camera behind the lanes, and they were filming the members coming in and out of the handshake area. The girls were hamming it up for the camera, and there were many funny moments. Play-fighting, pulling faces, and other general silliness

Kamata Natsuki, Matsumoto Ckikako, Matsumura Kaori (Lane 6) Kaotan had some of the shorter queues of the day, but the lines move so fast, you can use a lot of tickets rather quickly. I had no idea what I was going to say to Kamata, so I basically introduced myself. When I got to Chikako, I reminded her of a fun experience I had with her when she was in the booth next to Mikitty a couple years ago, and she seemed to remember it. Finally, Kaotan asked me if I enjoyed the live, and how many times I would be seeing her today. LOL Kaotan, such a detective. I told her I would see her again a little later.

Inoue Ruka, Tani Marika, Goto Rara (Lane 11) I actually went to this lane before Kaotan, but then realized it wasn’t opening until 1:30. By the time I came back it had swelled to three times the size. But I actually had a while until my planned next ticket. Eventually I made it to the front. Wow, Ruka-chan, nice English!!! I expected to hear English in this booth, but not necessarily from her. She spoke quite fluently, and without much accent. It actually reminded me of my first ever encounter with Akiyoshi, which went much the same way. I told Tani that I loved her W-center, and it was the best part of the show. Finally, Rara started speaking to me in Japanese, but then switched to English midway through, LOL. I responded to her in Japanese though.

I took a break, since the lanes I planned to visit next weren’t opening for 30-45 minutes. In addition to the handshake lanes, they had the badminton setup where you could play against members. They also had a poster booth, a perfume booth, and a “costume try-on” booth (ladies only) There also seemed to be some kind of member stage, but I wasn’t interested in any of that stuff. I did go to the goods booth to pick up a Tani ticket holder, since she has been bitching at me for months to buy Tani gear to wear at the events. To my surprise, Mizuno Airi was working the goods booth. They had a special line if you wanted her to serve you. Frankly I wasn’t too interested in meeting her, and I wasn’t going to buy her goods, so I went for the shorter queue. She is cute up close, though. It finally approached 3pm, and I was pretty sure what lanes I would be visiting for the rest of the day…

Sugawara Maya, Nakamoto Izumi, Matsumura Kaori (Lane 6) Back to visit Kaotan, but with a different supporting cast of characters. Tani caught me in this lane as she was passing to go backstage, and gave me a nice wave. Meanwhile, I could see Kaotan and her crew entering since they were on camera. Kaotan was wearing pink Crocs (Tani was too!) Sugawara started introducing herself, but I explained to her that I was friends with …-san, who she knows. “Wow, really?” For Izumi, I had nothing, so I basically introduced myself. And then I asked Kaotan about her shoes. She told me not to tell anyone, but then I asked if they were comfortable. She laughed and said yes as I was pushed out.

3rd Generation Draft Members (Lane 12) I was really impressed with them during the live, so I made a point to save a ticket to meet them. During the live, I had earmarked Hirata Shiina as possibly my favorite, with Nishi Marina a close second. But I also thought Otani Yuuki was really cute. I actually lined up very early for this lane, and it was a good thing, since by the time the lane opened the queue had almost swelled to “Jurina-level.” Not a complete surprise, since it seemed like most everyone has been charmed by the new draftees. Since I had never met any of them before, and they are so new, I spent my time in the queue memorizing their names. It’s nice that they all have a different look, which made it easy. So as I stood in front of all of them, I made a point of saying their names. (Although they were ultimately wearing badges, so my memorizing was kind of pointless) Anyway, saying their names got a lot of good reactions.Kouzuma Honoka was first, and I stumbled on her name, but I knew Otani, who was very genki and cute. Perhaps the best reaction I got though was from Nakano Airi. For some reason they kinda forgot about me for a few seconds, which gave me a bit of time to talk to her. I told her that I enjoyed watching them all perform, and she said my Japanese was very good. Finally I got good reactions from Nishi and Hirata, especially when I told Hirata that she was my favorite new member.

Obata Yuna, Tani Marika, Nomura Miyo (Lane 11) Again Tani had a very big line, although I’m sure sharing a lane with Obata had a lot to do with it. I had removed my Kaotan ticket holder, and replaced it with Tani. I was ready! Obata was first, and I pretty much said the same thing I told her the first time I met her, that I adore her smile. Actually, I do have a lot more I would like to say to her, but it would take a normal handshake ticket to convey it. Perhaps that’s something I will plan for the future. I held up my ticket holder, “I bought it!!!” Tani had already noticed it, and was gesturing toward my chest as I said it, then she raised her hand and gave me a high-five. I had nothing for Miyo, so she just said thank you for coming, basic stuff.

I had one last ticket. I was pretty sure I knew who I was going to use it on, but then I noticed another lane that looked interesting. Lane 8 had Sato Kaho, Furuhata Nao, and Fukushi Nao. I really want to meet Kaho, and have a ticket for her next month. There was also Dasu’s lane, but she had just gone on an extended dinner break. Ultimately I went with the original plan…

Hidaka Yuzuki, Nojima Kano, Aoki Shiori (Lane 4) I always try to meet Yuzuki at the Zenkoku events. Plus, I like Aoki, and I don’t remember ever meeting Nojima before. So it was decided. It was a very short queue, and the three of them were on the big screens as they entered into the handshake area. Yuzuki was making faces at the camera. But we had to wait for Shiori who was late coming out. Yuzuki gave me a big osashiburi!!! I asked her how she was, and told her I enjoyed watching her onstage. I basically introduced myself to Nojima, and said osashiburi to “Shiori-chan” For some reason “Shiori-chan” got a laugh out of her. She then pointed to my ticket holder and asked if I oshi’d Tani. I didn’t have any time to explain it, so I just said yes. [hehe]

And that was it, I made a beeline back to Shin-Yokohama Station and headed back to Tokyo. SKE will be doing an entire weekend of handshake events in Saitama next month. I am going to the Saturday event only, since that Sunday I have the HKT Shamekai event, AND a Wasamin cheki event. So that’s going to be a busy weekend.

CK in Tokyo

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Events Stumbling Across a Mizumori Kaori Live Event (2018/03/11)

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A cute little story, peripherally related to Wasamin….

On Sunday my plan was to head to Asakusa and Higashi-Jujo to finally pick up my last two preorders of Wasamin’s new single. I got sidetracked, since I was passing through Ueno. I decided to take a walk through Ueno Park to check out how the Sakura were blooming, and to see if the food stalls were open yet. Most of the trees were bare, but some of the food stalls were open.

SCORE! So for lunch I had grilled beef kalbi, grilled squid, and a small okonomiyaki. After that I continued to Asakusa…

When I got to Yoro-do, the music shop Wasamin often performs in, I noticed a small crowd hanging out outside. I checked the sign. Mizumori Kaori, Wasamin’s senpai, was appearing. Well, since I was in the neighborhood anyway, I decided to buy a CD for the event. However, the shopkeeper informed me I could get a 2-shot if I preordered two copies. What the heck, I’ll go for it.

I had reservation #71, which meant I would surely be standing in the back. And to be honest, most of her fans or of the geriatric set, so I would feel kinda bad taking a seat anyway. By the way, Yoro-do has completely redecorated their performance venue. It looks really nice, and I LOVE the vintage movie posters framed on the walls!

It was a fun little event. It wasn’t very long, and she only sang one song (the new single) And of course, being the one foreigner in the audience, Kaori-chan made a big deal out of my presence. Since there was a very big crowd, they decided to shorten the live, and get to the 2-shots.

I was in the back of the venue, so I was one of the last people to go. She greeted me, and I reminded her of the interaction we had at NHK Hall last month. She immediately lit up. She remembered what I was wearing, where I was sitting, and then she told me afterwards when she went backstage she mentioned to Wasamin that she met her foreign fan, LOL.

Come to think of it, I think Wasamin was trying to tell me that at one of her release events, and I didn’t understand what she was saying. LOL.

Anyway, when I told her I lived in Itabashi, she asked if I was coming to the Nagara Pro show in my neighborhood. When I said yes, she said she would see me there! LOL. I have mentioned before that Mizumori-san (I remembered to call her that) is like a big kid during lives, and she is no different in person. After that I left to go to Higashi-Jujo…


I just happened to snap a pic of Hayabusa’s signboard at Yoro-do

When I arrived a Higashi-Jujo to finally pick up my last Wasa-package, they were also holding a live event. LOL, it was Hayabusa! I was running into NagaraPro acts all over town. It was their last of three events that day. The shop owner asked if I wanted to go into the event, but it was already half-over, I didn’t feel like purchasing any more CDs that day, and of course, I am more into the female performers. Although if it had not started yet, or was just beginning, I probably would have gone in.

Anyway, quite an interesting Sunday. And to make sure this involves Wasamin properly, here’s a picture of her autographed signboard at Yoro-do…

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events AKB48-Group 11-Gatsu no Anklet Individual Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2018/03/03)

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It seemed like it had been a while since I had been to a 48-group related handshake event. Since the first weekend of 2018 I had only been to one, and that was kind of a blur since I basically showed up at the end of the night and oshi-mashi’d all of my tickets. So it was nice to spend a proper afternoon meeting with members.

I had eight tickets in total, spread out between Slots 4 and 7, pretty much all for my regular girls. That meant I could cruise into Makuhari in the early afternoon. I actually tried to get there early and have a leisurely lunch before the event, but there was a delay on the Yurakucho Line that caused me to miss my transfer, and get in a lot later than I had planned. I still managed to shovel in a quick lunch before heading to the halls. I didn’t need my tickets stamped, so once I got through security I went to queue up for my first ticket.

And a reminder, the prizes were in play. The usual 1-shot videos, 2-shot selfies, signed photos, and the trump game. BTW, here’s what the back side of the trump game prizes looked like. The other side is the member photo, and signing spot, which you will see below.


They gave you a plastic slip to put these in, but I couldn’t figure out how they fit, until I realized you are supposed to fold them, LOL!

Slot 4 

Tani Marika (Lane 96) Marika’s queue wasn’t very long. However, she wasn’t in her booth yet, and Slot 4 had already started. I didn’t win the signed photo, drats! In the meantime I had a good view into both Goto Rara and Tsuzuki Rika’s lanes. Eventually Tani came out, but she was taking a long time signing the photos for people who won the prize. When it came my turn I congratulated her on her 400th theater show. Tani did her usual “Yeah, let me hear it” pose. However, I mentioned that I have never seen her perform in a theater show, and I really want to win one day. She was like “Yeah, you gotta come see me!” LOL.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 18) <1st ticket> As expected, Zunchan’s queue was really long, and that was just to get to check in. The inner queue was at capacity. Interestingly, she was in the lane right next to Okada Nana, and during Slot 4 actually had a longer queue than Naachan. I didn’t win the prize for either ticket, which were 1) 2-shot/1-shot and 2) signed photo. I have actually gotten to know a couple of Zunchan’s big fans, so I had people to chat with during the wait. There were also other Wasafans in her queue, as well as the queue to my right, so we were talking as well. Per usual, Zunchan’s lane was filled with all the signs and decor. Jeez, I wish I could take a pic, it is all so cute. I already planned what I wanted to say to her for the first ticket, so I didn’t pay too much attention to the signs. I essentially told her that I had gotten cancel machi last weekend, but didn’t make it into the show, so I was sorry I didn’t get to see her.

Slot 5

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 95) <1st ticket> I got to her lane just before it opened, and only one person walked in. So I ended up second in line. Finally I had won a prize, the 2-shot/1-shot. I know I’m a glutton for punishment, but I decided to go for the selfie, despite the fact I am horrible at taking them. Kaotan had a really cute skirt on, which unfortunately wasn’t going to show up in the pic. I mentioned my lack of photo-taking skills to Kaotan, so she helped me steady the camera, and voila! I had a nice selfie!

Afterwords she asked how I was, and I told her that I was a little worried. She asked why, and I blurted out “Don’t graduate!!!” She started laughing, “That was just a joke” I knew that, and told her that I saw it being talked about online. Anyway, we had a good laugh.

It was somewhere around this time that they showed the HKT, NGT, STU, and whatever that other PV was. (They must have shown SKE and NMB’s before I arrived) To be honest, none of them got me too excited, although STU’s seemed quite nice. I was really only paying half attention to them though…

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 18) <2nd ticket> After heading off to another lane, I came back to find Zunchan’s queue only slightly smaller than before. I compared it again to Naachan’s lane, and this time Naachan’s was somewhat bigger. But I point this out to show that Zunchan’s popularity has reached the level of the big members of AKB, and that management should take a look at her potential for being a significant part of the group’s future. Anyway, I couldn’t think of much more to say to her, but I did notice the big sign behind her. It was something about “Hina Matsuri” and eating Chirashi “something of other” The rest was about looking forward to eating it. So I asked Zunchan what it meant, It was Chirashizushi. Okay, I should know that! She asked me if I had eaten it, which I had. So I told her I have eaten it, and liked it.

Slot 6

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 95) <2nd ticket> Again I got there before the slot started, but this time four people jumped in, so I was fifth in the queue. This was important since I had three tickets for Slot 6, and I was trying to fit all the tickets in. Then Kaotan was like ten minutes late to the lane. I passed the time watching Kitagawa Ryoha in the neighboring lane. Eventually it was my turn, and I got to play the Trump card game with Kaotan. It worked somewhat differently than before, and I didn’t really understand it. I just picked a card, and she said I won. GREAT! So I got a signed photo.

While she was signing it, I mentioned that the Trump card game is okay, but Trump the President sucks. She was like “Huh?” I was really surprised that she didn’t get it. After explaining it a couple of times, it finally clicked for her who I was talking about. “Oh yeah, people don’t like him, ne?” After she finished signing, she asked when she would see me again, and I said the SKE handshake event (forgetting the AKB shamekai is a week earlier) Oh well, by then she will have forgotten what I said.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 76) I was actually heading to Akiyoshi’s lane, when I saw that Maichan’s queue was virtually empty. Really? At the January event her lane was ridiculously long. In fact, I ended up skipping her ticket as a result. In any case, I figured I would take advantage, and I won the prize, which was the 1-shot video. Per usual, Maichan looked adorable. Amazing looking one-piece dress, and the twin tails, WOW! Made me very thankful I won the video…

It had been a long time since I had talked to her, and she pointed that out. Probably because she saw me at the last couple events where I didn’t go to her. Anyway, I told her I loved the outfit, and that I hope to see her during HKT’s Spring Tour. She kinda spun around and did a quick modeling for me. She really knows how to melt a guys heart!

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 71) <1st ticket> Yuka-chan had a decent sized queue, and I was in line right behind the old guy who always tried to be first in her queue. This was later in the slot, while he was looping the queue. He and I were talking about Yuka-chan’s trip to Singapore, and how she tried speaking English and Chinese. According to him, she had limited success. So we decided I would give her an English lesson. While I waited I was watching Yamashita Emiri in the next queue, who was wearing a somewhat revealing black top. Finally it was my turn. This was another Trump game, and according to Yuka, I won, GREAT! While she was signing I said to her in English; “Did you Enjoy Singapore?” and then “What was your favorite thing in Singapore?” This time she admitted that she didn’t understand the 2nd question, so I repeated it in Japanese. She said that the Singaporean Chicken and Rice was OISHII!!!

I had to wait an hour before I could use my last Akiyoshi ticket. In the meantime I went out to the food garden, and they have gotten a bunch of new food trucks, including this one!

Skewers!!! Pork, beef, chicken, shellfish, tons of great stuff! So much better than when our choices were pretty much ramen or gyudon. I had a Pork Kalbi and a Sazae skewer while I waited for Slot 7 to begin…

Slot 7

Akiyoshi Yuka (lane 71) <2nd ticket> I pre-queued fairly early, and ended up being 2nd in line, and I won the prize! Again I was tasked with the choice of the 2-shot selfie, or 1-shot video. Since the last selfie I attempted to take with her came out badly, I decided to try and redeem myself. I told her about the last one coming out poorly, so she told me to take my time and make sure the shot looked good.

Well…at least it isn’t blurry. The guard was pretty much pushing me out from the moment I finished taking the pic, but I confirmed with her that she was not going to be performing with HKT at Sendai. She said she would only be at Saitama. I told her I would see her at the upcoming 2-shot events, and was off…

For those keeping score, I was 5 for 8 on the prizes, which is damn good! I got skunked on Zunchan though which was a bummer, and didn’t get any autographed pics. But hey, I was 4 for 4 with my 2-top, Akiyoshi and Kaotan. Yay!

Before leaving Makuhari, I stopped at the 7-11 by the station and picked up my ticket for Horipro Matsuri, which is in a couple weeks. The show is at Zepp Diver City, which is mainly standing room only. I got a great queue number too, so hopefully I will be very close to the stage.

 

I am not attending next week’s handshake event, which means that aside from the aforementioned concert, my next 48-group related events won’t be until April, where I will be attending AKB and HKT’s album shamekai events, plus SKE’s single event. So things to look forward to. And tomorrow is the last day of Wasamin’s 7th single release week promotion. It should be a crazy day!

CK in Tokyo

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