Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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



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…

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

Tags: , , ,

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


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

Tags: ,

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


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

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Nishiyori Higashi

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

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

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

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

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

Signboard and sticker bonuses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(I’m in dire need of a haircut)

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

I even got a special Wasamin ‘neko’ drawing!

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

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

CK in Tokyo


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CK in Tokyo


Events, New Release Itano Tomomi 10th Single “Just as I Am” and “Wanderer” Photobook Pre-order Event at Lalaport Toyosu (2018/02/10)


Ya know it’s funny, I was never a fan of Tomochin when she was in AKB. It was after she graduated that I really started to like her music…

I came across Itano Tomomi’s new PV quite accidentally, and I really liked it.  It is filmed in Southern California, specifically in Venice Beach and the desert around Lancaster.  So I went to Tomo’s official site to check on the promotion dates for the new single. To my surprise, the CD release is in direct competition with Wasamin’s new single, releasing on the 27th of this month. There are five promotional events scheduled in the next three weeks, three of which are in Tokyo. However, the first event was the only one that didn’t conflict with other commitments I have. So, it was now or never. I would have rather waited for the release week, but oh well.

She had two performances scheduled at 1pm and 4pm, but I really only needed to see one of them. So I headed out to Toyosu in the early afternoon. Lalaport brings back a lot of memories for me. When I first started visiting Japan, a girl I dated lived near that mall, and I would go there to see her. Also, this is where I had my infamous run-in with Momoiro Clover Z as they were waiting for their manager to pick them up. To make a long story short, I would always meet my friend in the same spot, and one day when I arrived there were a bunch of girls standing there. I thought “Who the hell are these damn girls standing in my spot???” A moment later, Momoka and Shiori both turned around and looked at me. “Oh Shit!” All the members were there, except for Reni. I hurriedly walked to another spot. Anyway…

Running into Momoclo 6 years ago


After grabbing some lunch, I went to the usual spot where they do events. It was outside. Luckily it wasn’t that cold today. The deal was you got a “high touch” ticket for a CD, or a handshake ticket for a CD/Photobook combo. Somewhere I read you can get a 2-shot if you purchase 5 photobooks, but there was no way in hell I was doing that. I just wanted a CD. The high touch was fine. I went to grab a spot around 35 minutes before the event, and there weren’t that many people there. However, it really filled up in the last 5-10 minutes. The setlist was as follows…

1. Ii, Ne
2. Fui ni
3. Just as I Am

I said it wasn’t that cold, but it wasn’t warm either. Tomo came out wearing some long coat/robe thing (I’m not sure how to describe it), and after greeting the crowd and thanking us for braving the weather, went into her first song. She was a little shaky at the start, but her regular fans knew all the chants and hand motions, so eventually Tomo got into it. Her best performance was on the new single. I think the song really fits her. Also, there was an ice skating rink just above the stage, and you could see a lot of the kids and parents who were skating getting into the performance too.

I’m not sure who the guy was who did the MC. I am guessing it was someone from King Records. They talked a lot about her time in California filming the video and doing the photobook shoot simultaneously. In fact, at one point she sort of admitted that the PV is like a video version of the PB, but then she said “Buy both!!!” I believe she also mentioned something about doing concerts in the Spring. Ultimately, the mini-live was around 30 minutes, and then they set up for the meet and greet.

I was actually fifth in line for the handshake event. The way they did it was kind of odd. They didn’t have separate lines for the high touch and handshake people, they would just call out what you had as you came up to her. So I basically raised my hand and gave her a high-five as she smiled and thanked me for coming. I quickly blurted out at it is a good PV. Ultimately I think I probably could have stayed a couple of seconds longer, but since I was very early in the line I didn’t have a good feel of how much time they were allowing. But that’s okay. I got to say hello, and she was very nice. So all good.

And that was it. As I mentioned, I am probably not going to any of the other events. But I will continue to keep tabs on her activity.  I’m just glad I stumbled upon her new PV on YouTube, otherwise I might have missed it.

CK in Tokyo


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


Plus, Wasamin meets her fans a few days later…


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

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

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

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

The “hoodie” kinda fits me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FLOWERS: Here ya go…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CK in Tokyo


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


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

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

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

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

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

Off to the Wasa Party!!!!!

The snacks were kinda picked over at this point

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

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

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

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

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

AKB48-Group 50th Single Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama

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

Slot 6

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

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

Slot 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CK in Tokyo

Tags: , ,

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

1 Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tower Records Shinjuku


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CK in Tokyo


Events, Minyo Girls Minyo Girls Live (with Hayabusa) at Nittoh Mall Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture (2017/01/13)


Before I begin this post I should probably point out that Minyo Girls have recently released two new MV’s, one from their Minyo Girls III CD and a brand new one from their Minyo Girls IV CD.  So here they are!!!

I love both of the new PVs, especially the one from the new CD. So pretty, and such a cute concept. Anyway, I had an open Saturday. And since Wasamin was down in Osaka for the day, I decided to see what other groups I like might be performing. Luckily, Minyo Girls added this appearance to their calendar at the last minute. I have been itching to see Minyo Girls live ever since their new CD came out around Christmas. This was the first chance I had, although Kumagaya is quite the trek. It is in Northern Saitama Prefecture, almost to Gunma, and takes over an hour to get there from Shinjuku. However, it is a direct shot on the Shonan-Shinjuku/Takasaki Line, so I decided to go for it. My other option was to go see KissBee in Laketown, but I opted for this. BTW, I saw Wasamin at this mall last year, so I was familiar with the layout.


The setup was basically each group alternated doing their event. Minyo Girls were 1st and 3rd, Hayabusa was 2nd and 4th. For some reason, they tore down all the other group’s stuff when one was performing. I’m not sure why they didn’t just keep everything up the entire time. Also, they were doing a cross-promotion with some hand cream/facial cream company, and were doing “treatments” on people right next to the event. (You got samples when you purchased CDs, LOL)

Another interesting, although not surprising phenomenon; I arrived 45 minutes early, but ALL THE SEATS were already reserved by Hayabusa fans. Female fans, jeez. They are more rabid and obsessive than the guys, I swear. Minyo Girls were performing first, but pretty much ALL of their fans were relegated to the standing area in the back. A couple of the Hayabusa fans eventually “Loaned” their seats to Minyo Girls fans, but not very many. They pretty much camped out in the seats for all four shows. The rest of the seats were taken by the local elderly crowd, who usually flock to events like this in small, out of the way towns. Anyway, I got my hands on a couple copies of the new release…


The odd thing was that the booth was only selling copies of “Minyo Girls I” when I got there. It was only after the girls started performing that they brought out the rest of the merchandise (although they were sold out of Minyo Girls II) They didn’t have very many copies of the new CD either, and sold out early on. Also, here is the new flyer they were passing out, with the animated versions of the members from the “zashikiwarashi” PV.

I ended up getting three tickets, hoping to do at least a couple of chekis with Miyabi and Yua. Unfortunately, they weren’t offering chekis for this event. Instead, one ticket got you a group shamekai. On one hand that’s pretty cool, except I really didn’t want THREE of basically the same group shot. I think I could have saved the ticket for a later date, but I wasn’t sure. So I just did the three shots…


There were only six members at the event, who happened to be all the members who live closest to Saitama. In fact, Yua is from Saitama, so they made a big deal out of that. I did get a brief chance to say hello to Miyabi and Yua (my two favorite members) while they were passing out their “business cards.” Yua came over to me, and Miyabi ran up right after like “I was ginna give him one!” LOL. I also had a chance to talk to Miki the shamisen player, who was selling CDs. Miki actually came to Wasamin’s event in Shinjuku on Thursday. So I asked her if she had fun. She said she had a lot of fun hanging out with the Wasamin fans. COOL!

And here are a few performance pics. I’ll put one of Hayabusa on the bottom, since I did watch their early performance.


I was considering bailing on Wasamin’s late performance on Sunday to go see Minyo Girls at Tokyo Dome City. (Yes, while the AKB shows were going on) However, since I got to see them on Saturday, I stuck with Wasamin on Sunday. Next up for me and Minyo Girls will be their Solo Live next Sunday in Yokohama.


CK in Tokyo