Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Events, KissBee Kiss Bee’s Big Push for Their Upcoming Single, Live in Ikebukuro and Saitama. (August 2017)

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When Kiss Bee put out their promotion schedule for their upcoming single, I am aghast to see how many live appearances they had planned.  Not only that, there are additional events that didn’t even make it on to that original schedule.  Obviously Kiss Bee’s management are truly committed to making the new single, Dokkin Fuyaffuu a big success, an even bigger task since it is releasing opposite AKB48’s 49th Single.  But whatever, there’s room for more than one idol group in this world…obviously.  BTW, here is their new single PV…

 

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Ikebukuro (2017/08/08)

So checking Kiss Bee’s appearance schedule, I noted a few possibilities, beginning with their free live at HMV Isola in Ikebukuro.  This is one of my ‘go-to’ places for mini-lives, since it is quick and easy to get to from my apartment.  I got to West Ikebukuro early to grab some dinner, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the Oedo Beerfest going on in the park across the street.  I did grab a couple of beers (including one called ‘Vanilla Ice Cream IPA’) and made note to come back the next day to enjoy the festival properly (which I did, LOL)  But for this day it was about seeing Kiss Bee, so upstairs I went.

It was the typical Isola setup.  I have actually seen Wasamin here on multiple occasions, as well as FESTIVE and Chaki.  I bought three copies, with the intention on meeting at least two different members, and grabbed a spot around four-back from the stage, which was good since the place really filled up by showtime.  That of course was after I got all of my Kiss Bee promotion cards stamped.  I have one card where they mark all of the CDs you purchase, and another for each event you go to.  You need to purchase A LOT of CDs to win anything with that card, so I will probably just keep that as a souvenir.  But for the event card, I may come close to filling it up.  We’ll see…

This was supposed to me a “mini” live, but they ended up performing for over 50 minutes.  And if you include the pre-event rehearsal, which they do in front of the fans, over 55 minutes.  So this was almost like a small concert.  So the fans really got bang for their buck, or at least for the CDs they purchased.  Afterwards it was time for perks, which always starts with a free high-touch for everyone in attendance.  After that, they offer three perks, in order.  The first is a Group-Shot, which costs four tickets, then a cheki (2 tickets), and finally a handshake/signature (one ticket)  For the signature you can have the member sing a cheki, a cd, or she will sign and give you a photo.  So the system is fairly easy, although I think it’s kinda steep when a signed cheki ultimately costs 3000 yen, which is why most of my chekis with Misaki-chan are unsigned.

When I purchased my CDs, I originally planned on seeing three different members, but ultimately I used ALL of my tickets on Misaki-chan, one for a cheki, and another for a signed photo.  Oh, and a funny thing happened.  When my turn came to do the cheki, Misaki-chan, said “Hi Chris!  Chris is your name, right?  I thought so.”  Like with Miyabi from Minyo Girls, I had never mentioned my name to Misaki before.  In fact I think the only one in the group I had ever said my name to is Reon, but I had a sneaking suspicion how she knew it, which was confirmed at Saitama. (part two of this post)  Anyway, my cheki and autographed pic.  Since Misaki likes making weird faces on stage, I kinda like to do the same with her in photos…

During the handshake Misaki asked me where I was from, and I told her about the festival outside.  In fact, when the event was over I headed back down to get one more glass of that Vanilla Ice Cream IPA, before jumping on the bus back home.

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Saitama (2017/08/15)

So my three-week vacation is turning out to be a total idol fest, despite the fact that Wasamin hasn’t been performing locally at all.  That will change next week when she does her new single promotion.  But for this week my schedule has been filled with events, beginning with the AKB handshake event, Minyo Girls, two Kiss Bee events, and THREE No Plan events, which I plan on writing my next post about.  I also had the opportunity to see FESTIVE on Monday, and was standing right in front of the club entrance, but decided against it since I had already spent enough money that day, and didn’t want to overdo it.

Kawaguchi is the first train stop in Saitama after you cross the Arakawa River, which makes it very easy for me to get to since I live on the Tokyo-side of the river.  Kiss Bee would be doing two shows at the local Ario/Ito-Yokado Mall, which brings back so many memories of going from mall to mall to see Wasamin back in the day.  Yes, I have been to quite a few Ario/Ito-Yokado locations over the years.  The stage was set up in the center court of the mall, which meant there would be tons of foot traffic going by the events.  I got there a little early to check out the crowd, and to have a little bit of lunch before the event started.  Like at Ikebukuro, I bought three tickets, intending on doing handshakes with three different members.  However, once again my plans changed.

I grabbed a standing spot just behind the seats, and was ready to go.  Although the Kiss Bee fans seem to keep the fan antics at a minimum during the mall events, I am pretty sure that is by instruction from group management.  So you don’t here much chanting, or see much dancing.  Mostly clapping, and that’s it.  During the show I am usually paying attention to Misaki, but sometimes I look for members who are also impressing me, and the more often I see this group there is one member who I seem to grow more and more fond of each time, and the funny thing is that she wasn’t even on my radar when I first started liking this group.

So after the high-touch, and almost winning one of the signed posters (I swear I am going to win one of those one day!) I decided to use my first ticket on that member who has been really catching my fancy lately.  I feel bad too, since every event I swear I am going to visit Sakura again, who I like also.  But this time I felt compelled to go and see Reon again.

Reon isn’t a popular member in this group yet, and her line is usually one of the shortest.  But I love her smile, and I do catch her looking at me once in a while.  Anyway, she immediately asked me my name again, and I told her that I thought she did a great job on stage and that I like her smile, which she reciprocated.  Then she asked my what I liked about KissBee, and who my favorite member is.  I lied and told her I was a Kiss Bee ‘MD’ (Minna Daisuki)  But I couldn’t think at the time of how to explain why I liked the group.  I guess that meant I needed to see her again.

When I saw Misaki, she immediately greeted me as Chris, and then she asked me what ‘CK’ means.  Aha!!!!  Apparently another one of my personal Twitter Fan Club, LOL.  So I explained that C is for Chris, and K is the initial of my family name.  I also mentioned that I liked that they were at this location wince I live near Akabane (one stop away)  Anyway, I didn’t do a cheki because I heard they were doing a special costume for the second performance.  However, that meant I had to get at least 1-2 more tickets.

The break between performances wasn’t very long.  I had time to get a drink, plus one lap around the mall (they had some good looking restaurants) before coming back and staking out a spot.  Another interesting aspect of Kiss Bee performances is that they rope off an area for photography.  Yes, you can take pics of their entire show, as long as your are in that section.

Anyhow, the girls came out for their second set.  BTW, a couple of the songs they performed I had never heard before.  One was called Puppy Puppy, which they played in both sets.  One of the things I like about Kiss Bee is that their songs have an interesting style to them.  They aren’t all idol sounding tunes, some of them have a jazzy feel to them, which I think makes them unique.  At the end of the show they were promoting their appearance today at Tokyo Summerland, which I didn’t plan on attending.  Good thing, since it has been pouring rain all day.

I saved my cheki for this event, so I could get a pic with Misaki wearing the different outfit, which I guess was some kind of Catholic School Uniform?  I don’t know.  What do you call that style?  Per usual, I went for a goofy pose, since it just fits her style too well.  I always say that Misaki-chan reminds me of Maeda Atsuko, if Acchan had a goofy personality.  Misaki is ALWAYS making silly faces before, during, and after the show.

After that I had one more ticket left, and I really wanted to see Reon again.  So this time I was prepared, and I explained to her how I stumbled upon the group accidentally during Golden Week, but didn’t do any handshakes after the show, but then came back to see them at Venus Fort.  And that I tweeted photos from their performances all the time.  At the end of the day, I think I found my true #2 girl in Kiss Bee.  Sorry Sakura 🙁

And that was it.  By this time it was raining pretty hard, sI made it back to the station and eventually back home.  I’m not sure when I will have my next chance to see Kiss Bee since my schedule is pretty busy for the next two weeks.  But I am sure I will see them again before the new single comes out.

CK in Tokyo

 

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

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

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

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

Slot 3

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

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

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

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

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

Slot 4

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

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

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

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

And with that, I took a break.

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

Slot 5

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

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

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

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

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

 

CK in Tokyo

Events, SKE48 SKE48 21st Single “Igai ni Mango” Individual Handshake Event at Tokyo Big Sight (2017/07/29)

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Ahh, so nice to be at an exclusive sister-group event again. As I mentioned to HKT48’s Fuchigami Mai a couple of weeks ago, I prefer going to the Sister Group events over the 48-group events. Some may consider it odd since they don’t offer oshimashi, or some of the other bonuses you get at 48-single events, but I like that they are a bit smaller, and a bit more low key. I also like that these events give me a chance to focus on one group (as opposed to 5 or 6) and see more members from that group, as opposed to when I go to the 48-group events I basically stick to my top two or three members in each group. Plus, I am more directly supporting the groups I like best (HKT, SKE)

Tokyo Big Sight

I cannot remember when the last time was that a 48-group did an event at Big Sight. Perhaps 2011? 2012? I’m not sure why they switched to Makuhari and Pacifico, when in the beginning (when they got too big to do handshake events at the theater) they were almost exclusively at Big Sight. I have heard a few different reasons. (The Halls are too small, The fans caused trouble) NOW I REMEMBER! the infamous “photo robbery” when one of the photo traders got lured into the men’s room, beaten and robbed. I don;t know if that was the reason or not. It could be a price issue too. But no matter, it was just neat to be going to a 48-group event there again.

More ‘name’ issues

Ya know, management needs to get this Western name issue ironed out. I mean it is ridiculous. At one point some of the systems wouldn’t take romaji, so we had to enter our names in katakana. That threw them off. Then, the systems started allowing romaji, but only in double byte characters, and in some situations, only in all-caps. the other thing that they can’t get over is the whole “middle name” issue. “Why isn’t this name on the ticket too?” Uhh, because that is my middle name, and your system only has two name fields. In the case of chara-ani it is impossible to put my middle name, I can’t even fit my entire first name. I doubt Mumo would allow me to put first and middle either, which is over 20 letters. I just wish they would stop making us sweat it every time over our names. It is friggin annoying. At the end of the day, they signed off on it no problem.

Security

I was all ready for another round of heavy duty security after the issues with Nogizaka, and then the beefed up scrutiny at the following AKB handshake event. But to me surprise, they seem to be over that, as the security check seemed to be fairly low-key again. I mean they are still thoroughly checking our hands when we get into the lanes, and they DID have someone in each lane specifically there to watch what you did with your bag before you entered the booth, but it just felt like they mellowed out after being a bit over-zealous at the last event.

Anyway, I had twelve tickets for seven different members all the way from Slot One, through the end of the day Slot 5. Slot One didn’t start until 11am, and I was done in the last slot around 7:30pm, so all in all it was an 8+ hour affair. Let’s get to it….

Aoki Shiori (Lanes 12, 20) <two tickets> This was essentially a first time meeting. Shiori caught my eye when she tried to fish me at the Team KII theater show I saw three months ago. Not only did she try very hard to interact with me, but at the end of the show she aimed and threw the streamer directly at me and told me to grab on to it. Anyway, Shiori was wearing Sailor Fuku, and looked quite cute. She is maturing very nicely, considering I thought she looked a bit baby-ish when she was a kenkyuusei. When I first went to see her I reminded her of the interaction we had in April. I don’t think she remembered it, but she seemed happy to hear the story just the same.

I actually had a second ticket for Shiori in the Lunch Slot. She welcomed me back, and I told her that Team KII was my favorite team, and that I want to see their stage again soon. It was then she noticed I was wearing some Kaotan gear, and immediately grabbed on to it. I wasn’t totally sure what she meant by gesturing toward the Kaotan stuff. I mean I hope she didn’t think I was oshi-ing her already. But I pointed out “Yeah, Team KII member. Best team!” In any case, she is quite cute, and I would see her again.

Hidaka Yuzuki (Lane 9) <two tickets> Despite the fact that she is my #3 SKE member, I mainly see Yuzuki at SKE events only. Well, except that I DID do a 2-shot with her at the last AKB Album event. But she is always super-genki, and a lot of fun to see. On my first visit, after the usual pleasantries, osashiburi’s and whatnot, I asked what her t-shirt said. It was one of those ‘engrish’ type of shirts with a guys head in the middle. She didn’t know, and asked me what it meant. (Which is funny, since her English is actually fairly good) But to be honest, it was written in such an odd, circular way, I had trouble reading it too.


Unfortunately she didn’t post a big enough picture to read her shirt

When I returned, I reminded her that I had seen the KII Stage (A familiar theme since I was meeting a lot of Team KII girls today) And like with Shiori, I told her I really liked the show and wanted to see it again. In any case, it was nice to see Yuzuki again. She is one of those members that actually has a pretty solid following among SKE faithful, but is relatively unknown outside of those circles.

Souda Sarina (Lane 6) As expected, Souda tried to fish me really hard at that SKE theater show, and I wanted to pay her a visit to see if the spark would remain. Unfortunately, Souda developed a case of Pink Eye, and had to cancel out of the event since she was contagious. Yeah, that would be a problem considering it was a HANDSHAKE event. I’m not sure what will ultimately happen with this ticket, since SKE do not let you use a ticket like this on another member. Essentially you are stuck with waiting for management to post what the options will be. Perhaps they will allow me to use it at the November event? All I know is that I am not going to waste my time going through the hassle of arranging for a refund for only one ticket.


Goods

The silver lining was that this gave me a chance to line up in the HUGE goods queue, since there were at least a couple of things I kinda wanted. Ultimately it took 70 minutes to get through the queue, and I purchased a new Matsumura Kaori ticket holder, as well as some SKE Mango Soap (actually they are sweets, good thing I didn’t wash my hands with them), which was relatively inexpensive. By the time I was done, the next segment had just started. I used my first ticket on Shiori (Which I talked about above) and my second on…

Obata Yuna (Lane 21) I had decided to pay Obata another visit, since she was so cute in the Stage I went to. This was the Lunch Slot (between Slots 2 and 3) and the line was really long. I had around 20 minutes until the lane closed, and was really thirsty, so I decided to leave the venue to get something to drink since there was no food or drinks at the event. When I came back, the line was still big, but I decided to brave it, and hopefully it wouldn’t affect my Slot 3 tickets.

Yuna was dressed quite casually, with an orange T-shirt, which I got a good eyeful of when I was in line for Shiori. 30 minutes later, I finally made it to the front of the queue, and went through my usual Team KII spiel. Oh, and of course I also congratulated her for getting the center position. The nice thing was that she was a lot more friendly than the first time I met her a couple of years ago, so I was happy I got a ticket for her. But even more I was relieved that the next Slot had barely started, so I wasn’t going to lose out on any tickets.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 13) <three tickets> I was happy to have a few tickets for Kaotan this time, since I think she was disappointed that I only had one ticket at the 48-group event. Then again, she always asks her fans to invest more in the SKE CD events. Anyway, I wanted to come up with something good to say, but I was struggling finding something topical to talk with her about. But I was also going in tandem with my friend Derek, so at least I could introduce him. When I got to Kaotan, I noticed she had on these really cool earrings, so as she grabbed me into her cross-handed shake, I told her that her earrings were very nice, but Kaori was more interested that I was wearing the new Kaotan ticket holder. She grabbed it and immediately turned it around to see what tickets I had inside, which was awesome since right on top I had more tickets for her. But she wasn’t done. She immediately looked at my address. “Oh yeah, you live in Itabashi. I know exactly where this is!” I said “Yes, near Wakoshi” (Her hometown) But I was really thinking “Does Kaotan wanna come over???” She is certainly welcome…

For my next ticket I told her that I was graduating and getting my college degree next weekend. She got worried though, and immediately asked if that meant that I was leaving Japan. But I told her no, and that I was going to a bigger college for another degree. “Where is that college?”she asked, and then laughed when I told her it was near Shinagawa. LOL. For my final ticket, I told her that Derek thought she was the best handshake experience ever, which made her very happy. She then grabbed my ticket holder again to see what other tickets I had. “Oh, you are going to see Marika?” She then asked how to pronounce my name. At first she asked if my last name was somehow Japanese. I think she got that from the pronunciation, because it could almost be Japanese. When I told her it was Hungarian, she looked confused, I then said Europe. She then asked what my first name was, since they do this really stupid thing on the ticket and split my first name onto two lines. “Your name is Chr?” CHRISTOPHER I responded, pointing to the continuation on the next line. I then said my complete first and last name, which she repeated.

By the way, if you are wondering why these single ticket exchanged seem much longer than 8-10 seconds, well, that is what makes Kaotan handshakes so awesome. They are as long as Kaotan wants them to be. In fact, that last handshake seemed like it was almost a minute long. Oh, and when Kaotan saw me in a neighboring lane later on, she waved to me…twice. So that was nice. She is so great. Again, I highly recommend to all of you who come to these events to get a ticket for her. She is a total Kami-experience, as Derek learned today.

Tani Marika (Lane 17) <two tickets> Unfortunately Derek waited too long to apply, and missed out on getting tickets for his oshi Marika since she sold out. I was fortunate enough to have two tickets for her. The first of which I used in Slot 4. Tani has been dressing very sexy lately, and looking quite beautiful I might add. She had also gotten her hair done recently, and had dyed it jet black. Personally, I LOVE jet back hair. I think it makes girls look really hip and hawt. I remember feeling the same thing about Wasamin when she dyed her hair black. In any case, that was the subject of our first meeting. Tani’s super-cute hair. But sometimes I wonder if Tani thinks I am bullshitting her, because she kinda acts like I am sometimes. But I just kept pressing that I really liked her hair that way, and that she looked really good…


Typical Marika, make yourself up to look beautiful, then pose for a picture looking like a slob, LOL

After the dinner break, I came back in for my last Tani ticket. I reiterated that I wasn’t bullshitting her when I said that I really liked her hair. So then she puts me on the spot. “I am the prettiest one here?” Fishing for compliments, as usual. I was running out of stuff to say, so I also told her about my pending graduation, so she congratulated me. That was nice. Unfortunately I do not have any Marika tickets for the next AKB event in two weeks, so it may be a while until I see her again.

Oya Masana (Lane 14) I fortunately got this ticket right before she announced her graduation, all of her Tokyo slots pretty much selling out in the next round. Unfortunately I didn’t get a November event ticket, and now I am kicking myself for it. As expected, Masanya’s line was really big since lots of fans wanted to pay their final respects. So I saved it for my last ticket since I had no idea how long her queue would take. Ultimately it took around 40 minutes. In the meantime this was when Kaotan kept waving to me from the next lane. I wasn’t quite sure what I would say to Masanya aside from congratulating her on graduation, but the handshake gods were on my side this time…


Looks like someone is having yakiniku for dinner

So as I got to the front of the queue, the guard told me that Oya had to go to the handicap fan’s lane. But Masanya didn’t realize that so she is beckoning me to come over to do the handshake, and kinda confused why I was being blocked. When she realized what was going on she was like “Wait right there, don’t go anywhere!” LOLZ. I few minutes later she returned, and was talking to me the entire time until they were ready to let me in. After congratulating her on graduation, she asked me if I was living in Japan now. When I said yes. She said “I know you don’t come to my lane that often, but I always see you in Kaori’s lane, so I had a thought that you might live here now.” That was so nice. Ya know, I used to go see her all the time, and then stopped. And this is the first time I realized that she probably noticed, especially since she is often next to Kaotan and sees me all the time. So now I feel slightly bad that I kind of abandoned her. But the truth is that I found members I clicked with a bit better, and it isn’t like Masanya is hurting for fans, she has always been relatively popular. But I am glad I got to have that little ‘sincere’ moment with her. Maybe I didn’t tell her, but I ALWAYS liked her, always rooted for her, and always considered her one of my favorite SKE members. Anyway, I wished her the best in her future endeavors.

And that was it. It was pouring rain in Odaiba, so I decided to take the route home that would keep me under as much shelter as possible, only getting briefly drenched when I transferred from the Yurikamome Line to the Yurakucho Line at Toyosu. And by the time I got home the rain had lightened considerably. As for SKE, the only Igai no Mango individual event I have tickets for is the November Makuhari event, where SKE and HKT will be appearing next door to one another. And I only have four tickets (two each for Kaotan and Tani) But hopefully they will have some nice National events to go to.

 

CK in Tokyo

Events, FES☆TIVE, Minyo Girls Idol Extravaganza, Summer 2017! Part Two (FES☆TIVE & Minyo Girls)

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Continuing from my previous post…

I remember when Wasamin graduated from AKB, and I resolved to devote most of my “idol energy” toward her solo career.  However, I would go and see other idol groups “once in a while”.  After all, I was really only into two groups, Tokyo CLEARS and FES☆TIVE, so it wouldn’t be too difficult.  Unfortunately for me, that list of “other idol groups” has continued to grow to the point that every week I am checking 7-8 different websites for idol schedules, seeing if there are any shows I would like to see.  That said, I think I have done a half-decent job of exercising some restraint.  I didn’t go to see Chaki, or No Plan, or Hyper Motivation, despite the fact that all of them have been active this month.  Oh, and then there is Kozue’s dance-idol unit “I LOVE YOU”, who I would really like to see one of these days.  See, the list continues to grow…

 

FES☆TIVE

Like KissBee, FES☆TIVE are out promoting a new single to be released in time for “Tokyo Idol Festival,”  and the song is appropriately titled ‘Let’s Go Fes!’  The group is maintaining their usual, busy performance schedule, but are also throwing in a few free in-store lives to support the release.  The event I went to was held at Tower Records Kinshicho, where I saw Wasamin back in May.

The funny thing about FES☆TIVE is that the share the same label as Wasamin.  As a result, they share quite a few of the same label reps at events.  At this event, there were FOUR people from Tokuma who I regularly see at Wasamin events, including Yamaue-san, Sasou-san, the sound engineer, and one other guy whom I don’t know the name of.  Even funnier, when I first saw FES☆TIVE back in 2015, I had asked the Tokuma reps at Wasamin’s “Gomen ne Tokyo” event about them, and it was Sasou-san who called them a bunch of “busu-idols” (ugly girls!)

The new song is a lot of fun.  And the good news is that their two newest members, Piano and Saria have settled in quite well as permanent members.  I was worried about that since the group lineup had been static for so long.  Anyway, the new single is a lot of fun, and maintains the type of energy you would think a song like “Let’s go Fes!” would have…

FES☆TIVE’s post-show perks are pretty standard, and the same as what they usually offer.  One ticket for a shame or cheki, and a second ticket if you want to have the cheki signed.  (Actually, at their paid events it is only 500 yen more to get the cheki signed)  Per usual, I queued up for Hinarin as fast as I could since these days she is BY FAR the most popular member of the group, and her line stretches all around the store.  I don’t even bother trying to see her more than once.  I just line up for her quickly, and then use the rest of my tickets on other members…usually Hiyo-chan.

FES☆TIVE is going to be busy over the next couple of weeks with major idol events like TIF, but they will be squeezing in a couple of release events next week, including one in Akihabara.  I will do my best to make at least one of those events.

 

Minyo Girls

My guilty pleasure.  Actually, they really are a very talented group, and they have a very special gimmick.  Plus, you have to remember that both Wasamin and her manager have enlisted the Wasafans’ help in promoting them.  Throw all of that together, and I am proud to support them.

Speaking of ‘gimmick’, it is interesting to see them kind of go in a similar direction that Momoiro Clover went when they were signed to a major label.  (Remember early Momoclo? When they all wore Yukatas and had a ‘minyo’ sound mixed into their songs?)  When Minyo Girls first started they were strictly covering traditional Japanese folk songs.  However, once King Records signed them they seem to be breaking away from that genre a bit and doing more ‘idol-sounding’ material, albeit with a minyo/enka spin.  In fact, with each release they seem to be transitioning more and more into pop-idols.

Minyo Girls have yet to release an actual single, instead they release EP/Mini-albums with 5-6 tracks.  The event I went to see was outside the Cultural Broadcasting Radio building in Hamamatsucho, a place where I have seen Wasamin AND Hayabusa on more than one occasion.  I did not know until I got there that this event was celebrating the release of their third major label EP, ‘Minyo Girls III’  Since the show was right down the street from Devilcraft, one of my favorite places in Tokyo for Beer and Pizza, I went there first to ‘warm up’ for the event.

When I got to the venue, I think the people at the booth thought I was a random passing foreigner, that was until I bout four copies of the new CD, AND pulled out my Minyo Girls Happi.  The guy was like “Whoah, where did you get that???”  I wasn’t kidding when I told them I was a fan.

My three favorite Minyo Girls

After the event, where they played most of the songs from the new release, they were offering to sign copies of the CD jacket.  At first they said it would cost one ticket, but then someone else decided it would be free to anyone who bought the CD so cool.  Then it was time for handshakes, cheki’s and whatnot.  There were only six of the ten members in attendance, but all of the members I like were there.  So it was all good.  I first chose to do a group shot, which is a little more expensive, but it has become sort of a tradition for me with this group.

It looks like I am practically sitting on Yua, LOL

That is the FOURTH Minyo Girls group shot I have taken.  They are all fun to pose with.  I had tickets left, so I decided to do a signed cheki with one member.  Now I say that Yua is my favorite member of the group, but I also like Miyabi almost as much, not to mention the tiny Yutori, who always seems to remember me best.  Since I went with a Miyabi cheki the last time I saw them, I decided to go with Yua this time, despite the fact that Miyabi gave me real kami-treatment during the CD signing.

One of these days I want to take a cheki with Miki, the shamisen player.  She kind of sticks out as being much older, and not really that cute, but she is a major reason for their uniqueness, and sometimes I wonder if the other fans appreciate that.  Oh, and one more thing…

Their new PV!!!  ‘Ureshi Namida!‘ is from the CD ‘Minyo Girls II.’  They have been talking about releasing a single.  Perhaps this will be the one???  Anyway, Wasamin’s big concert is in just a few hours.  So expect that big report coming up soon!

CK in Tokyo

Concerts, Events, KissBee, Tokyo CLEARS Idol Extravaganza, Summer 2017! Part One (KissBee and Tokyo CLEARS)

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Although it is late, I am tired, and I have a ton of work to do, I need to get this post done now since Wasamin’s big concert weekend is coming up tomorrow.  Speaking of Wasamin….

It has been almost eight weeks since I have personally interacted with Misaki-chan.  The last event I went to that had any sort of “meet and greet” was her Karaoke party in late May.  Since then the only time I have seen her perform was at her play in Osaka, but even that was over a month ago.  Since Wasamin doesn’t really have any new products to promote and sell, I guess she is taking a bit of a break from fan events until her new “memorial version” of Saba Kaido comes out in late August.  So what’s an idol fan to do when his kami-oshimen is hiding out and not actively doing events???

He goes to see other idols of course.  And that is precisely what I have been up to, especially over the last three weeks or so.  It turns out that a few of the “other” idol groups I like have new releases coming out this Summer, and they are out actively promoting their new products.  This means there are many mini-lives to attend, and quite a few of them are free admission performances.  Since I like to aim for the free performances, this has kept me quite busy in July.  So who have I been going to see?

KissBee

As I mentioned recently on this blog, this is the group I stumbled upon in Odaiba during Golden Week, and I was totally taken with their “ace” member, Tanifuji Misaki.  They are promoting a new single that isn’t coming out until late-August, and they have a huge schedule of free appearances beginning in July, all the way to release week.  Furthermore, they are offering all sorts of bonuses, depending on the amount of events you attend AND the amount of CDs you buy.  The first event I went to was outside of Diver City, the exact same place I ran into them the first time I ever saw them perform…

Unfortunately Misaki-chan had announced the previous evening that she wouldn’t be at this particular event because of a scheduling conflict.  But I took that as an opportunity to meet a couple of the other members I like,  Specifically, Otawa Sakura and Oe Rena.

They were both very nice, but I really like Sakura a lot.  She reminds me very much of former AKB48 member Nishino Miki, both in looks and personality.  Unfortunately, I have already gone “all-in” on Tanifuji, so while I may go see her once in a while, she is not the focal point of my attention to this group.

I got to catch up with Misaki-chan at the next KissBee event I attended, which took place at Village Vanguard in Skytree Town.  This was a weird event for a lot of reasons.  First off, the management of the shop insisted that the music be performed at an extremely low volume.  I mean this is supposed to be a live event, but they somehow didn’t want the performance to interfere with anything else going on in the shop.  It was really ridiculous.  The second problem was that there was something terribly wrong with the sound system.  It got so bad that the girls eventually had to abandon their microphones and sing without them.

Eventually the show came to its merciful end, and it was time for perks.  Like most groups, there is something quirky about their cheki/handshake system.  One ticket gets you a handshake, plus a signature (on a cheki, or picture)  Two tickets get you an unsigned cheki, which makes a signed cheki rather expensive.  They also offer a ‘group shot’ for four tickets, of a shamekai for one ticket.  However, those two items are off the table for these free events.

I took the opportunity to catch up with Misaki-chan and take a cheki.  When I told her that I went to Odaiba, she asked if I had read her blog.  I told her I did, and that I wanted to see KissBee anyway.  She also apologized for the microphones being shitty.  I told her it was funny.  I had one more ticket, and since the girls are giving fans signed photos, I decided to visit a girl that I hadn’t met yet, and was making a lot of eye contact with me during the show.  She is a newer member in the group, and her name is Maeda Rion.

She didn’t have anyone in her line.  She watched me as I slowly walked toward her, almost pretending like I was just randomly walking around.  I then surprised her by pulling out the ticket.  It was kinda funny.  Anyway, she isn’t a very popular member, so I think she was just pleasantly surprised a came to see her.  Eventually I want to meet…well most of the members.

Yesterday I caught KissBee at HMV-Shibuya/MODI, which is quickly becoming a popular place for live events.  I have seen Wasamin here, as well as FES☆TIVE, and Chaki twice.  Once again, they had all sorts of issues with their sound system.  Only this time I think it was due more to the incompetence of the sound engineer.  The music was far too loud, the microphones were totally uneven, and a couple had feedback issues, including Tanifuji’s.

Another bonus they do at most of their lives is play Janken with the fans for a chance to win a signed poster.  In addition to that, some of the chairs had a special letter from one of the members taped to the bottom.  Unfortunately, I was not one of the lucky winners, and I am yet to win the poster Janken.  Hopefully one day I will get lucky.

I used all of my tickets on Tanifuji this time, getting a cheki and a signed photo.  I told her I saw the new music video they did with Sanrio, which may or may not be the new KissBee single.  (I think that’s what she told me)  I also saw this wacky video where she and another member played this weird batsu game with some British Vlogger.  It was funny because she tries to speak English in it.


The good news is that I am beginning to make friends with some of the KissBee regulars.  They have been following and talking to me on twitter.  Not to mention, Misaki-chan likes any KissBee related tweet I make.  In any case, quite a few lives on the schedule, so I am sure I will be seeing them a bunch more…

 

Tokyo CLEARS

I had really missed seeing Rion, so I am glad I have had a few opportunities to see Tokyo CLEARS this month.  The first show I saw was at Omotesando Ground.  There were quite a few other groups playing that night as well, including Idol College, and Hyper Motivation, which I really liked too.  CLEARS were the third group to perform, but what I didn’t know was that this was the kind of show where all the sales booths would be occurring after the show.  This meant I would have to wait almost 90 minutes before I could see Rion.  I decided I didn’t want to wait that long, so I took off after their set.  But not before seeing the group walking through Omotesando picking up trash, since being “environmentally responsible” is their entire M.O.  I suppose I could have gone over and helped them, but I didn’t want to intrude.  Anyway, I would make it up to them a few days later…

The following weekend CLEARS were doing a free live at the Aeon Mall Makuhari.  They were the headlining act, and among the other three groups performing was an idol unit called Barbee, which features former AKB kenkyuusei Sakamoto Rio.  Unfortunately, I read a few days later that Barbee will be disbanding next month.

The biggest issue was that the show was going on outside, and it was an extremely hot day.  I’m not sure how many of you have experienced Japan in the Summer, but the weather sucks.  Hot, humid, sticky, just totally unpleasant.  I had decided that I wouldn’t even bother with the other groups, and would simply wait for CLEARS to come on before going outside.

It wasn’t too large a crowd, and there was a little girl who couldn’t have been older than seven, and is evidently a huge CLEARS fan.  She knew all the dance moves, and knew all the songs.  She was really amazing to watch, and management let her stand in front of the barrier between the group and the fans, so she got a lot of attention from the girls too.

I decided to take a cheki with both Rion and Sayuri, since Sayuri has been especially attentive to me lately.  She is really a nice girl too, and she does all the right things to make me want to oshi her.  Even when they are performing she pays a lot of attention to me.  But, like with Tanifuji in KissBee, I am “all-in” with Rion, so Sayuri will always play second fiddle.

CLEARS weren’t promoting any new single since their latest release came out a month or two ago, but they are promoting a new venue in Naka-Meguro they will be appearing at regularly.  So that’s exciting, and I look forward to seeing them perform there.

I still have two more groups to talk about, but this post has already become long, so look forward to Part 2 coming VERY soon.

CK in Tokyo

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

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

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

A HUGE HALL

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

WARNING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

CK in Tokyo