Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Fan Club Holiday Lunch/River Cruise Event (2017/12/09)

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It’s always exciting when I receive a mailer from Wasamin. I never know what surprises might be contained within. Will there be some new, exclusive fan club items? A special event? Perhaps another dinner show or concert? The last major mailer had a few interesting promotions. Wasamin’s 4th solo concert, Nagara Pro’s Enka Matsuri, and a fan club event, which was the biggest surprise of all…

As a special treat, Wasamin announced that her end of the year fan club event would be taking place on a boat, complete with lunch, entertainment, games, and a cruise down the Sumida River past Sky Tree. Sounds like fun, eh?

I quickly sent my application in well before the deadline, since I wanted to make sure I didn’t get shut out of this event. Interestingly, I got a telephone call from Nagara Pro a couple of days later. When I sent in my payment I naturally added 600 yen to the price of the ticket, which has been standard procedure with every Wasamin event I have ever paid for. However, it turned out that they weren’t charging the fee on this event. They didn’t want to send the money back to me, so they extended my fan club annual membership an extra month. At the deadline, Wasamin’s manager made the announcement that they had a very response to the event, and they would be renting a very large cruise boat so everyone could fit. Cool beans!


Check-in Queue

I made it out to the Etchujima docks in the late morning, and there were lots of fans milling around, waiting for check-in. I wanted to take a picture of the boat, but when I got there Wasamin was doing a photo-shoot on the top deck. When she finished, she waved to us and went below. At check-in they gave us a Nagara Pro guest pass, and told us where our seat assignment would be. I would be at table 3-B. I figured that would be somewhere in the middle, which was probably good since I sometimes, not often, but sometimes can get a little queasy on small boats. Although this was a river cruise, and the boat wasn’t that small. It was funny though, since we are supposed to show our fan club ID at check-in, but since I am the only foreigner the girl immediately exclaimed “Christopher-san!” without me even showing my ID, LOL. I have seen my name on the manifest before, and it does sorta stick out since it’s the only one not in kanji, AND it’s in all-caps. One by one we boarded the boat, storing our shoes since it had a tatami floor. There were small placards with our names at our assigned seats, and our bento lunch was waiting for us. Once we were all boarded, the boat left the dock. Wasamin was immediately introduced, and we were asked to open the bento.

Quite a luxurious lunch, eh? It has just about everything on it. But that wasn’t all. They would also be bringing out tempura, and soup. As for drinks, we had unlimited oolong tea.

So that is squid, fish, sweet potato, and of course, EBI! Now at one point one of the fans asked Wasamin if she was eating a bento box too, but she said she couldn’t eat at the event. However, that ALL went out the window when the tempura came out. Wasamin took one look at the squid and was like “I wan’t squid too!” She immediately sat at one of the tables and took a piece, LOL. Ichikawa-san came running over with an extra plate, a napkin, and a drink. The funny thing is, I think all of us were wishing she had stolen our tempura. (the fan got another piece) Not surprisingly, it happened again when the Ebi came out. Wasamin saw the giant shrimp and practically started drooling, so they brought out a piece for her too. LOL

Wasamin also promised there would be fun and games too. The first contest was a sort of “Name That Tune” type of game where they would play a one-second snippet of a Wasamin song, and you had to guess what it was. Only one person got them all correct. People that got four or five won prizes. I only got two correct. But it actually was quite difficult. Not very many people got 4 or better. BTW, the answers were 1. Saba Kaido, 2. Heavy Rotation (Enka ver.) 3. Nagori Yuki, 4. Kita no Hotaru, 5. Namida no Sanbashi.

The rest of the contests were all Janken. I came close on the first contest, but ultimately didn’t win. As for the prizes? It was mainly a bunch of leftover stuff from Wasamin’s trip to France. T-shirts, Uchiwa. Oh, and everyone who didn’t win got a random bromide, also from the France events.

Wasamin reminisced about the past year, and all the different things she got to do, like travel and perform overseas. We were also counting how many solo concerts she did. Ultimately she did EIGHT major solo performances, and that isn’t event counting the Enka ensemble concerts she regularly appears in. That’s a lot of shows. It makes one wonder why they are still using the counter (2nd concert, 3rd concert etc.) At one point she started asking us how we liked her hair. She first asked if we like when she grows her hair long, and a lot of people raised their hand. Then she asked if we liked it the way she just got it cut. Oh crap! She trapped us. WASAMIN! So of course most everyone raised their hand. That was the answer she was fishing for, LOL.  Finally, it wouldn’t be a Wasamin event without a bit of singing. After all, they DID have a full karaoke setup on the boat too. The short, 2-song setlist…

1. Watarasebashi
2. Saba Kaido

And keeping with tradition, we were allowed to shoot photos during this portion of the event. Here are some of my best shots….

And that ended the event. One by one we filed off the boat, where Wasamin was waiting for us for a short handshake and talk. I told her I was going out of town for Christmas and my birthday. At first she confirmed I was coming back, then wished me a happy birthday. Once everyone was off the boat, Wasamin gave us all one last farewell, and boat took off back to its main dock; Wasamin giving us one last wave from the window.

And that will likely be my last Wasamin event for 2017, unless she has something pop up just before the new year. The next event I can attend will be her Yamano Music event on January 2nd, but I have to win the ticket first. But yeah, it has been an incredible year to be a Wasamin fan. So many concerts, dinner shows, fan club events, mini-lives. She totally spoils her fans, which is why I have heard many fans of other AKB members say they are jealous of all the access Wasafans get to their oshimen. I should go back and count how many Wasamin events I went to this year. Perhaps I’ll have some time to do that over the holidays.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, FES☆TIVE, New Release OIDEMASE!! ~Gokuraku~ FES☆TIVE New Release Events. (2017/11/27-28)

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It has been a while since I reported on FES☆TIVE. Actually, it had been a while since I had seen FES☆TIVE too. But I did happen to catch them in July when they released their single Go to FES! Which I’m sure without accident was released just before Tokyo Idol Festival 2017. In fact, I happened to catch them on Furage day at Tower Kinshicho, so I was able to get all versions in one shot, without the pain in the ass of preordering. Here is the full PV…

The other interesting aspect of this event was that a bunch of former Wasamin assistants were now working as staff for FES☆TIVE. Yamaue-san had been working for them for a while, and so had the DJ. But now Sasou-san and another Tokuma rep were there too. (Wasamin and FES☆TIVE share the same label, and the members are always excited to tell me when they encounter Wasamin, LOL) The funny thing was that they were all on staff for Wasamin’s July concert at Otemachi too, which is why at one point Yamaue-san had dubbed me the “Tokuma Fan”. Anyway…

I had enough tickets to visit with both Hinari and Hiyo. I took a cheki with Hinari, and did a handshake with Hiyo. It was basically a chance to play catch up and for me to explain why I hadn’t been around lately. Actually, there are a couple of reasons, which I will explain below. But there was that, I participated in the release week, and got my singles. I considered going to a couple of their weekend events as well, but blew them off. Little did I know it would be almost five months until I would see them again. This time, for a new single. OIDEMASE!! ~Gokuraku~

It was actually a complete whim that I decided to go see them. I was home with nothing to do, and I started checking to see if any of the idol groups I like had shows that evening. Lo and behold, FES☆TIVE was doing a release event in Ikebukuro. But I would have to leave soon if I wanted to make it, and I was also hungry. I left my apartment, not sure where I was going, when the bus came down the street. Well, I guess the universe was telling me something, since that bus was going to Ikebukuro, so I jumped on. FES☆TIVE here I come!

It turned out the CD was coming out this week, and this was the last Preorder event. I ended up getting two copies so I could get an autographed cheki with Hinarin. I few of FES☆TIVE’s regulars were there, and they said that Hinari would surely be happy to see me again, since it had been a while. They also informed me that there would only be six members at this event. Yuna-chan hd another event she needed to attend, but the other member…Well, that’s another story. I don’t want to spread rumors, but the scuttlebutt is that another FES☆TIVE graduation may be on the horizon.

At least Hinari was there, since she is the main reason I go see this group. They performed the new song, along with Go to FES! and a couple of their older songs. I noticed two things during the performance. 1) FES☆TIVE are not great singers, and my favorite member is no exception. Most of the groups I see these days have good singers. Wasamin is good, Minyo Girls are good, Chaki is good, even KissBee is good. So it was kind of odd to go watch a group that is sorta off-key and screechy. The second thing I noticed was that the guy standing next to me smelled horrible. I swear it was like he was hiding a corpse in his jacket. It was so overwhelming that I had to move to the back of the venue.

Anyway, the singing isn’t really one of the big reasons I haven’t been going to see FES☆TIVE lately, but it may have a little to do with it. I have been cutting down on my indie idol stuff a lot. It is just so expensive to be doing day after day. Also, FES☆TIVE had developed this small contingency of young dickhead fans who annoy the shit out of everyone. It was just a pain to share space with these little clowns. I will still try to see them when they play at TwinBox Akihabara, but they have to catch me on a good night. And they aren’t the only ones. I haven’t seen Tokyo CLEARS or Chaki in ages either. Anyway…

I was one of the first in line to take a cheki with Hinarin, but I would have to wait for the handshake only people to go first. As promised, she was very happy to see me, and we spent a little time catching up. She also dropped the bombshell that Yamaue-san got married. I told her I was jealous, since I always thought Yamaue-san was cute. (although they have a really cute girl working with them now) I told her I saw Sasou-san the day before at Wasamin’s concert in Hamamatsucho. Meanwhile, their manager was laughing that Hinarin is busy gossiping with the foreign fan about the Tokuma staff. She also asked me if I was coming to see them in Shibuya for Furage day, and like a sucker I said okay.

I was fine with going to Tower Shibuya since I was in the mood for Mexican food, and they just opened another Guzman Y Gomez branch right across the street from the store. Plus, I had never been on the Sky Deck of Tower Records before. It’s kinda cool, although I think it would be nicer on a Summer afternoon. The good news was that the group sounded a lot better at this event. Their singing wasn’t as bad, and they were a lot more energetic, so that made me happy. A couple of performance shots from their official Twitter…

There was an extremely long delay between the performance and the meet and greet. Luckily I wasn’t too far back in Hinari’s queue, which is usually the longest. Since the event was outdoors at night, (in late November!) the members wore coats over their outfits and Tower aprons. Meanwhile Hiyo-chan and Miki weren’t busy, so they were waving hello to me and smiling. I felt bad that I didn’t get a ticket for Hiyo. Same with Miki, since she is so nice, but I rarely get a ticket for her.

I had assumed that the delay was that they could go get the girls’ jackets. So I asked Hinari if that was a new jacket. She said it was, and that she bought it in Takadanobaba for 1000 yen. What a great deal, I exclaimed! I told her I liked the SkyDeck, and asked if FES☆TIVE has ever performed on top of Seibu Ikebukuro. (KissBee performs there a lot, and I really like it) Hinari said they played there just recently, and she agreed that it was nice. By the way, they took a commemorative shot with the fans…


Where’s CK? 

And with that I took off since I did have homework to do that night. I’m not sure when I will see FES☆TIVE again, but hopefully it won’t be five months from now.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, HKT48, SKE48 The SKE/NMB/HKT Makuhari Messe Extravaganza (2017/11/23)

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(SKE 21st Single Akushukai, NMB 3rd Album Shamekai, HKT 10th Single Akushukai)

It was a ‘perfect storm’ of events at Makuhari Messe on Thursday, which happened to be Japan’s Labor Thanksgiving Holiday. SKE, NMB, and HKT all had major events to support their latest releases. For HKT, it also served as sort of a kickoff for their 6th Anniversary Celebration. For the most daring of wota, this could be an exercise of how you can handle going to three group events at the same time. This was compounded by the fact that while SKE and NMB were in neighboring halls, HKT was in a different building entirely, on the other side of the property. As for me, I had meticulously planned my day far in advance, scheduling all of my HKT tickets for the morning and early afternoon, and all of my SKE tickets for the evening. (I didn’t have any NMB tickets) So I didn’t need to worry about going back and forth from event to event. I basically stayed at HKT all day, and moved over to the main halls after 4pm.

The was the first Tokyo event celebrating HKT’s 10th single, Kiss wo Matsushikanai no Deshouka?. The have a second Tokyo event in early January. I had 14 tickets for today, ranging from the first slot through slot five (including the lunch slot) However, it was announced a couple of days earlier that Rikopi would not be attending the January event, so her tickets could be used on this day instead. Since I had one January ticket for her, that made 15 tickets to use today. I know I have said this before, but I HATE going to Slot 1 at these events. It requires me to get on a very early train, something I don’t love doing on a weekend or holiday. But when you favorite member is scheduled early, you tend to want to go early. In any case, I got there on time, and got my tickets stamped. (The girl initially questioned the absence of my middle name, but the supervisor said no problem) With nine minutes to go before the gate closed, I had two tickets for the same lane…

Slot One

‘Group Lane’ Akiyoshi Yuka/Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 23) With less than nine minutes, I wasn’t sure if I would have time to loop this line, so I decided just to use both tickets at once. When I was five away from the front, both Rikopi and Yuka had already spotted me and started waving, since the guard was creating this weird delay between fan visits. When I finally got to the front, it was an English buffet from the girls. Of course the first thing I noticed was that Yuka-chan had cut her hair short, so I went on and on about how cute it was, at which point Rikopi began playing with her hair. Oh, and I might note that Rikopi was wearing a Jack Daniels T-shirt, which I found quite humorous. Since the guard was delaying the next fan after I was pushed out, they kept taking and flirting with me until I was a good 30 meters away. In the meantime, I met up with one of the heads of Yuka-chan’s birthday committee (who is REALLY cute!) since she wanted to give me a copy of the birthday scrapbook. It is a really nice book, professionally done. Eight pages total, with photos, trivia, and an Akiyoshi quiz/crossword on the back.

There were two long queues in the back of the venue, one for goods, the other for pics. I wanted to see what kind of goods they had, but couldn’t get anywhere near the sign. I would check it out later. I also met up with my friend Yukikaze, who is a Rikopi fan, but also a member of the Wasamin fan club. I wanted to confirm with him what I had read on the message board about Rikopi’s January tickets.

Slot Two

 

Yamamoto Mao (lane 2) I bought this ticket since I had such great time meeting Mao last Summer at the HKT National Event. But it had been quite a few months since I had that ‘kami’ experience. I wondered if the same ‘electricity’ would still exist. Her queue wasn’t very big, so I lined up right at the beginning of the slot. While I waited, I noticed Ui Mashiro was staring at me from over in the first lane. She wasn’t smiling, or waving, she was just staring at me. I got a weird vibe from her, so I avoided her gaze. In the meantime, the moment Mao saw me she began jumping up and down in excitement. Yes!!! This is precisely the attitude that inspired me to get a ticket for her in the first place. So I explained to her that she made such an impression on me last Summer, that I wanted to see her again. She was genki, and thankful, and at the end I was very happy I got that ticket. And yes, I do want to see her again.

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 9) I always go into Bibian’s lane not knowing what to say, and then coming up with something at the last second. Imamura was in the lane next to her, with nobody in her queue. Poor Maria, she was wrapped in a blanket looking cold and lonely. As I got closer to the front I noticed Bibian was fascinated the the cosplay (I guess you could call it cosplay) the guy in front of me was wearing. So I commented to Bibian that he was wearing very interesting clothes, and that he looked like Sherlock Holmes. Just then, Bibian lit up; Yes! Holmes-san!!! So I used my ten seconds to gossip about another fan. Sounds good.

Slot Three

 

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 8) I had two tickets for third slot, and they were in neighboring lanes. I have been kinda taxed to come up with things to talk with Maichan about as well, although last event I was saved by the Hawks winning the Japan Series. In any case, struggling with what to say, I just blurted out that her hat was cute. She was like “really, you like it?” “Maichan always wears cute clothes!” I had another ticket for Maichan next slot. Could I come up with more to say?

By the way, while I was waiting in line for Mai, I had a good view of Sakura working with her fans. I admit that I am not the biggest Sakura fan by a longshot, but Sakura DOES try very hard to be genki and connect with her fans. I almost didn’t recognize her, since I am not used to seeing her interact with fans. She is much different than how she comes across on stage on on television.

 

Tomonaga Mio (Lane 7) I was really excited to see Mio since I saw her perform recently at the AKB theater. I wanted to tell her how much I liked her performance. I actually did. It was my first time seeing her perform in the theater live, and I thought she was adorable. When my turn came, Mio was smiling, hardly reacting. Hmm, I thought she would remember seeing me at the theater. “I saw you perform with Team 4!” Still not much of a reaction. “I wrote to the ticket center that you were the show MVP!” THAT got the reaction. “Yatta!” as she lifted her hand for a high-five. I broke through, so I was happy. I know Mio sorta has a rep for not being the most exciting handshake experience, but do really like her. So I will go the extra mile in order to make a connection.

Slot Four

 

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) <2 tickets> Including those morning group tickets, I would have seven meetings wi Yuka-chan today, so I better have a lot to talk about. Of course I could always help her with her English. So for the first ticket I told her that the group slot was a lot of fun, and that I do really like her hair. The short hair, coupled with the sexy outfit she had on, really made her look more mature. Of course, she still has that babyface of hers. I also mentioned that I really liked Rikopi’s Jack Daniel’s T-shirt, and explained that it is a famous American whiskey. I quickly looped around, since her line was pretty short. It was at this time I told her that I would be going to California for Winter vacation. She aid that she didn’t know that was where I was from, which kind of surprised me, so she asked when I was coming back, and I told her before New Year’s.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 8) For my second ticket, not sure what to talk about with Maichan, I decided to expand on the last conversation. I mentioned that I oftem look at her social media, since she is always wearing ‘cute’ outfits. This is actually true…well, partially true. The truth is that I often look at her social media since I think Mai is extremely sexy, and I think she picks out clothes that emphasize her body very well. But couldn’t say it to her that way, could I? Could I? I got pushed out rather quickly this time, so it hardly mattered.

It was around this time that I ran into my friend Panda, who had his usual stack of Mikurin tickets. He was also going back and forth from the HKT and SKE events. The queue for goods had gotten considerably smaller, so we decided to check out what they had for sale….

At first glance, it a lot of senbatsu stuff, and a bunch of T-shirts, which I usually ignore since that rarely have my size. They did have new 6th Anniversary keychains for all of the members, so I decided I would get one for Yuka-chan. They also had gacha balls, where you could win a small member pin, and a guitar pick. But it was random, and I was only interested in getting Yuka-chan. As we exited the goods area, I noticed that the T-shirts all came in XL size. Wait a second! I took a better look at the 6th Anniversary T-shirts. Oh my god, they are all modeled after famous Hard Rock logos! One of them was even tie-dyed. This changes everything! The ‘Nirvana’ shirt was cool, but I have never really liked them. The main logo was an AC/DC version, but I didn’t like that it prominently said “ROCK”, and not HKT48. Since the last shirt was based on the logo of a band I used to really like a long time ago, the choice became clear.

I got the ‘Metallica’ version. It is the least colorful, but it ticked every other box of what I like in a shirt. I really would have liked to have gotten them all, but I didn’t want to overspend. Perhaps if I get another opportunity, I will pick up another one.

Lunch Slot

 

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) I wanted to show off my new Yuka-chan keychain. She was like “Oh, you got it!” Yuka grabbed on to it to get a better look. It is small, but she looks really cute on it. I also mentioned that I got the T-shirt.

By the way, Toyonaga Aki was in the next lane over. Not only did she look really cute, she was really outgoing with her fans. I have met her before, but it was back when she was a relatively new kenkyuusei. My, how she has blossomed. Just a mental note; I may want to meet her again in the future


‘Rikopi Challenge’ Posters were hung all around her lane

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 15) <2 tickets> I had decided that I would use that ‘extra’ ticket that I was suddenly tasked with using in this slot. However, I think a lot of people had the same idea, as it was pretty much the longest queue I had ever seen for Rikopi. My friend Yukikaze informed me that Rikopi would also be holding the “Rikopi Challenge” with the fans in her lane. What the hell is that? He tried to explain it to me, and I got the gist, but I couldn’t understand just enough to make me apprehensive about it. I decided to start out by using only one ticket. Since the Lunch Slot is short, I ran the risk of not being able to use the other ticket, but oh well. When I got to the front, it was basically another handshake. Of course this was Rikopi, so there was lots of English, and goofing around. I told her that her T-shirt was awesome, and asked if she had ever tried Jack Daniels before. She said that one time she had a little bit. Hmmm, not sure I’m entirely believing her. I told her that I drink it all the time, LOL. The good news was that there was still time left in the slot, so i was able to requeue and use my January ticket. It was at this time that I asked her about the Rikopi Challenge. So she stretched her hand and said “Let’s play Janken” After three ties, she won, which meant I had to play a batsu game. The punishment was basically her slapping my wrist with her fingers. If I had won, she would have given me a special message, or blow me a kiss.

Slot Five

This would be my final slot before switching over to SKE. While waiting I watched some of the special stages the members do at the event. People were queuing for these very early, and the viewing area was always packed. So while I walked by during a few of the events, i only watched one for an extended period since Bibian was on stage, along with Imamura Maria, Yamauchi Yuna, Ui Mashiro, and another member I couldn’t recognize since I was pretty far back. They had a contest on who was most skilled at playing the recorder. Amazingly, Bibian was actually quite good at it.

A short time later I had a random fan walk up to me and ask me if Akiyoshi was my oshimen. I said yes. He reached into his bag and pulled out an Akiyoshi gacha pin to give me. SCORE! And I didn’t even have to try to win one. Unfortunately, he only gave me the pin, and not the guitar pick, but who am I to complain? I had three tickets for the last slot, two for Yuka-chan, and my fifth Rikopi ticket of the day. Sheesh! That was kind of an anomaly, I didn’t plan to see her so much.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) <2 tickets> My last two tickets for Yuka-chan, for the first one I showed her my gacha pin. She asked if I actually won it at the machine, but I explained to her that I got it as a gift. For my last ticket, I told her that I really liked her sweater, and that she is a very nice dresser. She thanked me, and asked when I would see her again. I told her I would see her at the January event.

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 15) Running out of stuff to say, I told Rikopi about my Winter Vacation plans. Her initial reaction was almost like a panic. She was like “You are coming back, right???” I said, don’t worry, I am coming back to Japan. For some reason she laughed at the way I said it, but I’m not sure why.

I was finally done with all of my HKT tickets, and I had 90 minutes until I needed to be at SKE, so I hing around in the HKT venue for a while, running into BigC and Panda. I also waited until the end of the slot so I could wave goodbye to Yuka-chan with the rest of her fans. After that I slowly made my way across the bridge to the main halls, grabbing a snack at the conbini along the way, and quickly meeting up with my friend Nori, who was exclusively at the NMB event.


From the SKE48 costume display area

This was the second Tokyo event promoting the Igai ni Mango single. The first event was all the way back in July. I got most of my tickets for the first event, and only got these tickets after I reserved my HKT stuff, so I knew there wouldn’t be any overlap. I had four tickets total, but there was a dinner break between the slots. So it would basically be two tickets, then a long wait, then the last two tickets. Instead of by slot, I will report these by member.

Oh, and it was around slot A4 and into the dinner break that Yuasa was announcing the next single senbatsu via twitter, so I hoped (in vain) that I would be congratulating the girls at some point. Oh, and one other interesting note. I forgot to get my tickets stamped, and had no problem whatsoever using them in the lanes. However, it should be noted that I do have a Japanese identification, and almost everything on it matches the info on my tickets.

Slots A4-A5

Tani Marika (Lane 17) When I got toward the front of the queue, I noticed there was a cameraman near her, occasionally filming. In any case, I decided to play with her a little bit. Marika immediately noted that she has seen a lot of me lately. So I told her that last week I tried her Cup Ramen recipe (from the AKB recipe event a couple of weeks ago) She asked how it came out. “Oishii!!” I got a big thumbs up. Nice.

When I was waiting for her in the last slot, once again she was being followed around my a cameraman. So I asked her what the filming was about. She initially played dumb with me. I said that I saw the camera, and asked if they were making a movie about her. She still played dumb, so I basically said that I want to see a “Documentary of Tani” That she liked. LOL.

In-between slots I did check out the goods line, although it was the exact same stuff I saw in July. 90% of it was sold out too. I could have picked up a Kaotan oshi towel if I wanted, but I have enough oshi towels in my life already, so bail.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 13) For the first ticket I asked her which song I should vote for at Request Hour. Personally, I would vote for Matsumurabu in a second if it was eligible, but it isn’t. So she recommended Koko de Ippatsu. Interestingly, she didn’t recommend Koi Yori mo Dream. I wonder why? Per usual, Kaotan immediately asked me how many tickets I have, and if I would be seeing her in both slots. This time, I could answer affirmatively. So she was happy. BTW, Kaotan’s lane was right next to Oya Masana. This would be Masanya’s final handshake event. I was bummed that I didn’t get a ticket for her today, but I did see her couple of times recently. And she did spot me in Kaotan’s queue. Anyway…

After a long and tiring 10-hour day, I was finally on my last ticket. Since I am sure Detective Kaotan would want to know, I told her my Holiday plans. Interestingly, she immediately responded “You are spending Christmas with family?” Yep. “When are you coming back to Japan? January?” No, December, the 29th. I will see you in January. “Good, enjoy California!

I contemplated sticking around for Masanya’s farewell, but it meant sticking around for at least another 90 minutes. Normally I wouldn’t really care, but I DO have a history with Masanya that goes back to the early days of SKE, and in that respect I really wanted to be there. However, I was exhausted, hungry, and I had Japanese studying that I needed to get done. So I decided not to wait around. I did see the ceremony on Kaotan’s Periscope, so that was a nice consolation.

So that’s it for me and the 48-groups in 2017. It was been an extremely exciting year. And the next events kick off in the first week of January. In the meantime, I do have a few Wasamin events coming up before I head to Cali, including her ‘Love Live’ acoustic concert this weekend.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki The Wasamin Weekend Enka Shop Tour (2017/11/18-19)

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The was a last-minute addition to Wasamin’s schedule, although she does do these on occasion, especially during her single pre-ordering period. Perhaps they wanted to give her a bit of a warm-up before her ‘Love Live’ shows next weekend? Not sure, but it was only a week or so ago that they announced Wasamin would be appearing at four different Enka shops on Saturday and Sunday.

Prior to this announcement, I thought I would be having a relatively light weekend. Minyo Girls were doing a free live in Asakusa on Saturday, and KissBee were doing an appearance on top of Tobu Department Store in Ikebukuro on Sunday. However, that ALL went out the window for me when these events were announced, especially since most of the Enka shops Wasamin would be performing in were very close to my apartment. On the other hand, did I really want to go to all four of these events. I mean I love going to see Wasamin, but at each event I need to buy more copies of Saba Kaido. I have lost count of how many copies I have purchased in the last year, but it is easily in the triple-digits. Ultimately I decided I would go to three events; the two on Saturday, and then the late event on Sunday. I chose to skip the early Sunday show since it was in Koiwa, which is not near my house. Okay, my plans were set, until….

I had just finished eating lunch at Akabane Station, and was getting ready to board a train to Higashi-Jujo, when I got the email. I had gotten cancel machi for an AKB48 theater show. 16th Gen, Sunday afternoon. Yatta! Oh wait. Sunday afternoon. That would conflict with the Wasamin event. And the Sunday afternoon event was the on within walking distance from my apartment. Oh no!!! This was a dilemma, especially since it was cancel machi, and not a great cancel machi number, I might add. (#103) If I chose to go to see AKB, there was a decent chance i wouldn’t get in, and then I would be missing out on both events. However, I make it rule to ALWAYS go to the theater when have a win or cancel machi, so that was it. I guess I wouldn’t be seeing Wasamin on Sunday, unless I made the trek out to Koiwa in the morning. Ugghh!

I made it over to Music Shop Dan in Higashi-Jujo around 10 minutes before the event. This is the second time I had been to this shop. The first time was furage day for Saba Kaido, back in January. They were selling Wasamin CDs outside in the drizzle. I bought one copy, and headed down the street to a local community center where they hold their events. (The shop is extremely small) There were about 30 people in the room.

Higashi-Jujo Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Ringo no Uta
3. Shitamachi no Taiyou
4. Saba Kaido

I only had one handshake ticket. During one of Wasamin’s MCs she was talking how cold it was this weekend, and mentioned that she was wearing ‘Heat-tech’ underneath. So I told her that I was also wearing Uniqlo’s Heat-tech. She asked if i had on tops and bottoms, but I told her just bottoms. She then asked if I would be going out to Saitama for the late event, which I affirmed…

Now there was over 2 hours to kill between the first and second events, and Warabi, which is in Saitama, is only 10 minutes away. I decided to kill some time by going to the local Dotour for a cup of coffee. I sat in the coffee shop for around 30 minutes or so, before heading back to the station. However, it dawned on me that Wasamin usually doesn’t leave the shops until a little while later. I hope I don’t awkwardly run into her on the street. As I walked past the shop, there was no sign of Wasamin. Cool. So I headed back to the station. I would still be getting to Warabi fairly early. I would figure out what to do when I got there. I went down the stairs to the platform. Oh shit…..

There’s Wasamin, standing there with her manager and assistant, waiting to board the train.

I quickly motioned an apology (praying hands) and walked down to the other end of the platform. For good measure, when we got to Warabi, I took a seat on the platform for about five minutes or so, and waited for Wasamin to hopefully exit the station before heading out myself. That would be the fourth time I have run into Wasamin out in public. And I know she likes her private time, so I don’t want to disturb her like that. With nothing to do, and an hour to kill, I went into the Warabi Dotour and had another cup of coffee.

I headed to the shop, which I had also been to before during Hatsuzake preorder. It is a tiny shop, and I wondered how the heck they were going to hold a performance there, unless, like many other shops, they had some kind of private performance area in the attic or something. Wasamin’s assistant opened the door, and said “Chris-san come in!” As I was purchasing my CDs at the door, I explained to her why I was still in Higashi-Jujo, and apologized for running into them at the station. She laughed, and said it was all good. A Tokuma rep happened to be there, and wondering what we were talking about, so she related the story. Anyway, they jammed us into this tiny store. It was so tight that shortly before the event they asked us to scrunch over to the left when Wasamin came in, so she could get through, LOL.

Warabi Setlist
1. Mujineki
2. Gakusei Jidai
3. Niji wo Watatte
4. Saba Kaido

I had two tickets for this event. As I stood in line, a couple of fans asked me what I did between the two events, and I related the story about seeing Wasamin at the station. I also mentioned my cancel machi for AKB, and they all thougt that I probably wouldn’t win. Anyhow, Wasamin had talked about all of the cassettes in the store. So when it was my turn I told her that when I was a kid, that is how I listened to music. (I neglected to mention that I actually go as far back as vinyl and 8-tracks) It was at this point she asked if I would be coming to the Sunday events. When I said I wasn’t sure, she was like “Ehhh, why?” But I was being pushed away. I had another ticket though. So when I came back around, she again asked why I wasn’t sure about Sunday. I was like “Well, I have cancel machi for AKB…” She immediately yanked her hand back, folded her arms and gave me the pouting look, LOL. I was over a barrel, so I immediately blurted out that I would be coming to Koiwa. She started giggling, and said she was only kidding. Phew, I don’t want to get on Wasamin’s bad side. After that I quickly bailed back to Tokyo since I had dinner plans, and I wanted to pick up a postcard to apply for Wasamin’s New Year Enka appearance.

Apparently Ikeda Megumi, who is a presenter for TBS Radio, was at the event. I didn’t notice her. Perhaps she was backstage.


Ginza Yamano Music’s Christmas Tree 

I decided to not bring my Happi-coat on Sunday since I was going to be out all day, into the evening, and didn’t feel like carrying it around all day. I made it to Koiwa around 15 minutes before the event. In fact, all the fans were already inside the upstairs venue. Once again, around 30 people. This is actually the third time I have been to this place. Again, for Hatsuzake preorder, and for Saba Kaido release week..

Koiwa Setlist
1. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara
2. Tokyo no Bus Girl
3. Wakare no Yokan
4. Saba Kaido

During the MC, Wasamin again brought up all the people who weren’t wearing their Happi. Dammit! I was wearing it yesterday! Then she made a big deal out of who was going to the event in Akabane later on. Wasamin indirectly giving me crap via the MC? Anyhow, I only had one ticket to see her this time, and as I got to the front Wasamin again pointed out that I always do the hand motions on her songs. In fact, she said it as “We do it together,” and said she actually aims it at me sometimes. (I actually noticed that a couple of days ago, she was aiming at me when she pointed to the audience) told her that I went to Ginza and got a postcard for January, so she was happy about that. Normally these Enka shops don’t want you milling around after you are done with your tickets, so I took off. I had a lot of time to kill before the AKB show (Which I ended up winning, it is on the previous post) but I also had a couple of errands to run. Oh, and I do have the setlist for Akabane…

Akabane Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Toshishita no Otokonoko
3. Mugon-Zaka (the song she debuted at her challenge campaign this week)
4. Saba Kaido

I really like the Otokonoko song, so I am kind of sorry I missed it. Anyhow, Wasamin will be spending this week rehearsing for her ‘Love Live’ concert in Tokyo on Sunday. The following weekend she will be performing in Hiroshima and Fukuoka. The weekend after that will be her Lunch Cruise event, which I am really looking forward to. So still lots going on between now and when I jet over to Cali for Christmas. And one more bonus, Wasamin modeled one of the new goods available at Sunday’s show…

A soccer jersey? Awesome! I hope they have my size!

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48-Group 49th Single #Sukinanda Individual Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama. (2017/11/05)

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Back to Yokohama for the second half of the 48-groups big handshake weekend. This time I had a few more tickets than on Saturday, and I had a variety of different prizes I could potentially win. 1-shot videos, 2-shot selfies, autographed member recipe cards, and the autographed alternate CD jacket. The question was whether or not I would be lucky and win at least one of each prize. I also took pictures of a bunch of the member recipe cards. Let’s get right into the action…

SLOT 2

Tani Marika (Lane 53) I only had the one Slot 2 ticket, so I didn’t really need to get to the venue until after 11am. Tani didn’t have too big of a queue. I checked in, drew on the lottery, and won. Good start! It was a choice of 1-shot video, or 2-shot selfie. Since I suck at taking selfies, and Tani, is so funny, I chose the video…

Looks like I got a girlfriend, eh??? Yatta! In that case, I better grab some Tani gear ASAP! I asked Tani if she was still a Soft Bank Hawks fan, and she replied affirmatively by exclaiming yes and pumping her fist. So I gave her a quick “omedetou” before getting pushed out. In the meantime, I ran into Matto, as well as Naruse . I also ran into a Hong Kong fan who I believe I met once before, but I don’t remember his name. Oh, and I signed a birthday card for Marika (as well as Bibian) and her fans gave me some Tani tissues!

 

SLOT 3

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 55) I decided to queue up early of Zunchan’s lane since it has a tendency to get very long. I lined up around 20 minutes early, just as Aramaki Misaki was finishing up with her last fan. I didn’t win the selfie/video prize, which wasn’t too big of a surprise since she is a bit harder to win for. Anyway, a short time later Zunchan entered her booth. What the hell, she is 20 minutes early? She wasn’t there to start meeting the members, she was there to decorate her booth. Balloons, streamers, toys, stuffed animals. It is amazing watching her do all of this. And it takes her over 10-15 minutes to get it all done. In the meantime, everyone from the neighboring queues are also watching and laughing in amazement. Even Shoji Nagisa came in to see what she had done to her booth. That isn’t even all. She then has a bunch of handwritten signs that she asks the staff to strategically place all over the lane. It is absolutely amazing what she does, and you can see it all from halfway across the hall!

 

Needless to say when it came to my turn I told her I watched her put her booth together, and that it was amazing and totally cute. I then said that her bedroom at home is probably the same. LOL.  She basically laughed along with me. Later on I took my friend Nori over to see it, and he thought it was great. He said he had never seen anything like it before. I have seen members decorate their lanes before, but never to this level.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 62) After Yuka-chan stole my heart on Saturday, I was really looking forward to seeing her again on Sunday. Luckily, I won the 2-shot selfie. But was this really good news? I suck at taking selfies. So while I was waiting in the queue (she did have a bit of a line) I practiced taking selfies so I wouldn’t blow it. I got her in perfect position, I had a good grip on my phone, I extended my arm out as far as I could, cracked a half-smile, and…

 

Success! I finally took a proper selfie. In my quick visit I noted that the sweater she was wearing was just as cute as yesterday, and that she always wears very nice clothes. She quickly thanked me as I got pushed out. But I would be seeing her again to lead off the next slot…

SLOT 4

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 62) This time, surprisingly, I did not win for the 1-shot video. I wasn’t to disappointed though, since I already have three of those with her from recent events. I instead decided to congratulate her on the Hawks win. I noted that I was looking at her twiiter last night, and saw all of her Japan Series tweets, and that I saw she ate dinner with Meru. Anyhow, I hoped I would have better luck when I visited Yuka again in Slot 6.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 73) Keeping with the theme, I had already set up with Maichan that I would be rooting along with her for the Hawks on Saturday night. I didn’t win the alternative jacket prize, meanwhile Maichan had a decent sized queue. However, I guess nomany people were winning since her line went very fast. In any case, when it was my turn she already knew what we were going to talk about, and started pumping her fist and cheering before I even got into the booth. I congratulated her, and she gave me a big High-Five. Maichan is so much fun.

 

I had no Slot 5 tickets. So after visiting with my friend Nori for a little while, I bailed back to Queen’s Square for a late lunch and a cocktail.

SLOT 6

Sakaki Miyu [Cuca] (Lane 32) I had three tickets for Slot 6, and decided to get Cuca done first since she never has a line. However, when I got there, she DID have a small queue. So I decided to wait for it to clear out, but it didn’t. More people kept entering her lane. This is really good news. She is starting to cultivate more fans! Her lane was still “automatic win” for the prize, so I would be getting the autographed recipe.

So I decided to ask her about the recipe. I neglected to tell her that I do not like dishes with cooked tuna in them like that. Instead I asked her if it was an Okinawan recipe since a friend of mine thought it might be. She insisted that it wasn’t. She also sincerely thanked me for coming, and asked if I lived in Japan. Since this is like the 4th or 5th time I have met her, I think she is getting that I really do like her.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 62) One final visit with Yukachan, and I won her recipe card too! It seemed like most people were winning, since in my immediate vicinity everyone had won, save for one unlucky guy.

Her recipe was for a fried rice dish, so I asked her if it was Chinese inspired. She told me that it is actually her father’s recipe, something he makes at home. The guards were calling time, but Yukachan spent extra time on the autograph, even drawing a mikan at the bottom, as well as a special message. So a total score. I look forward to seeing her again at the HKT event in late-November.

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 58) Bibian had quite the queue, I was really surprised. It didn’t really matter, since it would be a while until I could use my final ticket. I didn’t win the 1-shot video, oh well. Bibian was completely decked out in Adidas gear, so I noted that when I entered the lane. And like with the other HKT members, I asked her if she was a Hawks fan. And then congratulated her on the Japan Series win. Short and sweet.

 

So we would have to wait until after the dinner break before Slot 7 started. This is why I usually try to be done after Slot 6. However, oftentimes some of my favorite members, like Tani, Kaotan, Bibian, and even Yukachan only have after dinner slots. In this case one member I like was only Slot 7-8, and since I didn’t even see her at all on Saturday, I would brave the wait.

SLOT 7

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 41) I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to enter Kaotan’s lane early, or wait a while. But her queue kept getting bigger, so I decided to get in there before it got out of hand. In any case, she likes to take her time with the fans. I didn’t win the “alternative CD jacket” prize, but you never know with Kaotan. In the meantime her lane was positioned right next to the Handicapped lane for SKE. So I had a really closeup view of all the members coming over to that lane. It is really interesting how that lane operates too. The first member who came over was Ego-chan, then Ryoha, Hidaka Yuzuki, Suuchan, Obamina, Kaotan, and finally Masanya when I was really close to the front. Masanya spotted me and waved hello too. It’s funny, every time I think I am seeing Masanya for the last time, I end up running into her again. Is it fate? Anyway…

I also noticed that Kaotan seemed to be signing jackets for everyone, regardless of whether or not they won. Cool! Except, when I was five away they switched guard staff, and the one new guard asked why she was signing jackets for people who lost. The exiting guard basically shrugged. So it would be interesting what would happen when it was my turn, since the three people in front of me all won. So it was finally my turn, as expected Kaotan reached for a jacket to sign, but the guard interjected and said “No, he didn’t win!” She was like “Oh, he didn’t? I’m sorry.” I just played dumb the entire time, although I was slightly bummed that I got cock-blocked by the new guard. In any case, I told her I was just happy to see her. I then asked her about her Banana Juice recipe, and if it was better than the Butterbeer she had at USJ a few days ago. She then asked if I was coming back for Slot 8, and maybe I would win the recipe card. But I told her the next time I would see her was at the SKE event at the end of the month. After saying our goodbyes, I was done for the evening.

———————————————————————————————–

Prizes

I ultimately went 4 for 9, which isn’t a bad percentage. I would have liked to have won at least one of those alternate jackets, and I would LOVE to get a selfie or a video of Zunchan. But oh well, maybe next time.

Recipe Bonus

Here are the recipe cards I took photos of on the wall at the far end of the hall. I mainly took pictures of members that I like, with a few others thrown in for friends. And of course, Tani’s infamous recipe for Cup Ramen…

So rounding out the year, I have the SKE and HKT handshake events on November 23rd, and that is basically it for me and the 48-groups until 2018 since I will be back in the U.S. for 2 1/2 weeks in December. That is unless I happen to win another show. And of course I also have a bunch of Wasamin stuff between now and mid-December. So it’s all good.

 

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events, HKT48, NMB48, SKE48 AKB48-Group 49th Single #Sukinanda Individual Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama. (2017/11/04)

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For me, this event was more of an hors d’oeuvre before tomorrow’s (Sunday) event since I originally planned on only going on Sunday. However, during the application period, I saw Team 8 perform in the theater and briefly took a liking to Takahashi Ayane. Saturday was the only day she was appearing, so I was compelled to buy a few tickets for this day. Now the irony is that I actually did an oshimashi handshake with Amane a couple of month ago, and…well, I wasn’t inspired to see her again. So ultimately I ended up doing an oshimashi with her ticket today. LOL

But it was still a worthwhile day, even with the few tickets I had. I had all my tickets stacked into Slots 2-4, which worked out perfectly since I had another event I wanted to attend in Akihabara later on in the day.

Of course this was another event where you could draw special prizes (2-shots, 1-shots, signed photos, etc.) Interestingly, of the six tickets I had, none of them offered any kind of recording or photo prize. They were all either for a signed photo, or a signed drawing the members all did.. Ultimately I won 2 of 6 (well, 2 of 5 since I blew off my Ayane ticket, and you can’t draw for prizes on oshimashi) Anyway, I arrived at Pacifico Yokohama toward the end of Slot 2, which was enough time to get my Slot 2 tickets done. AKB must have had at least 4 halls rented out for this event, as there were over 100 lanes, a stage area, some drawing exhibit, and all the other booths they have (info, Aikabu, etc.) Despite that, 5 of my 6 tickets were all located in the same corner of the hall.

Slot 2

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 73) Yuka-chan didn’t have much of a queue, which is usual for her at the end of the slot. I checked in and immediately won the signed photo. After waiting for 2 fans in front of me. Yuka-chan reached out with both hands and exclaimed “Chris-san!!!” She had on the cutest sweater, kind of 2-tone flesh color and dark green, it almost looked like a low cut blouse, but it wasn’t.

As she signed the card I told her how pretty her sweater was, and I asked if she had a fun birthday, and I saw some of the pictures online. She thanked me and asked if I had heard about their new album. I told her I want to get it, although it is quite expensive. She nodded in agreement, and then out of nowhere she said “Chris-san, I love you so much!” Wow!! I remember when Wasamin said something like that to me a few years back, and I almost got weak in the knees. Same here, Akiyoshi just made my heart flutter.

There was still 10 minutes left in the slot, and I wondered if there was someone available who I could use my “extra” ticket on. Originally I wanted to use it on Cuca, but her slot wasn’t until later in the day, after I panned to leave. I didn’t have a ticket for Zunchan today either, but these days her lanes don’t have the oshimashi “star.” As I walked through the HKT section I found Bibian, Rikopi, and Mio, all starred lanes, all short queues. Okay, this was it. Who would I pick???

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 57) So this is who I ultimately ended up using my Amane ticket for. I like Rikopi, she is usually a fun handshake, and I hadn’t seen her in a while. I could tell Rikopi wanted to say my name, but just couldn’t recall it in that moment. Instead she just started practicing her English with me. I did ask her about the upcoming HKT album, and told her I was excited about it.

SLOT 3

Tani Marika (Lane 54) Despite the fact that I promised Marika I would wear Tani-gear in the future, I failed to bring anything of her’s to wear. And frankly, it has been slim pickings at the goods booth for this single. I actually do have some Tani stuff in my storage unit in the U.S., but that doesn’t do me any good here. Anyway, I won the signed photo, so at least that would keep her occupied.

Oh, and she was wearing a “Chucky” (from Child’s Play) t-shirt. So I immediately got her talking about that as I pointed and said “Chucky!” I then told her that I saw her Halloween cosplay tweets. She asked if I thought they were cute. I took a chance and said they were “scary and cute,” and noted the white contacts she wore. At the end she again reminded me that I was supposed to be wearing Tani accoutrement. So I didn’t get off scot-free after all.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 62) Maichan had the only really long line I went to all day. I don’t seem to have good luck drawing Maichan’s prizes, and alas, I didn’t win. After around 20 minutes in the queue I finally got my turn. Now I know Maichan is a big Soft Bank Hawks fan. Actually, lately all of the HKT girls have been posting about the Hawks, but Maichan supports them all season. So I asked Mai if she was going to watch the game tonight. I didn’t totally get her response, but I think she said something to the effect that she wouldn’t have time. But she did say that she hoped that they win tonight. So I told her I would root for the Hawks too, and for that I got a High-Five. I told her I would see her tomorrow as the guard pushed me out.

SLOT 4

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 73) When I entered the queue shortly before the start of the slot, there was still a bit of a queue for Jitoe Nene, and one guy in particular who had a ton of tickets, so they ended up moving the rest of her queue into another lane. In the meantime, while we waited for Yuka-chan to come out I was watching Matsuoka Hana playing with her fans in the next lane. Eventually Yuka-chan came out. It was my goal to get this ticket, and my final ticket in this slot done as quickly as possible because I needed to hustle to Akihabara by the late afternoon. BTW, here is Yuka-chan in her pretty sweater I talked about before…

Surprisingly, I didn’t win the prize. But that’s okay since the cooler prize was the first one, which I did win. In any case, I decided to ask Yuka-chan if she is a Soft Bank Hawks fan too. She said yes, and then pointed out that I was wearing my HKT48-Hawks Baseball Jersey. (In fact, I got comments from a lot of people today around Tokyo assuming I was a Soft Bank Hawks fan, LOL) Like with Maichan, I told Yuka that I would root for the Hawks to win. After telling her I would be at the event tomorrow too, I hoofed it over to the far end of the hall for my last ticket…

Ichikawa Miori (Lane 5) Miorin had a fairly short queue. Since I lost the prize when I visited her last time, I really wanted to win this time. The fan in front of me had three tickets, so he pressed the button three times, and he won ALL THREE. SHIT, I just knew the next one would be a loser, and almost pulled my ticket and ID back, but it was already too late, they had marked my ticket. And of course, I didn’t win the prize, again. So I would have to come up with something to talk about with Miorin. Well, she was wearing this cute and fuzzy little hat. So after the usual pleasantries I commented that her hat was very cute. I also mentioned at first I thought the fuzzy stuff sticking out was her hair. She immediately, and almost defiantly said it wasn’t her hair. As I laughed, the guard, rather forcefully, pushed me out.

I immediately bailed back to Tokyo, and to my little event in Akihabara. Tomorrow I have a few more tickets. I again have tickets for Yukachan, Maichan, and Tani, plus tickets for Zunchan, Kaotan, Bibian, and Cuca. Not to mention many of the prizes I am trying for are video and 2-shots, so hopefully my luck will be a little better than today.

 

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki, Minyo Girls Iwasa Misaki Live at Hama-Matsuri in Hamamatsucho (with Hayabusa & Minyo Girls) 2017/11/03

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(By the way, I apologize in advance if this post gets a little Minyo-centric. They are a lot of fun, after all.)

This is the third time in the last couple of months that Wasamin has performed at a festival in or around Hamamatsucho. Last month she was at the Minato Citizen’s Festival, and just before she went to San Francisco, she performed at this exact location, also with Hayabusa and Minyo Girls. That particular event I missed because I was under the weather. But I was really excited about this event not only because I was seeing Wasamin, but it had been a while since I had seen Minyo Girls.

My original plan was to go see KissBee in Ikebukuro, and then head over to the Hamamatsucho festival afterward. However, I decided to nix the KissBee plans, and just go to see Wasamin. I got to Hamamatsucho around a half hour before the NagaraPro performance began, and as I got within a half block I could clearly hear Saba Kaido being played on the speakers. At that point I thought they were doing a sound check, until I heard Wasamin start to sing. WTF??? I was positive the posts said 4pm-5pm, and it wasn’t even 3:45 yet. As I turned the corner, lo and behold there was Wasamin up on stage. However, after one verse, she stopped. It turned out they were only doing a sound check. Phew!

As I walked past the giant Pikachu, I immediately saw the NagaraPro booth over on the left. It was easy to find since all of Minyo Girls were running around and playing grab-ass with one another. You know, basically acting their age. They had the booth divided into three sections, one for each group. I was interested in what Minyo Girls was selling. As I walked over the Minyo Girls were handing out flyers to everyone. Just then, one of the members came up to me and handed me a flyer. “Arigatou, Kako-chan!” I said, to her surprise. At which point Matsuri came over and said to Kaku “He’s been to our events before. Just then, Miyabi-chan came over and said “Hello CK-san!” Yua, who was standing next to Miyabi, was like “His name is CK?” At this point I told them both that they can call me Chris. A short time later they had to leave to do their sound check, so I finally had a chance to shop their booth. The first thing I noticed, that really got me excited, was that they were selling tickets to their Solo live at the end of the month, which according to the NagaraPro website is “Sold Out.” So I was able to score a ticket. And since I have multiple copies of every CD they have released, I decided to get the one item of theirs that I don’t have, a Minyo Girls light stick. For that I got two tickets, which I planned on using on Miyabi and Yua, so I was good to go. Anyway…


So now I have tickets to both of Wasamin’s events, and now Minyo Girls!

While Minyo Girls were doing their rehearsal, Hayabusa was passing out NagaraPro flyers around the venue as well. Its weird though, and perhaps it is beacause they know I am a Wasafan, but the guys from Hayabusa NEVER come to me. In fact, of all the times I have seen them, only one of them (Yamato), one time, has ever engaged me. But whatever. I also noticed that unlike the other two acts, Wasamin was not tasked with passing out flyers. Well, she IS the headliner, after all!

I forgot to mention that while I was making my purchases at the Minyo Girls booth, Ichikawa-san came over to say hello, and was sorta chuckling that I was buying Minyo stuff. I asked her if Wasamin was doing handshake or 2-shots. She said handshake only. Good! I bought two CDs, which turned out to be a great idea, which I will explain later.

Minyo Girls lead off the event, doing a mixture of their traditional songs, and their pop songs. Their set was a lot of fun, and you could tell the people at the event were getting into it. There was also a group of young girls (mid-20’s) who were totally cheering the group on. The other interesting thing I noticed was that Miki, the shamisen player, did not have her instrument plugged into anything. I will have to check it out next time, built is the first time I have noticed that. Their set went a little bit long. But once they ended I immediately headed back over to the booth, since I didn’t really need to watch Hayabusa, and I wanted to use my tickets before Wasamin started. I didn’t do a group cheki this time, instead opting for two individual chekis with Yua and Miyabi.


Miyabi (top) Yua (bottom) Yua actually took the picture of me and Miyabi.

Miyabi and Yua were playing with me the entire time. They kept coming over to me and trying to engage me, ti was totally cute. Even Miki came over to me at one point and thanked me for coming. Miyabi kept asking me about their DMM Yell thing that they do, but I don’t really know much about it, so I apologized to her. Though i did tell both of them that I got a ticket for their solo live. Interestingly, as I was doing my cheki with Yua, Wasamin’s set was starting. Just then one of their managers came running over, telling Yua to please hurry, and that I am probably in a hurry to see Wasamin, LOL. I told them it was okay, and ultimately I really only missed the first half of the first song. BTW, here is Wasamin’s setlist…

Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
3. Ringo no Uta
4. Saba Kaido

Ultimately, it was much like one of Wasamin’s usual events, although it was a much bigger crowd, and she was really engaging with people and the audience, as well as the people in the food booths. In fact I mentioned in my first handshake with her that her MCs were very interesting tonight. She asked if I understood what she was talking about. Yeah, more or less, I did. She also promoted her 3rd Concert DVD, as well as her upcoming 4th Concert in February. Once Wasamin’s set ended, everybody made a beeline over to the NagaraPro booth.

Minyo Girls were still doing cheki’s with the fans. Ya know, I think many of the adults around Minyo Girls are actually their parents. Hayabusa was doing their handshakes, and whatnot. But once Wasamin’s set ended, the line to buy goods became GIGANTIC!!! The line to actually visit Wasamin was really short, because everyone was caught in the big queue. I remarked to Wasamin how big the line was. She was like “Yeah, I noticed” I said I was lucky that I bought tickets before the event. “Good job, Chris-san!” I knew Wasamin had a long line of fans coming, so I gave her my best wishes and excused myself to go to dinner.

The next Wasamin event I will be attending is her November challenge campaign performance on the 15th. Then the following weekend she has a bunch of appearances scheduled out near where I live. So I will have to go to at least some of those events!

 

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Solo Dinner Show Live at Hotel Chinzanso, Tokyo (2017/10/27)

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Wasamin has developed quite the repertoire of special events to keep her fans constantly engaged.  Over and above all of the in-store mini-lives she does on a regular basis, her schedule is filled with fan club events, live concerts, and special excursions.  Her dinner shows are quickly proving to be one of the most special events.  Not only do the fans get to see an intimate live performance in a beautiful ballroom, the show also includes a very nice dinner, with dishes handpicked by Wasamin.  Not to mention most of the fans get dressed up for the occasion.

So when Wasamin announced that she would be doing her first “solo” dinner show in Tokyo, we weren’t at all surprised.  However, we were surprised at the choice of location, Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, which happens to be one of the nicest hotels in Tokyo.  One would figure this would be a fairly high-ticket affair, but at 15,000 yen, it was surprisingly inexpensive.  Anyway, it should be no surprise that I immediately reserved a ticket during Fan Club preorder.  But it should also be noted that this event was open to the public, so you didn’t need to have a fan-club membership to attend the event.

After a Japanese grammar exam in the morning, and watching NFL football while eating pizza for lunch at Rocco’s in Oji, (awesome pizza btw, and they show NFL, MLB, and NBA games) I headed home to rest and get ready for the evening.  I had originally misread the show info, and thought doors opened at 7pm, but luckily I realized it was slightly earlier, so I headed out early since the hotel isn’t very close to public transportation, and I wanted to account for the possibility of getting lost.  However, large hotels are normally not too hard to find, and after taking a nice walk in a beautiful neighborhood along the Kanda River, I found the back entrance to the hotel.

And what a gorgeous hotel it is!  The rear entrance isn’t even on a street, it is on a walking path in a park-like setting.  Once stepping through the rustic gate, there is an amazing onsen, surrounded by traditional Japanese structures, pagodas, and beautiful little lakes and streams.  Restaurants are tucked away into secluded and serene locations.  I was there at night, but I could tell that it is probably even more gorgeous during the day.  Eventually I wound my way through the paths, and up to the hotel’s 1st floor, which was where the ballroom was located.  However, most people were waiting on the main (3rd) floor of the hotel, so I hung out there while waiting for doors to open.

At 6:30 the doors opened, and we had 30 minutes of cocktails before dinner.  It was an open bar of beer, wine, whiskey, and non-alcoholic drinks.  Of course there was also a booth outside selling Wasamin’s CDs and DVDs.  It was then we found out that they would also be doing 2-shots if you bought a copy of her 3rd concert.  Awesome!  So many of us have been waiting for a chance to a do a 2-shot with her at one of these dinner shows.  So I immediately picked up another Blu-Ray before heading inside to my table.  In the meantime, the fan club had sent a Halloween themed flower stand for the event…

I was at table #9, which was pretty much dead center in the middle of the room.  The fan club was spread out pretty much all around the room.  Eventually dinner made its way into the room.  It was four courses, in addition to unlimited bread.  (They had onion bread!)  Here is what we had to eat…


The menu.  Japanese reading practice time


Salmon and Trout, medium rare w/ pureed potato and pickled vegetables


Panko Breaded Cutlassfish and sauteed shrimp over Risotto w/ Balsamic glaze.


Roasted sirloin with 16-grain rice and vegetables.


Caramel Mousse w/ Vanilla Ice Cream and fruit.

After dessert and coffee, the show was getting ready to start.  Actually, the show was supposed to begin at 8pm, but the dinner ran very late.  It was almost 8:45 when the show finally started.  But first Wasamin did a kage-ana where she was asking us how dinner was.  Also, it was announced the previous day that like at her concerts, there would be a camera-shooting portion of the show.  Here is the setlist…

Setlist

1. Hatsuzake
2. Tomonoura Bojou
3. Mujineki
MC: Wasamin talking about the official colors for her six singles.  Camera-shooting time starts

4. Toshishita no Otokonoko
5. Momen no Handkerchief
6. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka ver.)
MC: Camera shooting time ends.  Wasamin talks about the planning that went into the show.

7. Saba Kaido
8. Nora
MC: Wasamin leaves stage, recording plays of her asking us how we are enjoying the event.  (Unfortunately, she didn’t always leave enough time after her questions for our responses, LOL)  Wasamin changes costume, her guitar is setup on stage.
9. Misaki Meguri
10. Ito
MC:  Final songs, “Ehhhhhhh????”
11. Wakare no Yokan
12. Gomen, ne Tokyo
(Main show end)
Encore:  Another feature of the event, it was announced that there would be a drawing at the show where Wasamin would sign any memorabilia you wanted.  Ultimately they drew three people, two at table#8 and one at table #2.  One person got his Happi Coat signed, the second got his Wasamin phone case signed, and the last person had her sign his copy of Saba Kaido.
13. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara

Show End


You can see me in both pics, although I am easier to find in the top photo

Wasamin always gets a kick out her fans when they get a bit of booze in them, as she makes comments about how genki we are at night.  She also thanked everyone for coming out on a Friday night after a long week of work, noting that this was “Premium Friday” which got a jeering laugh from the crowd.  One interesting moment, Wasamin briefly lost her voice in the middle of Saba Kaido.  She went to sing a line, and it came out all wrong.  She had to quickly clear her throat, but she finished the song just fine.  She quickly grabbed a couple sips of water before starting to sing Nora.

The audience shooting was a lot of fun.  There were 14 tables, so she had plenty of time to do complete circles around every single one, stopping for lots of closeups.  I got a lot of nice shots, including some where she was literally inches away from me.  At one point during Momen no Handkerchief she noticed that one of the fans had left his lens cap on his camera.  She actually stopped, pulled it off, and started making fun of him in mid-song.  It was too funny!

Here is a collection of shots I took during the show…

 

 

 

We were all hoping we would win the lucky drawing to get stuff signed, so it was kind of a bummer she only chose three people.  I keep hoping that one day I will get the opportunity to get my Happi Coat signed.  Anyway, the show ended, and we all dispersed into the reception area to line up for 2-shots and handshakes.  However, the event had run extremely late, and Wasamin needed to get to Osaka the next morning since she has events all weekend in Western Japan.  So they asked us to present all of our tickets at once instead of looping the line.  I actually waiting a little while before lining up, since the line was actually extremely big.  My turn eventually came…

I basically told her that the show and dinner were wonderful, and I love when she performs Misaki Meguri, since it is such a beautiful song.  In fact, I would go as far as saying that her version is even more beautiful than the original.  By the way, they feature her performance of Misaki Meguri over the Documentary feature on her new concert DVD, so be sure and check it out!

At around 10:15pm we had all exhausted our tickets, and Wasamin gave us all a farewell before she left.  In the meantime Wasamin’s management asked us to all take a group shot.  Actually, we took around 8 group shots for various people’s cameras.  Oh, and before we left Ichikawa-san asked us to mention the hotel when we tweet pictures and reports from the event.  And with that, the event was over.  My friend Phil and I left through the rear entrance, which was actually closed.  But one of the attendants in a Yukata actually let us out through an exit in the onsen, which was really nice since we didn’t want to walk all the way back to the hotel.  I was able to make the second to last train on the Toden Arakawa Line, which made my journey home a lot shorter than trying to take the Metro or JR.


Once again, the “Rat Pack”

I can’t stress enough how wonderful this event was.  Just everything about it was perfect.  Wasamin looked beautiful, the venue and food were beautiful.  It was a really special event.  And the good news is that Wasamin’s manager blogged later that the event was a big success, and they think the next time she does a dinner show they might choose this hotel again, since it was so amazing.  Speaking of amazing, we have two special events coming up in the next six weeks.  First, Wasamin’s Love-Live acoustic show will be taking place in late-November.  According to the website, both shows are already sold out.  Then in early December there is a fan-club exclusive boat excursion which looks like a lot of fun!  According to Wasamin, that event is almost sold out too.  So lots of fun for Wasafans heading into the holiday season!

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Live at Ginza Enka Matsuri (2017/10/24) PLUS 3rd Concert DVD Release Promotions

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Wasamin was incited for the sixth year in a row to appear at Yamano Music’s Enka Festival. If you have ever been to the Yamano Music Store in Ginza, it is an amazing place. The first couple of floors sell CDs, mainly focusing on theJazz, Enka, and Classical genres. They do have an idol section too. However, once you get past the 2nd floor it is a true music store, with each floor dedicated to different instruments. It’s a really cool place…

So, they invite various enka artists to appear individually at this festival, and each one performs at a designated time at the ‘Jam Spot’, which is the top floor of the store. The tickets to the shows are free, however you must apply by mail, and you must purchase one of the performing artists’ CDs to get the postcards to apply with. You get five postcards per purchase, so technically if you want to you can apply for up to five different performers. For me, however, I put all five of mine in for Wasamin in order to maximize my chances to win. So you can imagine the surprise on my face this time when THREE tickets arrived in the mail. Jeez, I only needed one.

I got to Yamano Music a little early, just in case somebody needed an extra ticket. However, I was not the only one with extras. I eventually went and queued up in the stairwell. Oddly enough, with my three tickets, none of them were a good entry draw. (My lowest was #95) There was hardly anyone this far down the stairs. One of the other fan club members noticed me down there, and came down to hand me a much better ticket. (She had three as well, and they were ALL below #40) So I got to move up three flights. Not that it mattered. First of all, JAM SPOT is a really small room. With #39 I was in the 3rd row, left side. However, after everyone came in there were still seats in the 7th row, and beyond the 10th row there were plenty of seats. The difference between the 3rd and 10th row is less that 20 feet.

I should also note that this happened to be “Furage Day” for Wasamin’s new concert DVD/BluRay, so we were all getting our hands on it for the first time. And, we would be getting to do shamekai with the purchase as well. Ultimately, Wasamin’s Enka Matsure performance isn’t that much different from her usual mini-lives, except she does a few more songs. BTW, here is the setlist for Enka Matsuri…

1. Hatsuzake
2. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
3. Shitamachi to Taiyou
4. Yume Shibai
5. Kita no Hotaru
6. Nora
7. Saba Kaido 

Since I currently only have a DVD player in my apartment, and I wanted to watch the concert when I got home, I purchased a DVD. I do have one of each type coming in the mail from pre-order events, and I will be buying more copies later on this week as well. Also, I have been feeling slightly under the weather for the past few days. So when it was my turn to talk to Wasamin a basically said that I planned to watch the concert tonight. (Although I screwed up and originally said I was going to watch it “next,” then I corrected myself. LOL I did go home and watch the concert. I will do a mini-review of the DVD at the bottom of this post…

Release Event at Tower Records Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture (2017/10/25)

I was debating whether to go to this event in Kanagawa, or tomorrow’s event in Saitama. I wouldn’t mind going to both, but there’s the matter of purchasing an expensive concert DVD every time. Not to mention Wasamin’s Dinner Show is on Friday, and if they go Shamekai for purchasing the DVD there I definitely want to participate. In the last week I bought tickets for both of Wasamin’s concerts in February, her Boat Event in December, AKB’s 50th single, and Kiss Bee’s new single preorders. My wallet has been taking a beating. At the end of the day I decided to go to Kanagawa.

I had never been to this Tower Records before, and got lost trying to find it. It is on a big shopping street very close to JR Kawasaki Station, but the confusing thing is that there is a building with a big Tower Records sign on it, but that isn’t where the store is. It took me a good ten minutes to figure that out as I circled the building looking for an entrance. Finally I figured it must be somewhere else on the street. By the time I found the shop Wasamin had just taken the stage. Here is tonight’s setlist…

1. Hatsuzake
2. Ohisashiburi, ne
3. Ringo no Uta
4. Saba Kaido

This particular Tower Records, as well as the Urawa Store she is performing at tomorrow, doesn’t really have a proper staging area. They basically push a bunch of shelves to the side and make a stage area. However, it is not a very big area, and gets filled up quite quickly. By the time I got there, I could barely get in past the entryway. There was space in the middle, but it was all blocked by people jamming the entries. Eventually I got annoyed with more and more people jamming into this little space, and moved behind the shelves. It was a bit further away, but it was more comfortable.

This time I bought a Blu-Ray copy. (My Blu-Ray pre-order from Odawara arrived in the mail too) While I was posing with Wasamin I mentioned that I paid for my Boat Event ticket today. And while I was doing my handshake I told both she and Ishikawa-san that I watched the show, and gave them my thoughts. It was late, and I hadn’t eaten, so I took off to find dinner, but not before I noticed that the mall has a replica of Rome’s famous Bocca della Verita outside the store. (The mall does have an Italian theme)

DVD Review

As for the Concert DVD, it is only one of the three concerts she performed that weekend, the last one. However, there is a “digest” of the other two shows on the DVD extras. Why they chose the third one? Not sure, but if you read my original review of the concert back in the Summer, I mentioned that there was an issue with the camera positioning on the first night, and they had to re-position all of the cameras at the last second, even causing the show to start late. So I am guessing that the first show’s filming wasn’t that good. But the good news is that we at least get highlights on all the sings she performed that weekend. As for the filming, much of the concert is ‘extreme closeup’ on Wasamin. Now, if you are like me, and are a fan of Wasamin’s adorable face, that isn’t an issue.  In fact, I was for the third concert I was sitting right next to the cameraman who was filming that shot, and even had a closeup view of his monitors with all of the camera angles.  So that was a fun little bonus for me.  On the flip side, there were a couple of times where the color seem to drain out of the shot, mainly on longer shots from the side. But overall it is a nice concert, and I recommend it for YOUR collection!

There is also a segment where we get to see the preparation that goes into putting these shows on. Wasamin basically performs the concert in a little room in front of a bunch of execs while they decide which songs to perform and when. Additionally, we see backstage footage, and get Wasamin’s thoughts throughout the process.  Much of the backstage documentary-style footage was done with Wasamin’s performance of the song Misaki Meguri as the background soundtrack.  It is such a beautiful song, and adds a bit of nostalgia to the theme.

But the best part, and I had a feeling they were going to do this, is that they have a digest of all the Ichigo Seat festivities. So you get to see a bit of the first night post-show party. You also see the bit of the matinee pre-show events, and of course the special encore at the end of the last show. And yes, I am on the DVD plenty. Both in the concert, and in the extra footage.

Anyway next up is Friday’s Dinner Show. I will be sure and take good pics of each course on the menu. This is a really nice hotel, and I am really looking forward to see what our dinner is going to be.

 

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events, HKT48, New Release, NMB48, SKE48 AKB48-Group 49th Single #Sukinanda Individual Handshake Event @Makuhari Messe. 2017/10/15

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This was the first Tokyo weekend for AKB48’s 49th single handshake events. Since I usually don’t attend both days of a 2 consecutive day event, I chose Sunday, hoping that if Wasamin held an event this weekend, it would be on Saturday. Luckily I was invited to go on a very cool excursion to Kamakura on Saturday, where I got to spend the evening in a famous Japanese Minka and participate in a traditional tea ceremony. So it all worked out…kinda. Wasamin did end up scheduling an event on Sunday. Oh well, can’t win em’ all. I had a lot of tickets for Sunday, so I wasn’t going to bail on this event. Not to mention, Wasamin’s event was for a concert DVD preorder, so one less copy of the DVD/Blu-Ray I have to buy. LOL.

Today’s event was filled with thrills and unexpected surprises, beginning with first thing this morning. I was lounging around my apartment, waiting to get ready to leave, when I decided to check the AKB48 Blog to see what halls the event was in. And since I was checking the site, I might as well see which lanes I will be visiting. This is when I noticed that there was a change in the schedule, and one of the members I had Slot 6 tickets for had been switched to Slot 1. SHIT! I never got an email about this, and I don’t read every single 48-group blog post. I rushed to get ready, and out of the house as fast as I could. It was still early enough that I could make it to Slot 1 if I hurried. I arrived at Kaihimmakuhari Station 28 minutes before the lanes would close. 10 minutes later I was getting my tickets stamped. There was no line, so that went quickly. I was all good. Still had 12 minutes to go, I was even able to loop the line…

SLOT ONE

Sakaki Miyu <CUCA> (Lane 13) So I made it in time for my two CUCA tickets, and per usual she didn’t really have a line. Although the good news was her line was a bit busier than last single. The 49th single has various prizes you can win for each lane and slot. For Cuca the prize was a choice of 2-shot Selfie, or 1-shot video. She was also an “automatic win” lane, which was no surprise. I opted to do one of each. Unfortunately, I was so unraveled from rushing around I screwed up both the selfie and the video. I’m just really bad at taking selfies, and my phone was not registering my slightly sweaty finger. In both cases I asked the lane staff if I could do it over, but they were dicks and said no. Oh well. Here are the remnants of my pics…

There is actually more to that pic, but I look so stupid in it, so I mercifully cut myself out. Oh, and I’m so bummed that I cut off the part of the video where she said my name! Anyway, CUCA was a sweetheart as usual. I did quickly ask her if she was having fun being in STU, and of course she said yes. I would love to see her get more popular, but alas, she seems as if she is destined to be an STU Theater girl. That is, if they ever do get a theater.

SLOT TWO

Between slots I ran into Matto outside the NMB lanes. We briefly chatted about our game plans for the day before we headed to our respective lanes.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 41) I was really excited to see Yuka, since it had probably been at least 2-3 months since I last visited her. She even gave me an ‘osashiburi’ when I came in, which I felt really bad about. By the way, she was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood…

 

The prize for this slot was an autographed photo, which I didn’t win, so I just got a handshake. After we established that she was LRRH, I told her I was the ‘Big Bad Wolf’. Hurr hurr hurr, bad joke, I know. But since this is Japan, I doubt she had heard that too many times. I would have another chance to talk to her later.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 36) I had already seen that Maichan was wearing some sorta gothic nun outfit, which was damn hawt. Her line was pretty short, and whadd’ya know, I won the prize, which was the 2-shot/1-shot choice. Once again, i am really bad at selfies, so I chose the video…

Just a quick handshake and hello, and I told her I would see her later, although that turned out to be a lie.  But it wasn’t entirely my fault. I had over an hour until Slot 3, so I decided to head upstairs and get some lunch.

SLOT THREE

As I was trying to decide which lane to queue up for first, I ran into my friend Wayne, who is a fan from Hong Kong. I was glad to see Wayne made it back to Tokyo, since earlier this year he lost all of his IDs and missed a whole bunch of events while he waited to get new ones. Wayne recommended doing any lanes with Halloween Cards last, since they seem to take the longest. I took his advice and went to meet a member I have not seen in a VERY LONG time…

Ichikawa Miori (Lane 20) I was trying to remember the last time I met with Miorin, and I am pretty sure it was around the time OKL48 came out, since I remember her wearing that outfit at the event. So five years ago, right? Jeez! I wasn’t sure if she would remember me, since I used to see her quite a bit. I didn’t win the prize, which again was the 2-shot/1-shot choice. I would have to come up with something to talk about. Oh, Miorin was dressed as a cat…

 

Suffice it to say, there were many “nyan nyan”‘s being said by the both of us. Since I hadn’t seen her in a while, I mentioned that I think she looks really cute with short hair, to which she gave me a thankful “nyan” We will see if I can re-establish a bit of a connection with her, since I do have tickets for her in November, and I think I won tickets for Miorin for the 50th single too.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 85 72) When I was deciding on which lane to enter, they announced that Zunchan would be moved to a different lane due to the huge line to see Goto Moe. I didn’t know Moe was that popular, but her line was indeed huge when I went over there. In the meantime, Zunchan’s line was pretty huge too. I had lots of time though, so I entered the queue to sign in. The problem was that the line was barely moving. Like my friend said, this was a Halloween Card slot, and the cards were not too difficult to win, so Zunchan was spending a long time with each person. However, that wasn’t too big a problem, for a very interesting reason. You see, Zunchan was in the lane right next to Sato Kaho

First of all, Sato Kaho is soooo cute. I was watching her interact with her fans. She is great! Awesome smile, great energy. And then there was her outfit. She was wearing this cute top, but it was kinda loose. And every time she leaned forward to sign the cards, she was giving pretty much everyone a ‘show’ (if you know what I mean) I’m sure she had something on underneath, I wasn’t close enough to tell. But it was enough to give nosebleeds to pretty much every guy in her queue. I need to get a ticket for her ASAP! But back to Zunchan…

 

The moment Zunchan saw me she exclaimed “KITA!!!” I have seen her so many times at the theater, so it was nice to get to talk to her for a minute. Zunchan was also tasked with explaining to me how the ‘Halloween Trump’ game was played, since I had never played it before. I wasn’t getting it at first, but after her third try, it finally clicked. LOL. And I WON! I apologized to Zunchan and the guard for my denseness, but they were both cool about it. I told her I would see her later.

As I left I noticed Zunchan’s queue was still really big, and the Slot was almost over. This would become a big issue later…

SLOT FOUR

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 41) I queued up for Yukachan a little early, and ended up being 5th in line. Since this was a Halloween Card slot, this was a good tactic. I won the card too, so I would have a little more time to talk with her while she signed it…


And if you are wondering what the back of the card looks like

I told her I had been reading her Twitter, and that her interactions with Sasshi are great! I also mentioned that some of my friends who like Sasshi are also now reading her Twitter. It was good to briefly catch up with Yukachan, and she also drew a cute little Onigiri-chan on the card.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 85) Zunchan was back in her original lane, which was on the right side of the hall.  This side of the venue was mainly AKB, NGT, and the Special Stages. I went to queue up, except her sign was down. Had she fallen ill? Then I noticed that she was in her booth, and she had a huge queue. It turned out she was still finishing her Slot 3 tickets. Uh oh, this could be a problem. Depending on how late they open this lane for Slot 4, it could really mess with my Slot 5 tickets. I hung around close to the entrance for over 30 minutes, waiting for my chance to jump in since there didn’t seem to be any organized queue. Eventually they opened the gate, and people jammed in from every direction. I made it in around 25th, which wasn’t too bad. With around 15 minutes left in Slot 4, she finally finished Slot 3. She promised she would take a super short break, and ran off. Oh, and she was dressed as a little devil, with all sorts of Halloween decorations and messages all over her booth.

 

True to her word, she was back in less than five minutes. This was a signed photo slot, which I didn’t win, but it promised to be relatively faster. Around 15 minutes into Slot 5, I finally got my turn. Again, she greeted me with “KITA” So I mentioned that I have seen four Kenkyuusei Stages in the past few months. She replied. “Yes, you have come to many!” I even got front row last time! I told her that I love watching the 16th gen, and I enjoy cheering for her. She thanked me, in English, and I was off. I rushed back over to the other side of the hall to hopefully use my Slot 5 tickets, briefly stopping to say hello to my friend Panda, who was also lamenting about the long queues and the amount of tickets he wasn’t getting to use…

SLOT FIVE

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 47) Initially I figured I would be in Kaotan’s lane last, but her line wasn’t too long, and the lane for my other ticket (Maichan again) was HUGE. So I went with Kaotan first. While in the queue, I changed out of my Akiyoshi accoutrement, and into my Kaotan gear. Although her line was short, it was extremely slow since Kaotan ALWAYS takes her sweet time with her fans. Not to mention this was another Halloween Card lane. Eventually it was my turn. Kaotan turned over a Queen. Of course I guessed lower, and she turned over a King. Jeez! Even Kaotan was pissed. Pissed enough to say “Screw it, I’m signing the card for you anyway!!!”

 

I had noticed that while I was in line there were a lot of children in Kaotan’s queue. I had never seen so many kids in a member queue before. Although to be honest, I am rarely in the most popular member lanes. So I had commented to her that she must be really popular with children. At first she was slightly confused by what I was getting at, but I thought I had said it in clear Japanese. So she got it. She was like, OH, you mean all the kids that were here. I had another ticket for Kaotan in the next slot, so I would be right back.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 36) I went back over to Maichan’s lane, and it was even bigger than before. Now this could be a major issue. There was only like 35 minutes until the beginning of Slot 6, and if this lane goes long it could screw up my tickets for that slot. I mentioned to the guy standing next to me that the line was so much longer than earlier, and he told me that her Slot 4 (With the Halloween cards of course) ran really long, and Slot 5 was just starting, which is why the queue was so big. In the meantime, he must have been from her Seitensei committee since he gave me this…

 

So I weighed my options. Of the three tickets I had left, which do I want to use the most. I had a Tani ticket, who I hadn’t seen yet. I also had my second Kaotan ticket. I had already won the video with Maichan earlier, plus I get tickets for her at every event. So I decided to blow this ticket off for now, and instead use it later as an oshi-mashi. Sorry Maichan. :(

SLOT SIX

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 47) They hadn’t opened Kaotan’s queue yet, so I decided to hang around and hopefully be one of the first in line. In the meantime, I struck up a conversation with another Kaotan fan, who was really cool. He was asking me all sorts of questions about how I came to be a a Kaotan fan. I told him my infamous story from five years ago when she, Mikitty, and Makiko all ganged up on me one day, and as a result I instantly became a fan of she and Mikitty. He also kept grilling me on who I liked more between Kaotan and Yukachan, but I kept insisting it was a tie. And in any case, my OSHIMEN is Wasamin. Eventually the gate opened, and I was second in, but the guy in front of me changed his mind, so I ended up being first. Oh, and I won the prize, a signed photo. Kaotan finally finished her Slot 5 people, and went to take a break. While waiting I checked Tani’s lane, which was a few rows down. It wasn’t too long, so I wouldn’t have a problem using my tickets. Kaotan took her sweet time, so my new Kaotan-buddy and I were just commenting the members in nearby lanes, including Suda Akari, who came walking by. Kaotan finally made it back. Kaotan was excited to see that I won the photo, and started to sign it. Just then…

Jurina comes walking by behind Kaotan. She sees me, and stops dead in her tracks. With this huge smile on her face, she begins mouthing “Hello”, just totally flirting. Meanwhile Kaotan was totally oblivious, even though at one point I think I said “Oh, Jurina” She didn’t notice. Kaotan kept asking me questions, but I was half listening. Jurina has to be one of the biggest, and most shameless fishers I have ever encountered in the 48-groups, LOL

 

I eventually asked her about the T-shirt she recently tweeted about. One of her fans had one on. It has baby pictures of her, Dasu, and Goto Risako. The baby picture of Kaotan is really cute too, and you can totally tell its her. As usual, she asked me when she would see me again. I told her November, so she was good to go.

Tani Marika (Lane 44) Finally, a chance to see Tani, and I really wanted to win the 1-shot video. Lo and behold, I did. COOL! I entered the booth, and the first thing Marika notices is the Kaotan gear that I ‘forgot’ to take off. Oops. I had a funny feeling that she might play this into the video, but she played it fairly straight. Well…fairly straight for Tani…

Of course once the video was over, she was back to her jealous rage about me wearing Kaotan gear. I tried to tell her that I love her too, but she wasn’t buying it, basically calling Bullshit on me and telling me that I should be wearing Tani gear next time. I can make that happen, although I generally don’t like being “that guy.” You know, the guy that changes his outfit every time he goes to a different lane. But I can make an exception for Marika, since I know she wants me to.

So now there was this matter of what I would do with my Fuchigami Mai ticket. There weren’t very many “starred” lanes. although Tani and Kaotan were both available. I already felt ‘complete for the day’ with Kaori-chan, although I could go another round with Marika to try to convince her of my love for her. But I would first check to see if any other member caught my eye. I scanned the lanes as I headed back to the other side of the venue. Miichan had a very short queue, but I didn’t really have anything to say to her. Same with Myao, Chiichan, Mogi, and Shinozaki. Then there was Chori, who I do like visiting, although her line was pretty long. I was about to go to that lane, but then I found it. The member I wanted to talk to. I met her for the first time earlier this year, but she was really nice, and I wanted to see her again…

Oomori Miyuu (Lane 100) I met Miyupon for the first time at a National Handshake event this past Summer. She ended up being one of my top handshakes of the day. She was really genki, and fun. So yeah, she was perfect. She did have a semi-long line, but it wasn’t too bad. So i decided to go for it. I wasn’t in line for more than a couple minutes when her Setensei committee gave me a gift.

 

Perfect, it was really hot in this corner of the venue, so I immediately made very good use of the uchiwa. Eventually it was my turn. I wasn’t expecting it, but it seemed like Miyupon did remember me from before right off the bat. As I related the story about meeting her over the Summer, she got this look of satisfaction on her face, and thanked me in English as I was being pushed out. She tossed in an “I LOVE YOU” at the very end too for good measure. I could also hear her talking with the next fan about me as I was gathering my bag. LOL. Here is what she was dressed in. I fished this pic off of twitter.

 

And with that, I called it a day. And if we want to tally the scorecard, I won 8 of the 12 prizes. Well, 7 if you count that I actually did lose the first time with Kaotan, she just vetoed the loss. And technically, I never got a chance to draw for the second Maichan ticket. Interestingly, I had the worst luck with the signed photos, as they accounted for 3 of my 4 non-wins.

1-shot/2-shot: 4 of 5
Halloween card: 3 of 3
Signed Pic: 1 of 4

It had been a while since I had done a marathon handshake event like that, and my feet were really sore. I couldn’t wait to get home a take a good soak. I do have tickets for both of the early November events. Pretty much all of the same members as today, plus a Bibian ticket. I also have a ticket for Takahashi Ayane from Team 8, but I may oshi-mashi that one as I am not as big of fan of her as I thought I might be at the time I bought it. We’ll see.

 

CK in Tokyo

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