Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Live at the Minato Citizen’s Festival, Hamamatsucho (2017/10/08)

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I was debating whether or not to go to this event. On one hand, I like to go to as many Wasamin events as possible. However, I need to pace myself, especially when it comes to these DVD Pre-order events. It’s fun to take shamekai with Wasamin, but it isn’t cheap. There was also an idol event in Makuhari very close to the Sunday AKB concerts, which featured KissBee, FESTIVE, and Disdol. Three groups I am into seeing these days. Ultimately I decided to stick to my Kami-oshi. And I could go get pizza and beer afterward at Devilcraft too!

Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
3. Ringo no Uta
4. Tokyo no Bus Girl
5. Heavy Rotation (Enka ver.)
6. Saba Kaido

It was a festival crowd, which meant the were a lot of people there to watch the entertainment. Foreigners too. I always like to observe the foreigners watching Wasamin perform, seeing their reaction and such. Also, this was like an extended mini-live, with six songs instead of the usual four. I think they did that to fill a complete 30-minute time slot. And since it was a festival, that meant there were lots of people attempting to take photographs, so security was racing around the area to stop them.

The nice thing is that you don’t necessarily have to pre-order a concert DVD to meet with Wasamin, since they are still promoting her 6th single, Saba Kaido. So I ultimately decided to go on the cheap, and went with two singles (and two handshake tickets) I told Wasamin how much I like Japanese festivals, and she asked me if I had any festival food yet. That was the odd thing, the food was kinda hard to find. Most of the booths involved community services and children’s activities. So I told her not yet, and she was laughing at me as I struggled to get out the “not yet” grammar. I mean I know the grammar rule, but it is sometimes difficult for me to access it “on the fly.” After waiting a while, I went in for my second ticket, and I asked if she had ever heard of Devilcraft, which is an American Pizza parlor and microbrewery in Hamamatsucho. They also have a location near the Tokuma offices in Gotanda. She said she hadn’t heard of it but wanted to try it.

In the meantime, the act after Wasamin was a Hawaiian dance troupe, so it was nice to have that music as the backdrop of the Wasamin handshake event.

 

I am not able to attend Wasamin’s next couple of mini-live events, but I did win ticket(s) to her appearance at the Yamano Music Enka Festival. In fact, I won three tickets, which was kind of odd. Anyway, if anybody wants to go…

They also announced Wasamin’s appearance schedule for the concert DVD release, so her upcoming schedule for the rest of October is as follows…

10/15 Ageo Shosen Plaza (Saitama Pref.)
10/17 Tokyo International Exchange Center (Wasamin will be police commissioner for the day, plus a mini-live)
10/19 Rainbow Bridge Concert Fundraiser at NHK Hall
10/22 Saba Festival, Fukui Prefecture
10/24 Yamano Music Enka Festival, Ginza
10/25 Tower Records, Kawasaki (Kanagawa Pref.)
10/26 Tower Records, Urawa (Saitama Prefecture)
10/27 Wasamin Solo Dinner Show at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
10/28 Aeon Mall Shin-Ibaraki, Osaka
10/31 Monthly Challenge Campaign, Kashiwa (Chiba Pref.)

 

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Wasamin Fall Events…Promoting Her Upcoming Concert DVD/Bluray

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Okay, it is time for a much needed Wasa-update. Wasamin is busy promoting her upcoming DVD/Bluray release of her 3rd Concert at Yomiuri Otemachi Hall this past July. By the way, the tracklist has been published, and the DVD will show the third performance, with highlights from the other two performances as bonus material.


small image of the dvd box

Last week she appeared in Saitama Prefecture at Ito-Yokado Nishikicho, and yesterday she was at Odawara Dynacity in outer Kanagawa Prefecture.. Both memorable locations in Wasa-history…

Setlists: Nishikicho (2017/09/30)

12pm
1. Hatsuzake
2. Blue Light Yokohama
3. Gakusei Jidai
4. Saba Kaido

3:30pm
1. Mujineki
2. Ringo no Uta
3. Shitamachi no Taiyou
4. Saba Kaido

I mentioned these are memorable locations in Wasamin history, both for similar reasons. Ito-Yokado Nishikicho was the location of the final day of her first album (Request Covers) promotional tour. It was hosted by Jumbo Kobayashi, who was such a funny MC. He loved poking fun at the fans, but at the end of the day he enjoyed hanging out and talking with us. Anyway, since this is a DVD release event, that means reserving a copy gets you a shamekai. They are also offering handshake tickets for buying the new version of Saba Kaido as well.

I decided to go with a goofy pose for a change, and Wasamin LOVED it! She was laughing so hard at this photo when I showed it to her later. (And then she dropped my phone :rolleyes: ) By the way, the other great thing about Wasamin doing mall events is that I can get a lot of shopping done between shows, as well as get a haircut.

Setlists: DynaCity (2017/10/07)

1:30pm
1. Hatsuzake
2. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
3. Toki no Nagare ni Miwo Makase
4. Saba Kaido

4pm
1. Mujineki
2. Blue Light Yokohama
3. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka ver.)
4. Saba Kaido

Wasamin has performed at Dynacity a few times. However, the last time she appeared here was for the Gomen ne, Tokyo tour final. She did three performances that day, and the Wasafans bought out every single copy of CD from the local Shinseido, which was promoting the event. This ultimately caused the event to go past the closing of the mall, which did not make mall security happy, AT ALL!

Wasamin and I pretending to be dinosaurs, in honor of Dynacity. Actually, I think the name of the mall is more a play on the term “Dynasty,” which I explained to Wasamin. Unfortunately, I really couldn’t explain to her what Dynasty means in Japanese. TBH, I have a hard time explaining it in English too. Fortunately Kentaro was there, who is bi-lingual, and he said he would explain it to her. Also, I brought a special guest to this event. My buddy Wil wanted to see the performance, since he was fresh off of seeing her at San Francisco. Both Wasamin and her manager were very happy to see that he made the trip.

Misaki has an appearance today near Tokyo Tower, which I am still debating whether or not to attend. I was thinking of skipping it, but I have to miss her pre-order event next weekend, so I’m not sure…

CK in Tokyo

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Events, KissBee, New Release The Kiss Bee 6th Single Promotion Tour Summary…Better Late Than Never

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I apologize for being so late with this post, as these events occurred almost a month ago.

 

As I mentioned on an earlier post, Kiss Bee embarked on a very long, and aggressive promotional tour to sell their latest single, Dokkin Fuwaffuu.  The single comes in four different main types, and then a fifth special edition.  The single also contains a c/w which is probably my favorite song in their entire catalog, Maho Nanka Yori Fantasy.

Once again, here is the official video of the 6th single…

Needless to say, I have become a huge fan of Kiss Bee as of late, and have been seeing them as often as I can.  And with this promotion, there were tons of opportunities to see them at many free lives.  Additionally, they were offering prize drawings if you came to a certain amount of appearances during the promotion, and if you bought enough CDs.  The CD purchase requirement was ridiculously high.  I did have a CD buying card, which ended up being a souvenir.  However, I did attend enough events to be in the drawing for some pretty big prizes, like going shopping with a member, dinner with a member, special personalized audio cds, videos.  Ultimately I didn’t win any of the prizes, which were announced via a drawing on Twitter.

BTW, I mentioned the 5th version of the single, which was billed as a “Special Edition” and was being sold for 10,000 yen. (All the other editions were 1000 yen)  I’m not sure what possessed them to charge such an exorbitant amount for this version.  The CD content was the same, it had a different cover, plus a special hard paper outer cover (some groups offer these for free as a store promotion) and a 20 or so page special booklet.  Maybe it was worth 3000 yen, but 10,000?  So you may be surprised to know that I actually purchased one copy.   But why?


I had both Tanifuji Misaki and Maeda Reon sign the booklet on the CD

The final day of the promotion was being held at Venus Fort in Odaiba, and there were two separate events.  I usually buy 2-3 CDs per event, which meant I would probably buy 5-6 on this day.  However, from all of the other events I attended, I already had six copies each of the other four versions. (Anyone want a copy, or four?)  So the way I saw it, I could spend 6000 yen, and get CDs I already had, which are essentially worthless to me, or spend a little more, get more benefits, and get something I don’t have.  Despite the fact that I felt the CD wasn’t nearly worth the price, the event tickets were.  At the end of the day, it was really no different than buying 20-30 AKB48 Theater version CDs for the handshake tickets.  Anyway…


Kiss Bee at Tower Shibuya

The final events I attended were at HMV Modi in Shibuya, Tower Records in Shibuya (where incidentally I had seen Wasamin the previous evening) Ikebukuro Seibu Department Store Sky Stage, and finally Venus Fort.  There were also events that week in Kinshicho and at Sky Tree I considered attending, but I didn’t want to overdo it.

I also want to note that Kiss Bee has a lot of very nice fans, and quite a few of them a fairly proficient in English.  I have managed to become friendly with some of them, and they have been very helpful in assisting me with understanding Kiss Bee’s event system, which at times can be confusing.  They have also gotten me peripherally involved with Tanifuji Misaki’s Seitensei committee, so I will be getting some of her birthday goods.  In fact, as I write this it is Misaki-chan’s birthday, and when I tweeted her a birthday greeting she responded a few minutes later with a “like.”  Such a nice girl.


On the roof of Seibu Department Store (by the way, a really great place to hang out on a nice day)

While I consider Tanifuji Misaki my “oshi” member of Kiss Bee, I am also a big fan of one of their newest members, Maeda Reon.  I first noticed Reon-chan smiling me at one of the early promotion  events, where she kept smiling at me.  Since Misaki-chan wasn’t there that day, I decided to meet Reon for a handshake.  From there I was hooked, and made a commitment to see both of them at each event.  My usual M.O. was to do a cheki photo with Misaki, and then do a handshake and autograph with Reon-chan.  Since Reon-chan is new, her line is usually very short.  In fact, I am usually first in line to see her.  I love rooting for underdog members, and Reon has been very appreciative of my attention.  That said, I still love Misaki-chan the most.  She is the main reason I started following this group.

So I have taken a few chekis with Misaki-chan, and have gotten a few autographed pics as well.  Here are the latest ones, from these last few events…

 

BTW, I added a couple of shots I took during the photo-op.  Misaki-chan is always a blast to do photos and stuff with because she is so silly.  This is why, so many of our pics have goofy poses and faces.  In fact, people in the industry have noticed, and she is going to appearing in a drama this coming season.

 

I also got a bunch of signed photos of Reon.  Oh, and one cheki.

That was an awesome moment.  At the Seibu event I finally decided to take a cheki with Reon.  So I queued up, then manager asked me who I wanted my cheki with, expecting me to say Misaki, but when I said Reon he had a look of genuine shock on his face.  But that wasn’t all, when the manager called for Reon she had an even bigger look of shock.  I told her that I finally wanted to take a photo with her, and she kept thanking me.  Luckily for me, Misaki was with another fan at the time, so I don’t know if she noticed, or what her reaction was, if any.  But it isn’t like I don’t take chekis with her at every single event, so…


At Venus Fort, Odaiba

Finally, at the final Venus Fort event I decided splurge on the group photo. (This was the day i bought the Special Version of the CD, so I had a lot of tickets)  It was a double prize too, since Kiss Bee Youth, their trainees, were also there, and in my photo.  But I got a good reaction from the crowd when I picked which members I wanted out front.  You can pick up to two, and the fans knew I would pick Misaki, but they all kinda “whooa”d when I picked Reon as well.

Unfortunately I am now so far removed from those events I have forgotten about any particularly interesting conversations I had with either one of them.  I know that with Misaki we have talked about her upcoming TV show, and quite often I will talk to both of them about my work/school life.  Reon-chan is currently studying Chinese and Korean, and is planning to also study English.  She sometimes integrates Chinese into her intros.

Now that Kiss Bee’s current promotion has ended, I am kinda talking a short hiatus.  In fact, I have sorta taken a hiatus from all of the groups (except for Wasamin of course) just to save money.  It isn’t cheap to go to a lot of idol events.  Sometimes I allow myself to splurge a little and have fun, but sometimes I take a step back, and try to live a bit more frugally.  In fact, sometimes it makes some of the members more excited to see me, when I haven’t been to events in a little while.  Sawabe Rion from Tokyo CLEARS even mentioned it once, that when she didn’t see me for a while she would wonder about me.  Though at the moment, I am really in the mood to see Minyo Girls, so…

CK in Tokyo

 

Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki ‘Saba Kaido ~Memorial Version~’ 2-shot Cheki Event at Tokuma/Nippon-Crown Headquarters, Gotanda (2017/09/16)

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Obviously I have been ‘chomping at the bit’ to talk to Wasamin ever since I last saw her, especially since she just spent last week in San Francisco, at an event that I certainly wanted to be at, and would have been at under different circumstances. I would have loved to spend time with Wasamin in the town I spent over 20 years of my life living in, but at least I have the luxury of seeing her regularly here in Tokyo. Suffice it to say, we had a lot to talk about today.

I made it over to the Tokuma offices before noon, since her manager,  Ishikawa-san, announced on her blog that they would be selling ‘day-of’ tickets for this event on a lottery basis. This was originally a Chara-ani preorder exclusive, but since they didn’t sell out they made tickets available today for anyone who wanted to come. Ultimately they had enough tickets that it wasn’t really a lottery. Basically anyone who wanted tickets could buy however many they desired. I personally took advantage and purchased three extra tickets, so now I had six, 2 for each slot. The original lottery number drawing ended up simply being for queue position. I would be third in line for the first slot.

They had us queue up early enough to see Wasamin and Ishikawa-san show up and enter the building. Per usual, Ishikawa-san is all smiles, and waving to us, while Wasamin keeps her head down, mask on, baseball cap low over her eyes, and doesn’t pay any attention to us. LOL. However, most of us know that Wasamin likes to keep a low profile outside of events, so we don’t really try to engage her in situations like that. Btw, the outfit she had on was adorable! Wasamin is very stylish. 

Wasamin and I mainly spoke about San Francisco for most of the day. Here are the highlights…


Photoset #1 (BTW, these are the costumes from her July concert!)

Slot One: The first thing Wasamin said to me when I walked in was “Chris-san has a lot of friends in San Francisco!!!” I said Of course, and asked her what she thought of ‘my hometown’ She said San Francisco was beautiful, and she really liked it. “Good, I want to hear more San Francisco stories” She then told me that she ate steak every day, LOL! She also mentioned that she saw Alcatraz, but of course the way she pronounced it was very Japanese. (Arukuturazzu) So I repeated it back to her like I say it.

For our second pose, we decided to do ‘Golden Gate Bridge’. I told her that I saw one of the interviews she did, where she listed all of her favorite shrimp dishes. I also mentioned that my friend took a picture of Ishikawa-san. Apparently Wasamin didn’t know about this and immediately started laughing. And when I told her I have the picture on my phone. Ishikawa-san got very embarrassed.

During the break, and while in queue, I was showing the Japanese fans some of the pictures you guys took They were all very amused at the photos my friend took of Kimura-san and Watanabe-san. I was also relating some of the stories and the feedback I had heard from you guys (and others too) Needless to say, everyone was very happy to hear all of the positive feedback. Oh, and Kimura-san brought everyone Ghirardelli Chocolate. And of course they all asked me how to pronounce it.


Photoset #2

Slot 2: She was wearing my favorite costume of the three. The first thing I did was show Wasamin, and the rest of the staff my friend’s ‘s Ishikawa-san pic. The whole room was laughing. I also told her that everyone I spoke to loved her appearance, and wanted me to make sure I told her “Thank you for coming to San Francisco” She was really excited to hear that. Oh, and every time I brought up any one of your names she knew exactly who I was talking about. She was also happy to hear that I would be bringing my buddy Wil (from Nihongogo) to her appearance in Odawara next month.

Slot 3: Instead of looping, I used both of my pics at once since I had dinner plans, and I wanted to hurry home first to shower and change into different clothes. In any case, this time I wanted to ask her about the fan letter I gave her last month. I had missed the opportunity to get her feedback last month when I wasn’t feeling well and missed her appearance in Hamamatsucho. Anyway, I asked her if the Kanji was okay. She complimented me, saying that my Japanese is getting better and better. I told her that I want to write more letters, but they are difficult for me to write. However, I am still studying Japanese, so I will improve more. But she said she liked the letter, and to keep working hard.

And that was it for the day. On Monday afternoon she is appearing at a Niku Festival in Tokyo. I met with Rageballie (from 48-Talk) in Akihabara last night, and he mentioned he might be interested in checking it our. So hopefully I will soon have another Wasa-convert.

CK in Tokyo

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

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

 

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Ikebukuro (2017/08/08)

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

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

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

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

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

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Saitama (2017/08/15)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CK in Tokyo

 

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

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

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

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

Slot 3

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

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

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

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

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

Slot 4

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

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

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

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

And with that, I took a break.

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

Slot 5

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

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

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

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

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

 

CK in Tokyo

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

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

Tokyo Big Sight

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

More ‘name’ issues

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

Security

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Goods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Looks like someone is having yakiniku for dinner

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

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

 

CK in Tokyo

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

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Continuing from my previous post…

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

 

FES☆TIVE

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

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

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

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

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

 

Minyo Girls

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

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

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

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

My three favorite Minyo Girls

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

It looks like I am practically sitting on Yua, LOL

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

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

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

CK in Tokyo

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

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

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

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

KissBee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

Tokyo CLEARS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CK in Tokyo