Archive for the ‘SKE48’ 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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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

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

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

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

A HUGE HALL

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

WARNING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

CK in Tokyo

AKB48, HKT48, New Release, SKE48 AKB48-Group Shoot Sign Individual Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama (2017/06/10)

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This weekend marked the first Kanto dates of AKB48’s 47th single. Interesting that they are all occurring AFTER the release of the 48th single, but whatever. The 48-groups over-stuffed handshake event schedule causes things to get backed up once in a while. Of the five events planned for the general Tokyo area, I bought CDs/tickets to two of them. Most of my tickets were for yesterday’s event, and then I have a much smaller (four tickets) schedule for one of the events coming up in two weeks. I try to limit myself so I don’t over-buy, and one day on a weekend is plenty of idol-time, as far as I’m concerned. Also, I always have to be conscious of the possibility of Wasamin scheduling something for the same weekend. However, this weekend she is in Osaka. So no worries.

Yesterday I had fifteen tickets for essentially six members. Two of my tickets were for special stages, so I would see a couple of additional members there. The handshake events for this release also features special bonus prizes you could win, from signboards, to 2-shot selfies, 1-shot videos, etc. This are fun additional bonuses to win, however in some cases (the signboards in particular) they can make the queues go painfully slow. I ran into that on more than one occasion. Anyway, I got to the venue shortly before the beginning of Slot 2 and immediately went to get my tickets stamped. It was the longest queue at the information booth I had ever personally experienced. It didn’t take too long, around 15 minutes, but the delay slightly screwed up my Slot 2 schedule. Let’s get to the experiences, shall we…

Slot 2

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 1) After getting my tickets stamped, I immediately queued up for Maichan, whose lane was near the info booth. It was a medium to long size queue, however since it was a signboard lane it was going very slowly. This was an issue since I had THREE Akiyoshi tickets for the same slot. With the benefit of hindsight, I should have gone to see Yuka-chan first. But oh well. After two turns, the lane went slightly faster, but there was less than 20 minutes left in the slot. I finally got to Maichan…

For the signboard, you had to pick which hand the heart-shaped ‘guitar pick'(?) was in. Of course many of the girls “help” you win. I was watching Mikurin in the next lane, and she would shake the hand that the pick was in. For Maichan, she “accidentally” showed me the pick for a brief second before she clasped her hand. Needless to say, I won. Maichan gave me a special bonus by writing on both sides of the signboard, which was cool.  I congratulated her on her preliminary SSK ranking, but then admitted I really hate the Sousenkyo, and gave her my reasons.  She then asked if I was going to Okinawa, I said no.  She actually nodded like she wasn’t surprised to hear this, as I am surely not the only one who feels that way.  Finally I thanked her, and was on my way. Slot 2 was almost over…

Akiyoshi Yuka x3 (Lane 16) I didn’t have too far to go to get to Yukachan’s lane. The line was fairly short, so I figured I could ‘loop’ the line once, and use my last two tickets together. However, that didn’t work out as planned because this was also a painful slow line due to the signboards. There was less that five minutes before the Slot closed, and I was sixth in line, so I went back to the check-in table and changed to use all three of my tickets at one time. It was a smart move since the person originally in front of me was just finishing when they closed the gate, so I wouldn’t have been able to loop. On the other hand, I probably shouldn’t have bothered, and kept those as ‘open tickets’ since the girls took as long as they wanted to sign the boards, regardless of how many tickets you were using.

I finally got to Yuka-chan, and we were so busy talking we forgot to play the game. She just began signing a signboard for me. Not technically, I could have (and probably would have) won more than one, but I didn’t care. As I have always maintained, the bonus prizes are fun, but they are totally secondary to me. I have just as much fun talking to the members I support. While Yuka-chan was signing, I mentioned that I saw the recent HKT stage where she bragged about having Kaigai fans. She smiled, and kinda winked at me. Not that I’m her only foreign fan, in fact she recently made a G+ post about her fans from Thailand. But I know that I am among that Kaigai stable she is proud of.

Anyway, two lane visits, and two signboards. Not bad. I hoped my luck would continue the rest of the day. And I also hoped that I wouldn’t run into any more time problems. However, that was wishful thinking…

Slot 3

Tani Marika – part one (Lane 81) I had to go to the other side of the event hall to gt to Tani’s lane. BTW, AKB had rented out the entire of Pacifico for this event, so the event hall was huge! I got to Marika’s lane early and queued up. I considered using both of my tickets at once, but her line was short, so this wouldn’t take forever. Boy was I wrong…

By the time Marika showed up, the queue got considerably longer. I was fine for my first ticket, but I wondered how long it would be for my second, since Tani is just like Kaotan, and ignores the time people. Plus, this was another signboard. Anyway, I got to Marika, and I was ready to tell her how sexy she looked, when she asked me, “Do I look beautiful today?” I responded that she looked really sexy. Unsatisfied, she asked if that meant that she didn’t look beautiful. Haha, Tani always looking for reassurance. I told her I really liked her denim jacket. She did a big Tani-styled signature on my signboard, complete with a little Unko-character. When I left the queue, the line had gotten really big. I originally planned on taking a break after the next ticket, but if I waited I wouldn’t have time. So I decided to take a break now and come back for the second ticket a little later…

Tani Marika – part two (Lane 81 Lane 79) I eventually came back to the lane 10 minutes before the gates were due to close, and 40 minutes before the end of Slot three. The line was still pretty big. In fact, there was even a short queue to even check in. Usually that only occurs for the top Senbatsu members. I wasn’t too worried, however since even if I had to wait a little bit into Slot 4, I would still have plenty of time to do my three slot 4 tickets. That nonchalance turned to worry as time ticked away, and the queue was moving at a snail’s pace. One of the three tickets I had for Slot 4 was a Special Stage, so I needed to get my other two Yuka-chan tickets done within the first 45 minutes of the slot, otherwise I could miss the special stage. At the beginning of Slot 4, Marika’s line was still long, so they moved all of us to a different lane to complete the slot. The problem was that Marika was letting everyone win the signboards, even if you have multiple tickets. So if a fan came up with like 10 tickets, she would do like eight signboards for them, and it would take forever. So there were people in there for like 5 minutes at a time. Ugghhhh…

After 90 minutes in queue, I finally got my turn. I decided to make it up to Tani by making a big deal of how beautiful she looked. However, she wasn’t buying it one bit. She gave me the stink eye like “Meh, too late” Marika noticed I had on a bunch of HKT gear, including an HKT concert shirt. So she commented that I am an HKT fan. “But I like SKE too!” “Who is your favorite SKE48 member? “Tani Marika! And also Kaotan. Tani and Kaotan are my 2-Top” I told her that I recently won an SKE Theater show, but it was for Team KII, and that I would love to see Team E. She said that she wanted me to see her perform. Anyway, I got another cool Tani signboard, and I was off to try to use the rest of my Slot 4 tickets.

Slot 4

Akiyoshi Yuka x2 (Lane 16) I was already late to the pre-queue of the Special Stage, but I had a few minutes. I decided that if Yuka-chan’s queue was short, I would loop the line. Otherwise I would have to use both tickets at the same time again. Lo and behold, her line was very short. So I checked in with one ticket. It also turned out that her lane was “automatic win” for the 1-shot video. Hmmm, that’s not good. It means she sold very few tickets for this slot. I quickly chose one of the pre-selected sayings for Yuka-chan to do, and made it up to her within a minute or so. I quickly asked her if #7 was good, and she said it was. Here’s the video…

Cute! While I did the handshake I quickly asked her which of the phrases she recommended, but she said she did n’t really know. Oh well, I would take a wild guess on the next one since I was running out of time. I ran back to the entrance and re-checked in. With the form I quickly checked off a random phrase, and re-queued. While I was waiting, I hear my name being yelled. “Kurisu! Kurisu!!!’ I turn and look around, it is Sakaguchi Riko! Haha, Rikopi is pushing hard for me to be her fan, LOL. I quickly told her that I would see her at her Special Stage later on, and she said “Okay, see you there!” Her English is pretty good, too. I made it to the front of the queue, and got ready to shoot my video…

Oops, my birthday isn’t for another six months. Hahahaha, I guess I will save that one and play it back in December. I thanked Yuka-chan, and told her I would see her (and Rikopi) at her special stage later on. I hustled over to the special stages, there was less than 10 minutes before it started. I was still okay…

 

Yabuki Nako, Tanaka Miku, Fuchigami Mai (Special Stage C12) As I got to the C-stage check-in, they were just starting to let people into the room. I quickly checked in, and got my ticket. It was #225. Not good, but at this point it didn’t really matter since they had already let most of the first 100 people in. Eventually my number was called, but I didn’t hear it since the neighboring stage was really loud. But eventually I realized that they were past my number, so I went in and positioned myself in the standing area, around three people back. I tried to find a spot where I would have a semi-unobstructed view. Anyway, I took a couple of short videos during the event.

Nako/Miku Singing…

The last pose they did…

They were doing a bit where they would pose based on a scenario, like “Your best gravure pose, or “Sasshi pose” It was cute. I was there to see Maichan, but Nako/Miku were definitely the ‘stars’ of the stage. However, there were a lot of Maichan fans in the room, so she got good support too. After this I had a bit of time, since I only had one ticket for Slot 5, and my Yuka-chan special stage was just before the beginning of Slot 6, so I took a lunch break at the food trucks outside.

Here was my lunch, a Kimchi-Steak Bowl. If was actually really good. A bit over-priced for the size, but whatever. I would definitely eat there again. I also did a couple other things during this break. I went to the goods line to get the SSK pins they were selling. Unfortunately they were already sold out of the Akiyoshi pin, but I decided to grab a Kaotan pin, especially since I would be seeing her later on.

I also signed a Zunchan birthday card, and her fans gave me a few little tokens of appreciation. Yamane Suzuha is my new favorite AKB-girl, but unfortunately I do not have any tickets for her until the next single events. I would have happily traded in one of my tickets yesterday for her, but she did not have a star (*) on her lane, so same-day nomination was not available. Oh well…

Slot 5

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 1) Back to Maichan, who I just saw at the special stage. This was also a 1-shot Video lane, but I didn’t win. It was my first loss of the day :( Oh well, when I got up to Maichan she immediately commented that she saw me at the Special Stage, and asked if I got any good pictures. I got lots of them, but unfortunately on many of my photos Maichan was turning profile to talk to Nako/Miku. Then Maichan admitted that she had forgotten my name. Interesting, since she had signed it a few hours ago. But that’s okay, I told her my name again, and was off. She is one of the few I have tickets for at the June 25th event.

Akiyoshi Yuka, Sakaguchi Riko, Tomiyoshi Asuka (Special Stage C16) Unlike the morning, all of a sudden I had loads of time to kill before I could use my next ticket on this stage. I took a walk around the venue to see who had the longest queues. They also had all of the SSK posters on the far wall, with all of the member ‘promises’ should they achieve their ranking goals. Eventually it was time, and I queued to get my entry ticket, #76. Not terrible, and many of the numbers in front of me weren’t selected at all, so I ended up getting in within the first 30 people. I got a seat in the second row, on the left side, and was ready to go. Luckily, Yuka-chan was positioned on that side too, so I chose my spot perfectly. Like the first special stage, I shot a couple of short videos, starting with the intro…

This video includes the performance of Kimi/Suki

Q&A

Essentially they were answering questions from the audience, and at the end they all sang Kimi/Suki, which was fun. Rikopi has a very nice singing voice. Asuka, on the other hand, was a bit shy and would only sing the chorus. After this I had two hours until my evening tickets, so I left Pacifico and went to Queen’s Square mall for a dinner break.

 

Slot 7

Tanabe Miku (Lane 40) This is the final weekend Tanamin will be doing handshakes, so I was glad I had a ticket for her. I queued up early, since the was a possibility of her line being unusually long. This was a signboard lane, and for the first time, I lost for the signboard. With Tanamin, there were no hints, just a 50/50 shot. Anyway, I congratulated her, and said I remembered the first time I saw her live almost 10 years ago. Tanamin said not to worry, and that we will surely be seeing each other at Wasamin concerts. Hahaha, does that mean that Tanamin is planning on joining the Wasamin fan club? Quite a few of Tanamin’s fans also like Wasamin, so her comment got a bit of a chuckle from the people behind me.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 80) Kaotan’s lane was not too long. I checked in, and immediately won the 1-shot video. Cool, my luck had returned! I was watching the people in front of me, and Kaotan was ignoring the phrases and giving everyone a personalized video. Cool! However, I noticed the girl in front of me didn’t press record for her video. I tried to point it out, but the girl ignored me. Then Kaotan asked her if the video was okay, and she said yes. She then looked at me, looked at the girl, and asked “Are you sure?” She confirmed it, although I could see that her video was only one second, and that one second was at the end after I told her she wasn’t recording. Oh well. Eventually it was my turn, and I asked her to give me a special Kaotan greeting. She asked me if it was okay if it was in Japanese. I said that would be fine. So here we go…..

Bwahahahaa! So she went for the English anyway. According to Kaotan, I am a “nice boy, a beautiful boy” Oh, and after she started laughing I stopped recording, but then she kept going. Oops, I interrupted her, and told her I stopped recording already. She was like “Chris!!!” :fp: For the handshake, I told her I had a lot of fun at the Team KII show back in April. She was like “Oh, that’s right, you were at a show!” She thanked me continuously as I made my way out the exit, I would be turning around to see her in just a little while anyway…

Slot 8

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 80) I normally don’t stay for Slot 8, but since Kaotan and Bibian were both late slots only, I decided to stick it out. I also was interested in winning the 2-shot selfie they were both offering. I queued up early for Kaotan, and was fourth in line. Upon check in, the first three people ALL won the 2-shot. Damn, I knew what was coming. I pressed the button…Not A Winner! Oh well, I won in the previous slot. We queued up and waited for Kaotan, who I knew would be late since her previous slot went almost to 8pm. In the meantime…

I forgot to mention earlier, that Kaotan and Tani’s lanes were right next to the ‘handicapped lane’. It was the first time I got a really good look at how they run things in those lanes. In fact, a couple of my Wasa-fan friends use those lanes at AKB events. It’s neat how they set up an itinerary for the girls to come over and see these fans. There is also quite a bit of camaraderie among the fans that use those lanes too. Oh, and the main guard running the SKE handicapped lane was so cute! And she was great, she had wonderful demeanor, and of course she knew sign language, which I’m sure is a prerequisite since many of the fans that use those lanes are hearing impaired. I think the hardest part of the job is trying to arrange the popular members, who have very big queues. Not surprisingly, many of these fans also have tickets for girls like Jurina, Sasshi, and Sayanee. So it is quite the challenge. I saw Jurina over there a couple of times, as well as Masanya, Ryoha, Kanon, Ego, and Dasu. Anyway, back to Kaotan…

Eventually she came out. The funny thing was that none of the fans seemed to know how to take a selfie. They didn’t now how to reverse their camera, or how to position it. Kaotan would have to show em how to do it. Anyway, it was my turn, and Kaotan was very apologetic that I didn’t win. But I told her that I got my extension, and I would be living in Japan quite a bit longer. She got very excited, and asked me if I would continue to live in Itabashi. Wow, she still remembers exactly where I live, LOL. I told her I would be seeing her in a couple of weeks, and was off to use my final ticket…

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 13) I went all the way across, back to the other side of the hall. Bibian’s lane was relatively short, and BOOM, I won the 2-shot. It was only a couple of minutes until I made it to the front of the queue. But like the fans in Kaotan’s lane, I am also a bit of a novice when it comes to taking selfies. I positioned the camera as best I could, and kept asking Bibian if it looked okay, then I finally took the shot. Ladies and gentlemen, behold the WORST 2-shot selfie in history…

LOLZ. I love my famous “trying to balance the camera and hit the button” look, coupled with Bibian’s “photobombing” from the bottom right. On the other hand, it is moments like these that make the events even more memorable. So it’s all good. Since I won the 2-shot, I barely had time to say hello, cool poster, and thank you to Bibian before I was pushed out. And that was it, I was done for the day.

As much as I say that I don’t really care about the special prizes they now offer, they do add a bit of excitement to the events, even if in some cases they can cause lanes to get backed up. At the end of the day I didn’t have to eat any tickets. Makes me wish I had a few more tickets for two weeks from now. But what I am really looking forward to is the new SKE release, since I prefer the SKE and HKT exclusive events anyway.

CK in Tokyo

Concerts, SKE48 SKE48 Team KII “0start” 5th Stage at the SKE Theater (2017/04/28)

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Team KII “0start” 5th Stage at the SKE Theater (2017/04/28)

Finally I had won a show after a 3+ year drought. I was beginning to believe my account was on a “no win” list since it had been so long. However, friends assured me that I couldn’t be blacklisted since I had won concerts in early 2016. But even that dried up, I hadn’t won a concert in almost a year.

Actually, this was not my first sign that things would be better. I actually got Cancel Machi for a 16th Gen show in Akihabara earlier this month. However, I did not make it into the show (I was about 10 away when they cut it off) Less, than three weeks later, I finally got the elusive winning email. I was so excited, even if this meant I would have to spring for the expensive round-trip Shinkansen ride to Nagoya. Team KII was perfect since it has three of my four favorite SKE members in it. Unfortunately, Yumana wasn’t performing, another KII girl that I like.

So, after being stuck on “31” for the longest time, I can finally say that I won my 32nd theater show. And this was my first SKE win since I saw Kuumin’s 17th birthday show in 2011, before they remodeled the theater. I grabbed a late afternoon Shinkansen out of Tokyo, which would get me to Nagoya in plenty of time. During the ride, I tweeted that I was going to see the show, and I was excited to see Kaotan perform. And whaddya know, Kaotan ‘liked” the tweet! Good, she knows I am coming.

When I got to Sunshine Sakae, there was a short queue waiting for the theater to open. I instead decided to go to Tully’s and grab a cup of coffee. After taking a walk around the neighborhood, I noticed the line had gotten a bit bigger, so I decided to queue up. The box office was opening soon anyway. Eventually I got my ticket, #31. Good, that meant when my group was drawn I would be first in. I went downstairs to the station and put my bag in a locker, not that the theater doesn’t have lockers, but it is a bit quicker after the show if you don’t have to deal with that small locker area. Once the lottery started, people began saying little prayers to their oshi members on the wall. I was standing just opposite Kaotan’s photo, so I gave her a wink. After girls, family, and enpou groups went in, the lottery began…

“11-20!” ~ Shit, that would have been me had I queued up immediately instead of getting coffee!
“81-90” ~ Uh oh, how bad would my seat be?
“21-30” ~ DAMMIT! Had I lined up 15 seconds earlier!!!
“31-40” ~ SCORE-A-ROONI!!! Fourth group in! BTW, I believe “1-10” was right after us, so the low numbers all got in early…

I entered the theater, and wow. It is so much bigger than before when they were performing in what used to be a converted bar. The entire center section was taken up by the girls, families, and enpou, and the first rows were pretty much filled up. But the second rows were only partially filled. I got a seat on the left side of the second row, four seats away from the part of the stage that comes out into the audience. This would be a great spot!

Eventually the show started with the “Zenza Girls” performance. I was so excited since I think this was my first time seeing Kaotan perform Matsumurabu live. As for RESET, I have seen this stage a couple of times before, and I know a lot people (including me) were getting bored with it. However, it had been so long since I had seen a stage that I was happy to see anything. Not to mention, I like RESET, especially the songs after the units. Jigsaw Puzzle 48 is one of my favorite AKBallads, and White Day ni wa is a nice song too. But since most of you know the songs pretty well, I will stick to my experience of the members. Remember, I’m an obvious foreigner, close to the stage (actually there were two of us there, both in the second row) so I would probably get some great reactions.

The Three Girls I am Buddies With: Kaotan, Yuzuki, and Anna
Unfortunately, both Kaotan and Yuzuki spent most of the show on the opposite side of the stage, so I wasn’t getting too much face time with them at all. However, they both eventually made it over to my side of the stage. I caught Kaotan glancing at me from time to time, Yuzuki gave me a cute little wave. Anna never really looked at me though, LOL.

Fished the Hell Out of Me: Souda, Aoki, Ego
Especially Souda, who seemed to be right in front of me for most of the show. Constantly smiling at me, winking at me, waving at me, reacting if I reacted to her. She was doing her best to make an impression on me. The same goes for Aoki Shiori, although that didn’t start until the last part of the show. However, once she zeroed in on me she wouldn’t let up, even throwing the streamer directly at me, and then beckoning me to grab on to it. I must admit, I have a little crush on her after watching this show too. Infectious smile. Egochan got in front of me during one song and just kept pointing straight at me. I also had a little interaction with Obamina at one point too.

Totally into their performance: Churi, Nao, Obata
It is so much fun to watch Churi’s trademark emoting and facial expressions, and Nao just oozes sexuality with her dancing. She also reminds me of former actress Shimizu Fumika (Mare, Hentai Kamen, Kamen Rider Fourze) Obata is cute, and constantly bouncing around with her beaming smile. I was warned that she would steal my heart at the theater. However, a couple of members (mentioned above) had other ideas. I should also note Souda for her endless enthusiasm and energy, as well as Mikottii’s constant humor were always fun to watch. Heck, they all had great energy.

Eventually the main show ended, and it was time for the encore. BTW, it is cute how the KII fans start the encore with a play on Anna’s catchphrase, the “ii desu ka? ii desu ii desu ii desu yo!” part. In fact, since it was “Premium Friday” we actually got a Double Encore”. There were a couple of songs included that they don’t usually sing. One was Dada Machine Gun, I forget what the other one was.

Anyway, the show finally ended, it was time for “High Wave”, which ironically is what SKE used to do back in the old days, before they switched to High Touch. BTW, the fact that they do High Wave instead of High Touch doesn’t bother me at all. We still get a second of face-time with all of the members. The fact that we aren’t touching hands isn’t a big deal. It isn’t like handshake events don’t exist, right? Anyway, as I was going through I got the expected reactions from Yuzuki and Kaotan. And finally Anna noticed me and gave me a huge reaction and “Sashiburi!” From there I went out the door, out the theater, into the station (getting my bag out of the locker) and back into the subway in less than five minutes. I eventually got home just before midnight, and before going to sleep I filled out the questionnaire sent to me from the Ticket Center asking me to review the show.

So happy to see a theater show again. It is still the amazing experience that it has always been, and it helped rekindle my enthusiasm for the 48 Groups…At least for SKE and Team KII it did.

 

CK in Tokyo

AKB48, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48 8th Album Shamekai Event @ Makuhari Messe (2017/04/22)

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AKB48 8th Album Shamekai Event @ Makuhari Messe (2017/04/22)

This is the third of six Shamekai events for the 8th album. Tomorrow the fourth will take place at Makuhari. However, I don’t have any tickets for that. So this will be the final shamekai event I attend for this album unless they do a resale for the final event in June. Today I only had five tickets, plus one CD signing ticket. I had already pretty much planned how I would use both my signing ticket, and the open ticket I had (due to Mikitty’s graduation).

Also, I brought a friend to the event. (The same friend I took to the AKB national event last week) He didn’t have any shamekai tickets. However, I gave him one of my CD signing tickets so he could meet his oshimen for the first time. I knew he has been wanting to meet Tani for a long time, and I am glad I could help him finally do that. I didn’t need to get to the venue until slot 5. However, I arrived just before slot 4 so I could show him around the venue. It was fun to hear the thoughts of someone who was seeing an actual handshake event in person for the first time ever. Kind of reminded me how I felt so many years ago. But anyway, let’s get into my tickets…

Fuchigami Mai (Slot 5) I had just spoken to Maichan last week. However, I was excited to talk about those pictures the members were posting online last night. I thought Maichan’s was particularly sexy. However, that was almost overshadowed by the cute jeans she was wearing today…

When I first mentioned the photo, she asked which one I was talking about. When I described it she started laughing. I think she was well aware of why I liked it so much. In any case, I always like seeing her because she gives me such a wonderful kami reaction every time.


This is the photo I am talking about.

Sakaguchi Riko (Slot 5) This was my open ticket, and after Rikopi screamed my lane from a lane over back in March, I felt I owed it to her to pay her a visit. I had never done a shamekai with her before, so that was another bonus. Her line was pretty short, and I jumped in just as they opened the lanes for “day nomination” tickets. When I walked in I immediately noticed the little signs she had prepared. I pointed to them, and she immediately gave me the dog one. She asked which one she should hold. I just pointed to the one that first caught my eye…

The good news is that I have scored tickets for Rikopi for the next HKT event, and for the upcoming AKB single. We will see what kind of relationship I can form with her. I will need to keep up with her activities. In any case, I had a short break before Slot 6, but I wanted to queue up early since more than half of my tickets were for this slot. I didn’t want to get shut out.

I forgot to mention that I had another member in mind for both my open ticket, and the CD signing. It is a new member I have just started to really like, and I haven’t had a chance to meet yet. But when I saw 16th gen perform a couple of weeks ago, I was absolutely enamored with Yamane Suzuha. I love her personality, and she looks like a young Kawakami Rena. I did win Zunchan tickets for the 49th single, but that is three months away. Hopefully I will get a chance to meet her before that.

Matsumura Kaori ~CD Signing~ (Slot 6) Of the three tickets I had for this slot, Kaotan would definitely have the slowest queue. So I thought I would get it done first. The opened the lane up about 12 minutes before the start, and nobody went in. Heck, I’ll go. I don’t think I have ever been first in line before. That reminds me, some fans talk about being “last in line” for a slot, and that somehow means you are a special fan. However, the girls will tell you that’s a load of crap. Usually the people with the most tickets go last, only because then they won’t hold the line up. But it is no badge of honor. Like I said, I had never been firstt in line before, and the only time I had ever been last in line (for Nishino Miki), it was purely by accident. On the contrary, some girls say that they like the fans who are first in line because that shows that they were really excited to see them. I must admit, when Kaotan and Masanya came over to the booths, and both of them acknowledged me standing there, it felt kinda good. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. But I might try to be first in line a bit more often. Anyway, she apologized for being late, and immediately started on my CD…

Kaotan takes her time, so we got to talk for over a minute. I wanted to ask her about some of the solo events she does. I see her tweeting about them all the time, and I always think “dang, I want to go to those” So I asked her if there was a place other than Twitter that she posts about her events. She basically said to pay attention to her Twitter account. In any case, she did an excellent job signing the CD, eh?

Tani Marika (Slot 6) Since my friend got to meet Tani for the first time, I wanted to get her impressions. However, they were kinda hurrying people through her booth, despite the fact that she had a fairly short line, and it was still the beginning of the slot. So when I walked in, Tani said hello and immediately asked me what pose I wanted to do. She suggested the heart/peace combo…

Anyway, as I got up to leave I asked her what she thought of my friend, but I don’t think she was paying attention, so I repeated it, and she just thanked me. Then, as I was walking away she said. “Wait, come back! (He) is your friend????” YES! “Oooohh, Thank you!!!” Okay. I just wanted a little credit for bringing her a fan she had never met before. LOL

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 6) Gotta see my girl! When I was in line for Rikopi earlier, the queue was right next to Yuka-chan, and within her sight line. However, I don’t think she had noticed me. There was nobody in line, and the curtain was closed. So I entered the queue, aaannnnnnddddd I WON THE CHEKI! Great! If there was one girl I was hoping I would win the cheki bonus for, it was Akiyoshi. This also meant I would have some time to chat with her.

So while she was decorating the book and photo (the autograph was pre-signed, but she did the rest in front of me) I told her that I had purchased an Akiyoshi HKT baseball jersey (the jerseys they are taking pre-orders for in the official shop right now) She asked if I was going to live in Japan permanently, so that gave me the chance to explain what I was doing in Japan. I also told her I got a bunch of tickets for her at the next HKT event in two weeks. As I was leaving she gave me the cutest little grin, I could feel my knees get weak. And she did a great job with the cheki and book, don’tcha think?

But I forgot to talk to her about her starring role in the pre-HKT concert VTR at Saitama Arena, the one where she plays Tora-san. Damn! I guess I will have to talk to her about it in May. Anyway, I had one ticket left, and over 90 minutes before I could use it…

Matsumura Kaori (Slot 7) Per usual, Kaotan’s line was going really slow, especially when she would get the cheki winners. Also, at one point she left the booth for a few minutes. So as it was getting late they started to rush people, which was fine with me since I had already talked with her a whole bunch earlier. When I finally got in, she apologized that I didn’t win the cheki. But I told her it was okay since I had won a cheki with her already. I didn’t want to do a heart or peace, so we did the third most common pose…

She again apologized, and said she wanted me to win the cheki. I reminded her that I already have four autographed items from her. The business card, the old maid card, the cheki, and now the CD. So it was okay.

Afterwards I ran over to Yuka-chan’s CD signing booth so I could wave goodnight to her. But I got a triple bonus as she was hangin’ out with Rikopi and Tomiyoshi. So I got to say goodbye to all three of them. After that I took off, had dinner in Makuhari, and headed home. I am taking my friend to one last event before he heads home, a Wasamin event. Finally!

 

CK in Tokyo

AKB48, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48-Group “Thumbnail” Album Shamekai Event @ Makuhari Messe (2017/03/20)​

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AKB48-Group “Thumbnail” Album Shamekai Event @ Makuhari Messe (2017/03/20)
 
The cheki “booklet”

So Wasamin has finally received a vacation of sorts, as she has no events for an entire month. Given that it seems like it has been quite a while since I have been to a proper handshake/2-shot event. I did go to the SKE and HKT National events in February, and the HKT handshake event a week earlier (where I only had tickets for Akiyoshi) So I had mustered up a bit of enthusiasm for this event, despite the fact that I am not as big a fan of the 48-groups as I used to be. After all, many of my tickets were for members I had never done shamekai with before. And, I was going to see Akiyoshi again. That in and of itself made me happy since she is my new “best girl” in the 48-groups.

The other issues I needed to deal with were 1) what to do with my now “open” tickets since Mikitty graduated, and how would I use these CD autograph tickets. I had four of them, two for each day I have tickets for. One big issue was the fact that many of my favorite members were signing in Slot 1, and my first handshakes in this event start in Slot 3 (for the April event I don’t start until Slot 5!) So my choices were limited. But I had a game plan, we would see if it all works out. I arrived just before noon, and immediately got my tickets stamped. In the meantime they were doing the Senbatsu and Sousenkyo announcements on the big screen. Okinawa eh? Well if I didn’t go to Okinawa to see Wasamin, I am certainly not flying there for the friggin’ Sousenkyo…

Murakawa Vivian (Slot 3): I went to see Vivian first since I knew her line would be shorter than the other ticket I had for Slot 3. After a short wait ( and losing at the cheki lottery) Vivian greeted me first with surprise, and then with a big English “Hello”. I told her that I really liked her pretty blouse. We sat down and we decided on the heart pose.

 

She asked me if she would see me again, so I told her that I had tickets for HKT at Saitama, so I would look forward to seeing her there. The thing about Vivian is I don’t have that much to talk with her about. However, she is so genki in person it just makes up for that. So while I usually limit myself to one ticket per event with her, it is always fun. Anyway, off to my next meeting…

Suda Akari (Slot 3): I have always liked Dasu, but it has been quite a while since I actually bought an individual handshake ticket for her. the problem is that her line is always a total mess. Today was no different. It had reached “Sayanee level”, stretching out into the crowd. I also noticed her curtain wasn’t even open. After 20 minutes of not moving, I decided that this would not be worth the wait. Also, one of the girls I was considering using my Mikitty ticket on was Slot 3 only, so I took off for the other side of the venue…

Tanabe Miku (Slot 3): I really wanted to see Tanamin, since 1) I haven’t had a handshake with her for almost a year, 2) I wanted to congratulate her on winning Janken, and 3) The last time I actually saw her she gave me this really enthusiastic wave, and I kinda halfheartedly waved back. Her line was actually longer than usual. but I made it to her in about 20 minutes. She greeted me with “osashiburi” But I reminded her that I saw her at the Wasamin concert. She was like “Oh yeah, you are a big Wasamin fan” “And you have the Wasamin iphone case” I asked her if she joyed Wasamin’s concert, and eventually we sat down to pose.

 

 

I have always wanted to do a “beer drinking” pose with her, but before I could suggest it she thrust the Sakura branches into my hand. So it was decided. Anyway, it was good to see Tanamin again, even if I forgot to mention Janken. And Slot 3 wasn’t over, sooo..

Suda Akari (Slot 3): I decided to give Dasu one more chance, rather than making it another open ticket. Her line was still huge, but it was slightly smaller than before, and it was in fact moving. I only had one ticket for Slot 4, so I had time….

30 minutes go by…Slot 4 starts, now it has been an hour, and I still haven’t even checked in. I had a decision to make, since I was now risking burning my slot 4 ticket. BTW, this is exactly what happened the last time I saw Dasu. Line was a total joke, it didn’t move, and I ended up losing out on two other tickets as a result. I finally made it to check in, promptly lost the cheki lottery, and now the line was moving faster. By the time I made it to Dasu I just wanted to get the pic done and get out. But she was her usual genki and sweet self. I told her that one of the first times we met that she made dog noises at me, so we should do a “Wan Wan” pose…

 

 

BTW, Dasu noticed my Akiyoshi ticket holder, and immediately exclaimed “Kawaiiiiii” Anyway, I really like Akarin, but I can’t stand waiting in her line for 90-120 minutes every time I want to see her. So I am afraid this may be the last time I get a ticket for her. We’ll see. Anyway, I had around 10 minutes before Slot 4 lanes closed…

Fuchigami Mai (Slot 4 & Slot 5): Maichan is so adorable, and I would definitely oshi her in HKT if it weren’t for Yukachan. Her line wasn’t long. So I got to see her very quickly. Per usual she started off trying to speak with me in English, but immediately abandoned it. It’s funny, the first two times I met her she spoke a lot of English, but I think she has kind of lost whatever skill she had. In any case, I wanted a shot that emphasized her pretty smile, so we went with this…

 

I love that picture of her. She is so photogenic! In fact, when I was showing my early 2-shots to friends they all remarked how good a 2-shot they thought this was. So when I went back in the next slot I delivered that news. “All of my friends said that my shamekai with Maichan is the best of the day.” She was really happy to hear that as we took our second shot…

 

Maichan asked me if I was coming back. Like with Vivian, I told her I was going to the Saitama concert, and I would try to win for NHK Hall too. I checked my photo, another really nice picture of Maichan. She REALLY is photogenic.

Tani Marika (Slot 5 CD Signing): By the way, I had finally decided to use one of my CD autograph tickets in Slot 5. Since I had heard that the autograph lines seemed to be slow, I decided to pre-queue, so it wouldn’t mess up the time I had for the shamekai tickets I also had for Slot 5. This worked out well, since I ultimately was fourth in line. So it was just a few minutes before I got a signed CD jacket…

 

From Tani!!! Actually, I decided to go for Tani since the last time I saw her was at the High Tension event, where she watched me loop Mikitty’s line like 4-5 times. So I wanted to make it up to her. Not that she remembers, but I remember. Anyway, Marika spent quite a while doing that autograph since she saw I was wearing a Wasamin shirt. She started talking to me all about Wasamin. I didn’t get all she said, but I can tell she really likes and respects Wasamin. So it was a nice little conversation. I told her I would see her a little bit later. But first…

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 5, Slot 6): Finally, a chance to see my princess! This is how I know that she is my favorite member in the 48-groups now, since I could feel anticipation when it was time for this slot. And Drats! I didn’t win the cheki. Originally I didn’t care that much about the cheki, but after I saw a few of them I decided it really was a good prize, and if I managed to win one I would want it to be with Yuka-chan. Yuka-chan saw me before I entered the booth and exclaimed “Hi Kurisuuuu!!!” I immediately showed her that I was wearing my Akiyoshi ticket holder today. When we sat down, like Tanamin, she just handed me the branches. However, the ones she gave me were just in a big clump. So I started trying to untangle them so I could hold them properly. But Akiyoshi told me that I should be looking at the camera, so the whole “sakura” thing didn’t really work out the way she planned it…

 

I told her I would be seeing her again in a little bit. I actually had my 2nd Maichan 2-shot (which I wrote about above) in-between these two. When I came back I told Yukachan that I had purchased a few more tickets for her at the HKT event in May, so I would be seeing a lot of her in the future. Anyway, for the second shot I suggested a “rabu rabu” pose (which is what Tani calls it)

 

After the shot I told Yukachan that I would be bringing a CD to her and that I hoped she would sign it. She said of course, and I was off to see Tani. And for the record, after seven tickets I was yet to win the cheki prize.

Tani Marika (Slot 6): Like I said before, I was really happy to be seeing a lot of Tani today. When I entered the queue I immediately commented on her kakkoii leather cap, and that she was like “Motorcycle Tani” But the newly observant Tani noticed my Akiyoshi ticket holder, so it was time for a bit of taunting. Pretty much every response I was getting was “Ahh-kiii-yooo-shiiii” She eventually paused to suggest an “onigiri” pose.

 

But once the photo was taken, the taunting continued… “Ahhh-kiii-yooooo-shiiiii” At this point I am hiding my ticket holder. “Chiigau! Akiyoshi nani????” as I put it behind my back. But Marika wouldn’t let up. Too funny. I finally had a break until my final three tickets, so I went for a very late lunch.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 7 CD Signing): Like with Tani in Slot 5, I wanted to pre-queue for the CD signing so I wouldn’t miss out on the girls I had scheduled for shamekai. The problem was that Oguri Yui’s lane was right next to Yukachan’s, and it was a complete mess. There must have been 500 people in that queue, which was odd since there was a limit, and her slot had been over for an hour. It was such a mess that it completely blocked the lanes of Hazuki, Akiyoshi, Tomiyoshi, and Rikopi. The HKT fans started complaining, so they decided to move the YuiYui fans to some other part of the venue. Thank god! Although this caused the lanes to open up a little late. In the meantime Yukachan was taking pictures of us waiting for the lane to open. It finally did, and I was around 8th in line. While I was waiting in the queue, a funny thing happened…

 

Sakaguchi Riko was in the next lane over. Eventually she noticed me in Yukachan’s lane, and starring calling out to me. “Kurisuuu!!!” while she is waving to me and smiling. Wow, I am amazed that she remembers my name like that. I mean I have met her once. And now every time I see her she is totally making a big deal out of it. Now I felt bad that I didn’t have any tickets for her. I need to change that, since Rikopi is really making an effort to connect with me. Anyway, Yukachan was signing the CD as I told her I how excited I was about the HKT concert in Saitama, and that I actually lived not far from the venue. She also complimented my Japanese writing, which was on the back of the ticket. I reminded her that we are both left-handed.

Matsumura Kaori (Slot 7): The Akiyoshi autograph took a bit longer than expected, so I had to be strategic if I was going to get both of my Slot 7 tickets done. I checked both lines, Kaotan’s was a bit shorter. Although Kaotan’s lanes tend to go slow since she takes extra time with pretty much everyone, I took my chances. I checked in, and Yes!!! I finally won a cheki! I always seem to get lucky in Kaotan’s lane. In fact, at the Love Trip event I also won the drawing at Kaotan’s lane. Anyway, the lane was going very slow, I began thinking about what I would do with my last ticket if I couldn’t use it as scheduled. While waiting in the queue I was spying on Jurina, who was in the next lane over. I finally made it to Kaotan. she was like, ah you’re here, and you won!!! They quickly took the shot…

 

Now Kaotan really takes her time doing the signing part. She noticed my Wasamin shirt (I had hidden the Akiyoshi ticket holder, LOL), and she was like. “Oh right, you oshi Wasamin, right?” (Kaotan has told me before that she really likes Wasamin too) I told her I was a member of Wasamin’s fan club. Since we had all this time, I started telling her about all the different events Wasamin has done for her fans. Kaotan was really amazed. I then asked her about the events she does. I told her that I read her twitter and I want to go to a Kaotan event. She then asked how to spell my name in English since she wanted to write it both ways, and I only wrote it in kana on the sheet. As I left she asked when she would see me again, and I told her at the next shamekai event I would ask her to sign a CD for me. She happily agreed. BTW, that one handshake ticket took about 3 minutes. And now I had around 3 minutes to queue up for my last ticket. Thankfully the other lane was very close.

Hidaka Yuzuki (Slot 7): I made it to the queue, checked in, and whaddya’ know, I won another cheki, Yatta!!! The girl at the staff table was giggling at my reaction, so I blurted out “LUCKY!” which really got her to laugh. Anyway, Yuzuki’s queue moved quickly. Yuzuki was like “Good to see you again…and you won the cheki!” I suggested a baseball pose, not really knowing what that would look like. But I know Yuzuki likes baseball, so she suggested this…

 

While I was taking the picture, I mentioned that I was the one batting left-handed, she was batting as a righty (we are both left-handed) But she didn’t mind. As she was signing the photo we talked about the World Baseball Classic. She mentioned the fact that Japan was playing against the U.S., so I leaned forward and whispered to her that I would be rooting for Japan. She also noticed my Japanese writing, so I told her I had been studying Japanese. Anyway, I thanked her for the cheki, and with that my day was done.

In the meantime I resolved that I would be using my Mikitty ticket, and one of my CD signing tickets on Rikopi when I go to the next shamekai in April. She was actually one of the girls I was considering using the ticket I had today for too. I think her fishing of me on this day pretty much decided it. I also applied for Rikopi tickets for the HKT single when I got home after this event, but I ended up losing that lottery. Oh well.

One other thing. As I was leaving the venue, all of a sudden I hear a girl yelling my name “Kurisu Kurisu!” I started wondering, did one of the members break free? Who is this young girl calling out to me. I turned around to see one of the guards waving to me. It was my friend Suzuka-chan! And BTW, Suzuka could be an idol herself. She is really cute. It turned out she was working the event, specifically Lane #43 (Nakano and Yamada from Team 8) She said she was surprised to see me. I said “But you know I like idols, LOL!” After showing her my photos we parted ways. Oh, and I saw her today too and she immediately greeted me with “Hey, HKT!”

CK in Tokyo

HKT48, SKE48 SKE48 2nd Album National Pre-order Event & HKT48 Saikou ka yo National Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/02/12)

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SKE48 2nd Album National Pre-order Event AND HKT48 Saikou ka yo National Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/02/12)

Multiple 48-groups holding events at the same location on the same day is becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence. Such was the case on Sunday when both HKT48 and SKE48 had their National events right next door to one another. For SKE, this seems to be their big tactic for increasing the sales number of their second album. The only way to obtain tickets was to pre-order the album, either at mumo.net or at the event itself. For me, this would be my last chance to say goodbye to Mikitty before she graduated from SKE, so getting tickets to this was very important for me. And as long as I was there, I might as well jump next door and say hello to Yuka-chan, right? At least that was the plan…

A few days after ordering the CD I saw that the 48-group handshake event on the first weekend in February was being called “Mikitty’s last.” It was complete with group photo and everything posted on twitter. Now I was wondering why I went through the trouble of getting tickets when Mikitty will already be gone. Well, I guess I could use my tickets on Kaotan, or maybe Tani. And at least I still had Yuka-chan next door….

A couple of days before the events the schedules came out. I first took a look at HKT…No Yuka-chan. WTF? Why the hell am I going to Makuhari when the two girls I most want to see aren’t going to be there? But then I looked at SKE’s schedule, and to my surprise Mikitty was on it. Great! Not all is lost. I had considered getting more tickets than I already had (three for each), but with no Akiyoshi I would stick to three for HKT. SKE, however, was another story…

The Morning

I was going to wait until noon to show up, but all of my friends were getting there early, so I arrived at 10:30. My plan was to use a couple of SKE tickets in the morning, move over to HKT in the early afternoon, then finally back to SKE where I would finish out my tickets with Mikitty. It should also be noted that they had created a path between the two events where you could walk from one to the other without the hassle of security. So that made things a lot easier. Mikitty had a handshake slot in the morning, but I skipped that since I wanted to see her at night, closer to the “end” of her day. I spent my time watching all of the games they had set up. This was a pretty cool idea…

The Games

So you could spend your tickets on a handshake, or you could spend them playing the various games with members. They had basketball shooting, soccer shooting, baseball pitching, and badminton. On the other side there were some strength and measurement things, although I have no idea what those were like. There was a Haunted House (which did not get good reviews) and a booth where girls could try on actual member costumes. That was a popular line. In fact most of the games were very popular. The trouble was that most of the girls I like never participated in them, with the exception of Tani, who played badminton for almost an hour. I am kicking myself now for not going for that, but I was waiting to see if Mikitty or Kaotan would come out to play the games. I was here mainly for Mikitty anyway…

Special Stage B: Yakata Miki, Suda Akari, Goto Risako, Matsumura Kaori

 

Two hours later I finally spent my first ticket on the 12:40 special stage, featuring Mikitty, Kaotan, Dasu, and Goto. This was a lot of fun. The girls came out and sang Party ga Hajimaru yo!, followed by Doku Ringo wo Tabesasete. It was all done sorta tongue-in-cheek with the girls fooling around the entire way. And of course the MC went about how you would expect with those four involved. They did have a photography section, so I got a few cool pics…

 

Unfortunately I wasn’t very close. The combination of members made this a very popular stage, so it was pretty much full. The other issue was that this stage started at almost exactly the same time as the HKT Mini-Live, which was just on the other side of the wall. So we could hear that almost as loudly as our event. But it was still fun.

And that was the one ticket I used for the first four hours I was there. Mikitty had another special stage later on, but it was the same time as the HKT handshake event, so I decided to skip it…

Moving Over to HKT

After grabbing lunch in the SKE food court, and queueing up to pre-order one more SKE Album (and three more tickets), I moved over to the HKT Area. It was a good thing too since there was like a tidal wave of HKT fans pouring over to the SKE area (interestingly, far fewer went from SKE to HKT) I had nothing to do, so I hung out with friends as we watched the staff transform the mini-live area into handshake lanes. This took far longer than they expected, and the handshake event started almost 30 minutes late. I knew how I was going to use two of my tickets, I would decide about the last one at the afterwards…

(Ticket #1) Lane 15: Toyonaga Aki, Inoue Yuriya, Murakawa Vivian.
I was going to visit this lane second, but my friend wanted to see Aki, so we decided to tandem.  Of course I was there to see Vivian, but I was interested in meeting Yuriya too.  This was a National handshake event, so the line moves really fast. Also, in the beginning you are supposed to use the mini-live ticket exclusively, which I didn’t have. But since it just opened I guess they just assumed I had one since they let me pass. Anyway, when I got to Aki she excitedly asked where I was from, which I told her. Unfortunately, she pretty much took all the time I had with Yuriya too (who I really wanted to meet) so by the time I turned to Yuriya I was already being pushed away. Finally, Vivian excitedly thanked me for coming to see her again as I was pushed out of the booth. It’s a National Event, so quick one-liners are about all you can really expect…

(Ticket #2) Lane 16: Miyazaki Sono, Kurihara Sae, Fuchigami Mai.
If Akiyoshi wasn’t here, at least I would get to see Maichan. However, I would have to wait since they were now checking to make sure you had a mini-live ticket to enter a handshake lane. Fortunately, this line wasn’t very long so I just hung out close to the entrance, and the moment they announced you could use a second ticket I jumped in…

Sono just stared at me, and unfortunately I had nothing to say to her so I just stared back. Then Sae, to my surprise tried to fish the hell out of me. Considering that she completely ignored me when I saw her special stage with Yuka-chan last month, this was quite the turnaround. In fact she kept at me even after I moved over to Fuchigami, who gave me the usual “Kami” reaction that I get from her every time. She is so adorable…

So now I had one ticket left. Would I sell it? Would I use it? I didn’t want to visit those same lanes again (Kurihara is kowai!), but I was having trouble deciding which other lane I wanted to go to. Sasshi, Sakura, and Lovetan’s lanes were all huge, and I was never much of a Lovetan fan anyway, even if this is her last handshake event. I finally narrowed it down to two, and then one. There is someone I have contemplated meeting for a while now. Someone I kind of have a love-hate feeling for. i decided to give her a shot and see what she’s like…

(Ticket #3) Lane 8: Tomonaga Mio, Hokazono Hazuki, Sakai Moeka.
I have always thought Mio was cute, but I have been under the impression that she has sort of a shitty attitude, which is why I have avoided her. For me, “cute” only carries so much currency. I would much rather spend time with members who are fun. In any case, this lane wasn’t too long, and it was getting close to Mikitty’s final handshake slots next door, so I went for it.

I couldn’t see in what order they were sitting because I was blocked. It was only when I got up to the booth that I saw Mio was first. She had long, and light hair. I had never seen this look on her, and I thought it was adorable. She greeted me with a big smile and I told her I loved her hairstyle this way. She stroked her hair and thanked me and I was pushed to Hazuki, who I barely had time to tell that one of my friends oshis her. I was quickly pushed past Moeka, and that was it. I walked out of the lane really happy that I had a great experience with Mio. In fact, I am considering buying tickets for her in the future. And with that I went back over to the SKE event…

Back to SKE

I had five tickets left, One I would use on Kaotan, the rest on Mikitty. The only question was how would I use the Mikitty tickets since she had three different slots happening. In the meantime, I met one of the other Wasafans who was at the event. He wanted to go see Kaotan, so I decided to tandem with him…

Lane 8: Takatera Sana, Matsumura Kaori.
The line was really short, and we both breezed by Sana to get to Kaotan. My friend was in a tight handshake with Kaotan when he gestured that he brought me with him, and she got so excited. She finally let go of him to grab onto me, and it was pretty much just a few seconds of squeeing before I finally got pushed out. It is funny how Kaotan treats me. I mean she does play with me, like she does with most everyone, but for the most part she just acts so happy that I have been coming to her for so long. Well, the good news for her is with Mikitty graduating, Kaotan will officially become my SKE Oshi. She earned it!

Lane 9: Kataoka Narumi, Yakata Miki, Ishida Anna.
What I really liked about Mikitty’s evening lanes is that in both she was paired up with another member I really like. This time she was with Anna. After saying hello to Narumi-chan, I grabbed onto Mikitty. She immediately informed me that this was her final handshake event. I told her that I was aware, and I would be seeing her later. At that moment Anna grabbed me to say hello and Sashiburi. That was actually one of the most animated interactions I have ever had with Anna too. Hmmm…

I had over an hour until the last slot. I considered playing one of the games, but by then all of the lines were huge. So forget it. In the meantime I was watching the people shooting hoop and pitching. Jeez, some pretty bad athletes amond the SKE wota. There were a few skillful people here and there, but others…hidoi!

Lane 9: Saito Makiko, Hidaka Yuzuki, Yakata Miki.
The interesting part about this was that it was my interaction with both Miki and Makiko four years ago that made me a Miki fan. For those of you who weren’t around back then…

In a nutshell, I was in line for Kaotan trying to decide what to say, and Miki and Makiko decided to try to play with me from the neighboring lanes. I got so flustered that I didn’t realized I was next for Kaotan’s booth. While I sat there stammering Kaotan started screaming at me, asking me why I liked her. “WHY WHY WHY!?!?”, and then “I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU” as I was being shoved out of the booth. Meanwhile, with Kaotan still yelling at me out the back of the booth, both Mikitty and Makiko were laughing at me the entire time. The original story is on this post in the thread, if you want to read it.

Anyway, I entered the lane and Makiko gave me a real deadpan hello. That’s okay, Yuzuki was all ready to give me a nice excited greeting. Finally I got to Mikitty, and just as I was telling her I would see her for matome the guard puts me in this “bear hug” I’m WTF? What did I do? So I turn to him and say “Nani!?!?” He tells me that I forgot to put the ticket in my pocket. (This was a unique situation where the tickets were “multi-use”, and since they rushed me in so fast I forgot to put it back in my pocket. Why this is such a heinous crime, I do not know) In the meantime Mikitty said something to the guard, then called out to me. “Chris, it’s OK, you are OK” and gave me a big smile.

Matome Lane: Yakata Miki
I debated just using the rest of my tickets in this slot, but I had never done matome before, so I decided instead to wait it out. Obviously a lot of people had the same idea considering this was Mikitty’s last ever handshake event. So I hung out close to the lane so when they called for us I wouldn’t be far back in line. Since it was only Miki I would have a little more time to say at least some of the things I wanted to tell her. When it was finally my turn I told her that I fondly remembered the first time I ever met her, and I have always enjoyed visiting with her, and that I hope this isn’t sayonara. That was when she said she would still be on social media. So we parted with smiles.

I could have waited for the final photo shoot, but the line was extremely long, and all of my friends were done with their tickets, so I decided to call it a night. After all, I had to wake up extra early the next morning for the Wasamin Bus Tour, which you can read about on the previous post.

CK in Tokyo

AKB48, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48-Group Love Trip Handshake (Etc.) Event at Makuhari Messe (2016/11/27)

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Part 11 of my Catch-up Series…

AKB48-Group Love Trip Handshake (Etc.) Event at Makuhari Messe (2016/11/27)

This event was a last-minute thing for me, and it was only after I had so much fun with the HKT girls that I decided to grab a few tickets in the last resale. I applied for 9 tickets, ultimately winning four of them. Luckily, most of the tickets I won were at the end of the event, with the exception of one. And that was the member I was most looking forward to see. So the plan was to get there around 3pm, do the one handshake, and then go find a place to veg-out for three hours before coming back at 6:45pm for my final three tickets. I also had tickets for the AKB National Event the day before, but decided to skip it since I did have a few things I needed to get done that weekend.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 5) – Yuka-chan was one of the big reasons I got tickets for this event. For this slot there was a possibility of winning a 1-shot video. I had no idea how the system worked, and when looking at the questions I was thinking “Shit, I will never figure this out quickly, so I will just pick one at random. It didn’t matter though since I lost the lottery, and would simply get a handshake. To be honest, I was slightly relieved.

Akiyoshi’s line was taking forever, it was then I realized she had left the lane for quite a while. I wondered if she was bailing on the slot, but she eventually returned. I finally got to the front of her queue. I like that she yells my name every time I come into her booth. I essentially told her that the reason I was there was for her, and although I didn’t win the one-shot I was glad to be talking with her. I was glad to see that her queue was pretty long (and I lost trying to apply for her Slot 6) since at HKT events her line is relatively empty. And of course I was wearing my Yuka-chan flower and ticket-holder.

 

After grabbing a Kebab wrap from one of the food trucks outside, and talking with @Sakuraism for a few minutes, I went and hid out at Caffe Veloce over by the train station.

Akiyoshi Yuka/Tanaka Yuka/Kurihara Sae Interview/Photo-op (Slot 7) So I didn’t win my other applications for Yuka-chan, but at least I won this ticket. I actually like these little mini-events. They are kinda short, but they are fun. They remind me of Wasamin’s mini-lives. Whi I was waiting for the queue to open up a random Japanese fan came over and started talking to me. It was a really good opportunity to practice my Japanese as he didn’t really know English at all. In fact, ever since the guy has been LINE messaging me quite a bit, which has also been really good language practice for me…

I drew entry ticket #67, which was good enough to get me into the third row on the left. The event started and Yuka-chan immediately noticed me sitting on the left, which luckily was where she was positioned. The photo-op started, this time I decided to take a video.



(Yuka-chan glancing in my direction)

So the funny part was at one point Akiyoshi begins to focus on me, smiling and waving. All of a sudden Tanaka Yuka notices me and begins trying to fish me. She repeatedly looked my way, waving and mouthing “Hello!” at me. What’s with all of these girls trying to steal Akiyoshi’s fans? The previous week it was Lovetan, this time Yuutan. A little respect for Akiyoshi please! BTW, I barely paid attention to the questions, although I sorta remember one being about the outfits the choose to wear at events.

Murakawa Vivian (Slot 8) I was able to score one Bibian ticket, and I would be playing old maid for her autograph. Earlier I had seen people walking around with the Old Maid cards, some winners and some losers. To be honest I would have been just as happy with a losing card with the pictures of the managers on them. Yuasa’s was especially funny. In this round they gave you the form to fill out first since you don’t know whether or not you will win until you meet the member. In the meantime I was watching Tomiyoshi play old maid with her queue. She was obviously trying to make everyone win as she would show them the cards face up first, and then slowly shuffle them. Would Vivian make it that easy too?

No such luck, she shuffled them under the table and then brought them out face down. I had a 50/50 shot, and…

 

I won! Vivian finally learned my name, so I was happy about that.

Matsumura Kaori (Slot 8) – My final ticket was for Kaotan, and it has been a while since I had spoken to her. I was a little nervous since I wasn’t sure what to talk about. In the meantime there was plenty of action going on around Kaotan’s queue. First of all, Suda Akari’s day was just ending a couple of queues over, and she was coming out to say goodbye to her fans. She was wearing the tightest little mini-skirt, and cute little beret and a tight black sweater. She looked so hawt! At one point she was waving to us in the Kaotan queue too. Then, Masanya had nobody in her queue for the longest time, so she was practically living in Kaotan’s booth. It was like having a handshake with both of them. Unfortunately (or not) she got a few people in her queue just before it was my turn. As far as the Old Maid card was concerned, like I said before I liked the Yuasa card. I also already have a Kaotan autograph, so it really didn’t matter to me if I won or lost…

 

I won anyway. Then Kaotan completely amazed me. First she asked me how school was going. Then she asked me where in Itabashi I lived. I couldn’t believe she remembered so many details about me. When I told her what part of Itabashi I lived in she got very excited, and told me she was familiar with my neighborhood. After all, it isn’t too far from Wakoshi, where she grew up. I told her I would be sure and get tickets for AKB 2-shots with her. Kaotan is an amazing idol because she knows how to relate to people. It is the biggest reason why she has become one of my favorite members to see.

And that was that. Short and sweet. I remember the old days when I would get 25-35 tickets for these events. These days I am just as happy with 5-10 tickets. In fact, earlier this year I went to two events where I had only 2-3 tickets. These days the lines go a lot slower with all of these little games and videos, so there is a much bigger risk of eating tickets when you buy too many. As for the little extras they are now offering with the handshakes, to be honest they are not really a big selling point for me. I am just as happy simply talking to the members.

 

CK in Tokyo