Archive for the ‘SDN48’ Category

SDN48 Christmas Live with Chick Girls, and former SDN48 Member Fukuda Akane (2016/12/20)

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Part 15 (and final installment) of my Catch-up Series…

Another former SDN48 member has entered my “idol field of vision”, Fukuda Akane. She is currently the co-leader of an idol group called Chick Girls, who focus mostly on dance, but they do sing as well.

http://chickgirls.com/

Anyhow, a friend of mine put me on the guest list to see Chick Girls back in August since he was friends with one of the members. I was completely surprised when I saw Akane up there with the rest of the group. I took a couple of chekis with the member who got me in at a discount (Amina) and I ended up talking about the old days with Akane for like 5 minutes or so, but I never took a cheki with her! LOL.

Last night they had their special Christmas Live in Harajuku, this time I got in at a discount by invitation from another member (Anna Minami) since Amina is on hiatus and back in the U.S. (Yep, she’s Americajin) I won’t go into too much about the show. The girls are really good dancers, and their one main song I really like. They also have two junior groups who they introduced last night. They are all good dancers, but my criticism of the show would be that management needs to do a better job of planning out the show. As there was a LOT of lag time, a bit of disorganization, and their sound guy had some major issues. Mics turned off, too low, music too loud, etc. I feel bad though, because their manager is really nice. And he speaks fluent English too. But back to Akane….

I had decided before the show started that I would make sure to take a cheki with Akane when the show ended. But even the cheki session was a bit disorganized. At first they were selling tickets seperately, but then they abandoned that and said just give the member the money for the cheki, LOL. I was trying to decide if I wanted to meet any of the other members besides Akane. I have taken a cheki with Anna Minami before. In fact, she and Akane were the only two who really had a queue. I really liked Mai, she is really cute, a good singer, and just my type. Petite. Same with Alice Takeda, petite and cute.

The moment I went up to Akane she immediately identified me “The SDN fan!” So I told her that I had just seen Chaki’s live event last week (Hatakeyama Chisaki) I told her that my favorite part of the show was when se soloed on “All I Want For Christmas is You” I also asked her what the name of their one main song is, since I like it a lot. The manager was listening, so he told me. A little while later Akane came over to me because she forget to sign my cheki, so she took care of that…

Then, the members all made these special collages, and the fans were playing Janken for them. The first one was Anna Minami, which I actually WON! However, for some strange reason they decided to make it best two out of three between me and some other dude, which I lost. I don’t know why they did that, as they didn’t ever do it any other time. But whatever, I was really mainly interested in Mai’s and Akane’s, and maybe Alice. I lost in the second round with Alice, then I stopped playing because I wa waiting for my other two. However, the manager came over to me and my two friends and asked us to play too. I made it to the final round for Mai, but didn’t win. Akane was last, and whaddya know!

 

So that made the entire show worthwhile! If you closely at the bottom, Akane wrote my name on it too. Since I won I asked Akane to do another cheki with my holding the collage.  The next thing she did was really cute.  I mentioned that I didn’t have any bags to carry it home in, so she ran backstage and came out with a Don Quijote bag.  Talk about service!

 

All in all they aren’t really my favorite idol group, but they are very good dancers. And my friend seems to be a really big fan, especially of Anna Minami. So I suppose I will be seeing them from time to time with him.

But nice to see Akane out there having fun and doing some good work. She really shines in this group!

CK in Tokyo

SDN48 Hatakeyama Chisaki: “Chaki Live Vol. 6” at Club Chelsea Hotel, Shibuya (2016/12/15)

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Part 12 of my Catch-up Series…

Hatakeyama Chisaki: “Chaki Live Vol. 6” at Club Chelsea Hotel, Shibuya (2016/12/15)

 

I know a lot of people on Stage48 these days weren’t around when SDN48 existed, and even if you were most of you didn’t pay too much attention to them, which was too bad, since at the time they were my favorite thing about the 48-groups. And I just adored Chaki. I always said that if Meetan weren’t in the group Chaki would be my oshi member of SDN. I occasionally wrote her fan letters too, and she always thanked me at high touch or handshake events after she received them. So after SDN48 broke up I have kept up with her activities, and have occasionally gone to see her perform.

It has been almost 9 months since I have seen Chaki live. She is high on my priority list when it came to artists or idols I like to see. However, since I am living here in Tokyo now I had to rethink how I am going to participate when it comes to seeing idol events. I am no longer here on vacation, so quite often my responsibilities have priority over fun. Even with Wasamin, I don’t go to every event. Although she is the one that I will do my best to see as often as possible. As for the others, since I moved back in the Summer…

FESTIVE: Have seen three times, the last time was about a month ago
Tokyo CLEARS: Seen twice, last time was in early September
Hashimoto Kanna: Haven’t seen.
MWAM: Haven’t seen
PARMS: Haven’t gone, and Kamen Joshi is no longer a priority for me since Himeri left.
Chaki: Haven’t seen, until this event

Anyway, I checked Chaki’s schedule last month and decided I would make a point of seeing her in December since she had quite a few events scheduled. But she had slipped my mind until I saw her thanking people on twitter for coming to her show last week. I thought, “Oh shit I forgot about Chaki again!”

So Wednesday was my birthday, and I was on social media quite a bit responding to people sending me best wishes. I noticed Chaki talking about her show the next day. So I sent her a tweet telling her I was thinking of coming. A few moments later Chaki responded asking me to “Please come to the show <3” So now it was set, and I couldn’t back out now since Chaki knew I was coming. (And yes, Chaki knows that is my twitter, she has mentioned it before when I have seen her that she sees my responses to her)

 

This was my first time at the Chelsea Hotel, although I had walked by it quite a few times when going to Tokyu Hands, so I knew where it was. Like so many of the clubs in Shimokitazawa where Chaki usually plays, it was a small, dingy little club in a basement underneath another club and a Kebab shop. Small stage, little bar. To be honest, the place smelled kinda like a men’s room. But whatever, I was one of the first people in, so I would have a good spot. I didn’t go to the front of the stage though, a stayed a few feet back toward the right. I did go over to the goods table since I wanted to a) pick up copies of Chaki’s new single, b) pick up some of her old indie singles that I don’t have, thankfully they had them in stock this time. (They didn’t at the last show I went to). I also knew that Chaki has a Ponta Card, which you can redeem to go to a Chaki drinking party! Awesome prize, eh? I also got a free Chaki poster for buying multiple copies of the new single.


My Chaki AND Wasamin “frequent buyer” cards

It got to be around 15 minutes before curtain and there still wer only like 25 people in the club, including Chaki’s mom. I was waiting to see if any of Chaki’s SDN48 friends would show up (at Chaki Live Vol. 3 Rachel, Akiko, Hiromin, and Megu were in the audience) Lo and behold, in walks Nachu. She quickly waved to us in the small crowd before jumping into the dressing room, where we all could immediately hear Chaki squealing! Nachu hung out at the back of the venue for most of the show…

 

Finally the show started, 10-15 minutes late. Chaki came out in a pretty white dress, and to my surprise she had a new back up band. The all-female “ChakiPro Project”, who were also all dressed in white. The band was really good, especially the guitarist, Kei-chan. She had a real bluesy Santana-like sound, and did a couple of real impressive runs. The setlist for the most part was pretty much her album, “Chakiism”, which I bought back in March. I love the CD, and highly recommend it.

 

There is also a lot of audience participation during her performance. In fact, at one point her birthday committee pushed my up to the front of the stage, when Chaki saw this she leaned down next to me, shoved the microphone in my face, and we did a duet of the end of the chorus part of the song “Party”. So now I get to say I have sung with an idol! (Well, actually Wasamin and I sang together once, but that was during a handshake) After that I got a bunch of high-fives from people in the crowd. The show ended after about 90 minutes, and a quick one song encore.


Chaki’s band: (from left) Guitar: Kei-chan, Bass Guitar: Shin-P, Keyboards: Eimi-chan, Drums: Yuu

I was going to bail, but I knew that Chaki usually comes out and talks with the audience after the show, so I grabbed another drink and hung around. Eventually she came out, and started signing people’s CDs. While I was waiting in the queue I noticed that the occasional fan was talking a cheki photo with Chaki, so I took a closer look at the goods “menu” and saw that a Cheki was 1000 yen. Cool! So I got to the front, Chaki immediately thanked me for “helping” her with the song. I asked if I could get a “Chaki Cheki” too, and she said ofcourse. I mentioned it had been quite a while since she and I had taken a photo together. She was like “That’s true!” It was funny though, when she was signing my CD she got all embarassed that she had to ask my name. I don’t see her that often, so I don’t expect her to remember it. LOL. While she was signing the CD she mentioned our little twitter interaction the previous day. We took the picture, and I told her I would see her again soon. In fact her fans were asking me when I would be coming to see Chaki again. I told them later this month. She has a live in Ikebukuro on Friday, so I will definitely go to that.

 

And with that I left….

EPILOGUE:

So a funny thing happened the next day. I was writing a little blurb on Facebook thanking my friends for sending me birthday greetings, and I was talking about my birthday celebration was spent seeing Chaki, and how much I enjoyed the show. I then remembered that Chaki mentioned she had a Facebook page….

That’s odd, I don’t remember ever seeing Chaki entries on my Facebook timeline.

So I checked her page, and I had sent a friend request to her a long time ago and she never responded. So I re-sent it. Within minutes she accepted the request, then she started “liking” a bunch of random entries on my timeline, including some of the birthday wishes from my friends. She also “shared” my post where I talked about her, but she commented that she couldn’t read English, so she didn’t know what I was saying. So I responded telling her that it says the show was great and I had a lot of fun. A few minutes later she “liked” that post too.

All in all it was an awesome time, and I look forward to seeing her again next week.

 

CK in Tokyo

SDN48 Hatakeyama Chisaki Live at Tokyo Tower and Seed Ship, Shimokitazawa (2016/03/25)

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Part 6 of the Catch-up Series…

Had a chance to catch Chaki live a couple of times this month. First at Tokyo Tower, then at a tiny club called Ship Seed in Shimokitazawa. Chaki sounded great! It was a lot of fun. She remembered my instantly, even though I haven’t seen her in quite a while. And she signed her new album for me!

CK in Tokyo

Concerts, SDN48 CK in Japan Fall 2013 Pt. 2…Reliving the Good ole’ Days of SDN48

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For those of you who don’t know much about SDN48, this may not interest you too much. For those of you who remember how awesome they were, I think you will get how amazing the following experience was…

I felt re-energized on Monday after finally catching up on some needed sleep. It’s unusual for me to have a weekend day in Japan with nothing to do. But on Sunday I felt really out of it. So the best thing for my body was to merely rest. I have a big week coming up to get ready for…

In the meantime I had another warm up event to attend. I remember how sad I felt when SDN48 graduated in early 2012. I wondered if I would ever get the chance to talk to some of my favorite members ever again. To this day I still follow a few of the members’ blogs. I like to see what they are up to, especially when I have a trip coming up. So I was really excited when I realized tonight’s event would fall right into my trip window…

 

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Hatakeyama Chisaki “Chaki Live Vol. 3” and Birthday Celebration at Live House Mosaic, Shimokitazawa 2013/11/04

If it wasn’t for Meetan, Chaki would have easily been my favorite member of SDN48. I also adored Akiko (keep that fact in your pocket, it’s gonna come up later in the story) But Chaki…There is a reason her nickname is “Babyface”. She is sooo cute! It is amazing that she is turning 25 today. She still looks like a teenager! She was also one of the best singers in SDN. And boy, could she dance! I had trouble keeping my eyes off of her whenever I went to an SDN show. Anyway, I was going to get the chance to see Chaki up close for the first time in two years (Next Encore concert doesn’t count since I had nosebleed seats)

 

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The Pre-game Adventure

It had been drizzling all day, but had seemed to clear up in the afternoon. I went back to my hotel to a) watch Wasamin perform on TV Tokyo, and b) strip out of my cold weather gear for the show. I took off for the train station under partly cloudy skies, but much to my surprise it was pouring when I arrived in Shimokitazawa. I figured I would be okay if I hurried to the venue. But I got lost. It took me three blocks and a severe drenching before I could find an umbrella. At that point I don’t know why I bothered since I was totally soaked. Eventually I found the club.As promised the were selling tickets at the door. In addition they had goods, and you could preorder her solo debut CD. There were extra bonuses if you reserved multiple copies, but it wasn’t releasing until a week after I leave. I picked up a Chaki oshi towel (mainly to dry myself off) and headed into the hall.Like every other club in Shimokitazawa, the room was tiny! Smaller than the AKB Theater, and much narrower. There couldn’t have been more than 200 people in the place. It made the experience feel really intimate. I had a feeling that some of Chaki’s friends might show up too. Moments later I see SDN Alumni Rachel, Hiromin and a mysterious girl in a mask walk in. A few minutes later, Imayoshi Megumi arrived as well. BTW, Megu looks hawt with blonde hair! They took their spots right behind me. Sharing a concert with a few former SDN members…How cool is that?

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The Main Concert

The lights dimmed, and out came Chaki dancing to Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. She looked adorable! I must admit, I hadn’t been a big fan of the short bowl cut she had been sporting lately. But tonight her hair looked a little longer, and very nicely styled. Coupled with her interpretation of the dance she looked sexy as hell. After that her supporting band came out, and she launched into some of her material.I honestly don’t know the names of any of her songs. (I’m such a bad fan) but she was absolutely glowing on stage. She is such a fabulous singer too. Strong vocals, great projection and pitch. She totally feels the song as she sings it. Her songs could best be classified as “adult rock”, but there is also sort of a jazzy vibe to the way she sings. She also has a slightly raspy voice, which is so cute on her. She did MCs in-between every song, and since the room was so small it was really like an intimate conversation with friends. Funny, I used to say that about the MCs at SDN shows. Rachel was also heckling her quite a bit, which made for an even funnier experience.After the first set she began the karaoke portion of the show, one of her specialties. She takes requests from the fans. I know one of the songs she performed was from Scandal. She then performed her upcoming single which was really good. Now I wish I had bought a copy. I’m sure I could have found someone to pick it up for me…

After showing a VTR, which featured friends and family picking which of her hairstyles they felt best suited her, she came out in a smokin’ hawt red dress, with black lace gloves and a choker. The main set ended with her frenetic version of Kudoku na Runner. She invited her former groupmates to join, but they declined. Chaki left the stage, but who would lead the encore???

We all nominated Rachel, who had been rather talkative thrughout the show. She had forgotten how to do the encore, so fans were whispering stuff for her to say. We started our Chaki chant, which soon turned into an altering “Chaki” and “Ha-Takeyama” She eventually returned to the stage in her concert t-shirt and a black bow on her head. For the next big surprise, Chaki sang the next song while playing the piano. I had no idea she was a pianist, and she is very good at it! The show “ended” with another performance of the new single. But there was lots more fun to come…

The Celebration

Two girls came on stage in clown outfits. I have no idea who they are, perhaps comedians? Next came a woman who everyone called “Sensei”. Perhaps one of Chaki’s managers? It turned out the fans had some work to do to create a birthday present for Chaki. The present? A song written by a few members of the audience, to be performed by the audience. The song was called “Chaki-panman” And of course, it was done to the Anpanman March. We went over the lyrics, then did two rehearsals before Chaki came back out.
She was crying by the end of the song. It totally brought back memories of how she always cried at her birthday shows in the AKB48 Theater. I’m not sure what it meant, but there was something in the second phrase of the song that really got to her. The fans that wrote the lyrics got to give her special birthday wishes during the show.The birthday cake finally came out, then her former groupmates finally came up on stage. Whaddya know, the fourth girl with the mask…was Akiko! I had a feeling it was her because of the hair, but he looked noticeably thinner. Not to mention I noticed her eyeing me more than once. Chaki took some photos with the crowd, then bailed upstairs to do handshakes with everyone as they left. I knew Chaki would remember me, and she gave me a big “sashiburi!” and thank you before I walked out the door. But not before I got a special Chaki button from her manager. And that was it, show over!
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On the surface, it wasn’t a major event. A talented singer with a small fanbase in a tiny venue. But it really brought back emotions from the old days of SDN. It helped that a few other grads were there. Not to mention I had managed to win two of Chaki’s three birthday shows during SDN’s tenure. So in many ways it was just like old times. Heck, I was just excited to be there!

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Chaki meeting the fans post-show

I remember two years ago wondering if I would ever see and talk to my favorite SDN members again. It’s funny how the world works, and I am so thankful for this experience.

 

And now, my friends, begins the Wasamin release event marathon!

CK in Tokyo

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New Release, SDN48 CK in Japan Spring 2012…Graduation Doesn’t Have to Be Goodbye

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I left Saturday’s GM5 handshake event early. In fact I didn’t have any late handshake tickets at all because I was hoping another event might pop up worth seeing. It didn’t even have to be AKB-related.  But one never knows what make shake out on a Saturday night.  It turned out to be a great move since the event that “popped up” just happened to be…

Ohori Megumi DVD Release Event at Tower Records Shibuya 4/7

So it turns out graduations aren’t necessarily goodbye after all, eh? When this was originally announced, there were supposedly going to be a limited number of tickets, and they had to be reserved in person at Tower. Since I was still a couple of weeks away from arriving in Tokyo, I had to pool my resources, and ask a few favors in order to score a ticket. And I did! However, it turned out to be unnecessary after all as I found out they were letting people in who bought the DVD the day of the event. Oh well…

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So my new friend and I got over to Tower around 2 1/2 hours early, bought our DVDs (2 copies each) and received our entry vouchers. For those of us who preordered, we queued up on the stairwell by number (I was #143) As we were let in we were greeted by one of the managers who gave us our autographed covers. One for each copy bought.  BTW, I was surprised that the manager was the same guy who ran Sato Yukari’s DVD release at Ishimaru a couple of years ago. He seems to be a nice guy. Anyway, there were no seats left when I got in, but I got a pretty good standing position on the left, behind three petite girls. So I had a clear sightline.

BTW, while we were waiting they were playing a medley of Meetan’s singing spots on the Summer Zoo show she appears on. The songs that she totally butchers. Half of the audience is just cracking up the entire time. They need to release THAT as a CD! Then a video starts..It is Meetan giving us the rules of the event in a way only Meetan could…totally pervy!

So far the show is totally awesome, and Meetan hasn’t even appeared yet!

Finally our girl comes out in a sexy beige one piece with pink flower trim that totally showed off her curves. And what does she open with? ZOMFGWTF!!! Amai Kokansetsu!!!! I was in utter disbelief that I was getting to see her perform her solo debut single. It was awesome! After that came the interview, where Meetan talked about her future. The grad concert of SDN48. Meanwhile, she of course kept flirting with the audience with her “fake embarassment”. Just too funny. Then came time for games…

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can you spot me in the pic?

It was a quiz/janken. the winner of each round getting to go behind a curtain for a little private time with Meetan. When they got back there you could see the goings-on in silhouette, with pink backlighting.  Sexy Meetan getting pervy with the lucky winner. There were three rounds. I actually came pretty close to winning the first contest. I got knocked out the round before the final. On the last round it was between a guy and a girl, and I think everyone wanted the girl to win including the guy she was up against. But fairness won out, the guy beat her, and we got no girl on girl action. :fp:

We also got a few previews of the DVD, including one where the crew played a practical joke on her. Meetan is a great reacion queen. Anyway, this DVD seems to be filled with tons of sexy beach stuff. And judging by the back of the jacket, a bit of cosplay as well. Nice! :drool:

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After all of that it was time for the handshake portion of the event. Now remember I said both me and my friend bought TWO copies of the DVD. That was because one DVD got you a handshake, two got you a two-shot! It all went went very fast because there were so many people to get through. So they lined you up for your photo as she was handshaking the previous person. then she leaned in for your 2-shot. Then you came around for handshake and talk for about 5-7 seconds. But it was an awesome experience nonetheless.  Ohori said something to me while posing for our photo, but I didn’t understand it.  Then she thanked me for coming while i congratulated her on her graduation, told her the SDN48 concert was great, and finished with a big “Meetan I love you!”

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It was a perfect day. Started off with nothing but Wasalove all morning, then Sexy Meetan for a nightcap. The first of three straight days of total idol bliss!!! I am so glad I got another chance to interect with Meetan post-graduation since I wasn’t sure I would ever have the chance again. But I guess it was fate!

And I have more to post later…

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, News, SDN48 CK in Japan Spring 2012…Riding Out the Storm

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So it isn’t like these trips I take never run into the occasional hitch.  The good news was that I had managed to win a Team K show for Tuesday night.  For those of you who pay attention to the goings on around AKB, you know how hard it is to win shows these days.  But a huge storm decided to hit hit Tokyo today, causing much of the city to shut down early.  That includes the AKB48 Theater.  So my win just turned into nothing.  According to the email I received there will be some sort of “compensation”, but I have no idea what that will look like.  (Update: looks like the compensation is an “automatic win” next week.  I hope it works, I leave next week.  So I basically have one opportunity)

And I was so excited to cheer for Moeno and Yui too!  Anyway…

Since I am basically riding out the storm in my hotel, I will post about a few things happening while I am here.  Beginning with this…

The answer to a question I posed on this blog was answered recently by the announcement of this event, and the announcement that Hatakeyama Chisaki, along with SDN48’s Mitsui Hiromi are forming a singing duo called ChaMin.  Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough to win a ticket to Chaki’s event tomorrow night.  But I still might head over there to buy goods.  She has a few cute little items for sale.  And one never knows, maybe I can weasel my way in.  I doubt it, but you never know, right?

What’s that?  Takamina announcing the stations for the Yamanote Line?  If you haven’t heard, one of the trains on the Yamanote inner loop (at least it was inner loop when I rode it) is completely adorned with AKB48 decor as a promotion for one of the local conbinis.  Forgive the crappy camerawork as it was basically the first time I was using it and I didn’t realize I was holding the camera sideways.  I will try to get better footage later this week.

Finally, a nice little report on that great SDN concert from last weekend.  I cannot wait for it to come out on DVD!

I am playing the rest of the week by ear, leading up to the big upcoming weekend.  I have a lot of handshake tickets, and one other little event in store.  One thing is for sure, I will defimitely be making an ass out of myself in front of many idols…

and what’s wrong with that?  As long as they remember me.

CK in Tokyo

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Concerts, Japan, SDN48 CK in Japan Spring 2012…The Concert That Made EVERYONE Cry

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Warning, this is going to be long. Oh, and another warning. I might be slightly mixing up the order of events. It was a long show, and a lot of emotional stuff happened…

SDN48 Final Concert at NHK Hall 3/31/2012

So yeah, I am in Japan again. You surprised? I said that I would be aiming for this concert since the day they announced SDN’s graduation. But I almost didn’t make it to the main event I came here for…

After months of worrying about being able to score tickets for SDN’s graduation, they finally announced the ticket lottery. I had a lot of friends applying, so I was reasonably confident about getting a ticket. However, they did announce a “random id check”, which all but ruled out obtaining one from a reseller. Anyway, we didn’t have any luck with the ticket lottery, so I had resigned myself to the fact that I was probably going to miss the show. It wasn’t until the wee hours of Saturday morning that my friend found someone with extra tickets. They weren’t the greatest seats, and they were quite pricey, but we went for it anyway.

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I spent the entire morning and afternoon with Tenkun and friends at the Wasamin mini-live, then headed over to Harajuku to meet my friend and the girl wth the tickets. BTW, it was raining, windy as hell, and freakin’ freezing in Tokyo. The doors were supposed to open at 5pm, so we queued up around 15 minutes before. Doors opened almost 25 minutes late. By then I was totally numb. So I skipped the goods line and went to my seat in order to thaw out. Basically missed out on trading pics. The t-shirt had already sold out. But enough of my yappin…let’s boogie!

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I am guessing many of you have alrady seen the setlist…and the stage setup since tgsk posted it during the show.  If not, then here ya go.  I didn’t get the jungle theme, along with the door to “Club SDN”. The vines actually blocked the monitor from my view. Show started with the standard SDN overture into Sado e Wataru, which was a curious opener. But they did a very cool rain effect over the stage. That was neat. So the opening set ended, and I figured “Okay, they will do most of their songs, then a tearful goodbye, and that will be it” But then, something strange happened…and I swear I am choking back tears as I write this…

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – J.S. Bach?

It was at this moment that I felt this concert was going to be special. It was like, wow, this is REALLY going to be graduation! The pipe organ played for a long time. I was waiting for something to happen Then suddenly two men appeared on stage guarding the door to Club SDN. And these guys were not Japanese. Three members, I don’t remember who was there other than CinDy tried to enter the club, but were blocked by the guards. Then Sayanee came out and asked the guards, in English, how they could get through the door. He responded that you had to knock three times. So the girls all knocked and went in. Next Konan showed up and asked the same question, but this time the guards yelled at her in the Kansai dialect.

The stage setup then changed to inside the club, with a bar, lounge, pool table and dancer poles. Then we got the standard show open with Saturday Night Party, Never, and Black Boy. Both gen’s teams were onstage for this. Then after the first verse of Black Boy, just as the crowd started the 2nd mix, the music changed. They began to intro the members in small groups, each doing a mini-performance while a VTR played above. There was hip-hop, ballet, bubble gum pop, you name it! To me the ballet one was the best. I don’t remember what everyone did, except that Meetan was in a group that did pole dancing ala Dump Show, and Chaki was in the hip-hop group. It was the greatest version of Black Boy ever! Too funny! Onto the next skit, and the first guest star of the night…

Cut to the bar, and some of the girls were hanging out, drinking with the bartender who was curiously “tounguing” a highball glass…Ijiri-san! If you don’t know who I mean, he is the comedian with the “Moe Howard” haircut. Masamin sort of led the skit, but Miray and Serina were also there. At one point Ijiri-san started making fun of Serina’s voice. That led into the next set of songs…

Now the way they did the units, both team’s units were onstage simultanously. In the case of I’m Sure they were on each side of the stage. As for Yuuwaku no Garter (which was later in the show) the girls shared the same chairs, but on the final verse half of them performed on the stripper poles. At one point Mamitan did an insane split on the pole!!! Full crotch shot for everyone!

There was also a skit before all in, with the girls playing pool. At one point Nonti decided to try a “trick shot”, but failed miserably…TWICE! Didn’t even hit the ball. Then she just threw the cue ball across the table.

FYI, they did the PG-rated version of Futsuu no Anata, and it was about this point in the show that it became apparent the entire catalog was going to be performed.

Queue our next special guest, Mino Monta, who got an amazing reception from the crowd. He had some nice things to say about SDN, then he sat on the couch with the girls from the single. Meetan was totally perving out on Monta-san. They poured him a stiff drink as well. In fact, there seemed to be a lot of alcohol onstage throughout the show. I would like to think it was all real! But before they could perform the song, Rachel came out for her solo while Monta and the girls watched.  Oh, and when they sang Monta-san’s single, the fans’ call for him was louder than the girls!

In the next segment we got Kazue and Cha-min’s new songs. I was so excited to hear Chaki’s new song! I love Kazue, but I thought her song was just okay. Some great moments from the next segment…

Meetan chasing Ijiri around the stage with her whip during Jaujama Lady, the champagne pouring going on behind Onedari Champagne. And of course seeing everyone doing Tamanegi!! Next was the Nachu MC, where she did her impressions. We got to hear a little Daruma, Natsuko/Akiko, Chaki, a few others I can’t remember. The Natsuko/Akiko one was classic, with Natsuko sounding like an airhead and Akiko sounding dopey! And of course her big finale, Takamina.

I think it was at this pont when the speeches started between songs. Various members, featuring the former AKB girls talking about what the graduation meant to them. But then things would lighten up and they would go into the next song. They did both of their AKB covers, whh pretty much sealed that all of their songs would be performed. Oh, and I absolutely loved 1 Gallon no Ase“. Very cute song! When they performed Aisureru Tame ni, each gen’s members shared their respective lines. And since they had so many members on stage, the spelled out SDN simultanously instead of the letters one at a time. With that, the regular set had finished.

It had been predetermined, and communicated by a note on a white glowstick that the graduation committee would lead the encore, and it would be done as SDN…FORTY-EIGHT! It was deafening! At points it was so loud that you couldn’t hear the words anymore.

The first encore finished up all the songs remaining, with tearful goodbye’s from select members. The cameras would often cut to the girls that were crying the hardest. My poor little Chaki! At one point I thought she was going to fall over she looked so distressed! Also, one of Nonti’s MCs was a rundown of chart positions for all of the singles and the album, and a big thank you to the fans for supporting them. But when Kodoku finished and the girls left the stage it was obvious the show wasn’t over since they hadn’t done their official graduation song yet! Cut to the longest and loudest ever “Encoree” I have ever experienced. And then…

Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring. The Bach music returns?  OMG, it is really graduation time!

I forget the order that everything happened. But at one point Nonti was beside herself crying. Pretty much everyone was crying onstage. I think it was this point that the girls went silent and all you could here was pretty much the entire audience sobbing. It was freaking amazing! I wondered what tgsk thought when this happened. Perhaps he was crying too?  Oh, I forget. He was busy Google Plussing.   Anyway, the girls came out all dressed in white. First they performed their new single. Then came the “final call” Nonti asked that all of the girls say their name one last time onstage, and the crowd call it back. It was so hard, I was so choked up that I was even having trouble speaking. But I muscled it up when my favorite members’ turns came.

Finally, they performed Owaranai Encore, and we all lit our last white glowstick. Although the effect from where I was sitting was slightly dimmed because the stage was fully lit at the time. Then, for the fans, a second dose of Kodoku na Runner. After a tearful double-bow with a huge SDN chant in the middle, they left the stage. Meetan being the last one to go. They did a closeup on her face…she was crying her eyes out.

As you left NHK there was a beautiful collage with messages from all the members. It was really hard to get close to it, but I did get a side shot to give you an idea…

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Final thoughts…

At first I was thinking that management really “phoned in” the planning for this concert. It seemed kinda hokey in the beginning. But as the show progressed I started to see how perfect it really was. Pretty much all of the MCs and skits were unscripted. Tons of goofy things were happening as the show worked up to it’s emotional finale. At the end I think everyone in the audience had to be satisfied. It was a fitting goodbye. Perfect in it’s imperfection. The girls being completely authentic. It was everything SDN is all about, as far as I am concerned. And when you make an entire audience cry, you are doing something right.

And I think about the select few that called SDN a “failure”, and that their concept was “off the mark”, “too sexy”, and whatever else. I don’t think those people truly saw what SDN48 was really about. Sure, they had a sexy side. But in truth that was just a small piece of SDN. they were about fun, they were about authenticity. And more than any other spoke in the AKB wheel, they were about a true comeraderie with their fanbase. Perhaps it was because they are more mature, but the bond they had with their fans was very strong. The manifestation of that was this unbelievable concert that I will remember forever.

And suffice it to say, I will never again be able to listen to that Bach piece without thinking of SDN.

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I did a couple of other neat things this weekend, I will post about them later.

CK in Tokyo

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Concerts, SDN48 CK in Japan Fall 2011, Part 3…My Most Amazing Theater Experience…Ever!

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Check out the new billboard outside of Akihabara Station, and very close to the AKB48 Cafe.  AKBaby…LOLZ!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I finally won a show at the AKB48 Theater.  SDN48, and Chenchu’s birthday celebration.  I have never won fewer than 2 theater shows on a trip, and I didn’t win anything for SKE.  So I have a week left to try to win at least one more.  But before that…

When I reported on my last trip in June, I had promised to post all of my “Gets”.  However, I completely bricked on it.  So let’s get this out of the way early.  I have actually purchased a few more things that I have yet to take photos of.  I picked up the new releases from Not Yet and SKE48.  I have also gotten a few DVDs, and a bunch of random photos.  And here are a couple of items I am particularly excited about…

SKE Halloween photosets.  Ooh, scary…but cute!  I got Masanya and Churi

The DumpShow DVD was high on my priority list.  I was happy it wasn’t sold out when I got here.  Also, I finally found an autographed version of Wasamin and Komorin’s DVD, for about one-third of what they go for on Yahoo Japan Auction.

Anyhow, back to the action.  I won a show, and even I didn’t know how special my evening was about to be…

SDN48 Yuuwaku no Garter Performance 11/17

Finally I won a show this trip!  My 28th theater show all time, and 11th SDN show.  I was beginning to get worried.  But fate somehow works in mysterious ways.  Remember last weekend I lost out on a bunch of Ohori Megumi handshake tickets because she cancelled for the event…

I won via Ippan , which I like a lot more than Enpou because you have the chance to get a really good seat via the lottery.  Enpou is always last seated row center.  That said, I have ALWAYS had horrible lottery luck when it comes to the AKB48 theater.  I have only once been as close as the 4th row, and that time I had one of the pillars blocking about 75% of the stage view.  Twice I have been the last person into the theater.  I went upstairs around an hour before the show because I wanted to see the birthday committee and their flower arrangement.  I have been to every Chenchu birthday show for SDN, so I actually know a few of the committee members.  Anyhow, the flowers were beautiful, and I was glad to see a few friends there for the show.

I got ticket #46, and went to queue up.  I passed the time by filling out a Yui birthday card and figuring out how the birthday glowsticks were going to work within the show.  By the way, they are now playing SDN songs on the sound system before the show. I know that sounds appropriate. But in the early days of SDN they used to play soft jazz, which I always thought was a totally cool move, not to mention fitting for the theme. Some sexy Jazz, YEAHHH!  They eventually started the seat lottery, #160-169 were called in first.  Oh well, this will surely be another horrible seat for me…

2nd call, #40-49.  OMFG!!!!  I am going to have a great seat.  I hustled in as quickly as I could (you aren’t allowed to run in the theater)  Most of the front row was taken, but 2nd row center was available.  Just as I was about to sit down I noticed the two guys front and center were sitting on 3 seats.  So I jumped up there and grabbed the seat in between.  Front row freakin’ center baby!!!  I didn’t care that I was sandwiched in between these two guys.  This show was going to be awesome!!!

So rule #1:  When big gaijin is sitting front row center, he is going to get plenty of attention from the girls.  Now I know this might be a very silly time to complain, but being in this position actually made things complicated.  Meetan is my oshimen, so obviously I am going to pay attention to her.  But Hatakeyama Chisaki was there, as was Akiko and of course Chenchu.  I have developed “relationships” with all of them.  Who do I pay attention to?  Who do I scream for?  Will Chaki be unhappy if she is looking at me and I am paying attention to Tan?  Or vice-versa?  Not to mention it seemed as if Akita Kazue and Kohara Haruka were fixated on me through the entire show.  Same with Kondo Sayaka…and Kato Mami.  My head was on a freakin’ swivel!

But I’ll tell ya, with the girls practically performing on top of me, it made the show even more amazing.  I twas also great doing the hand gestures with members doing them right back at me.  A few highlights…

Meetan had her antics in overdrive tonight.  First lusting after Mana Ito during the MC with Nachu.  Then during the late MC having to be held back from attacking Chen when she layed on the floor.  Chen actually kissed the stage, lied down, then Meetan went after her doing “The Pantsu Dance”  You had to see it.  It was so silly!  Later during Vampire, Meetan winked at me and stuck her tongue out, then she licked Yukarin!  By the way, I didn’t see this but apparently Meetan’s bra snapped during “Best By”, and she had to run offstage before her top fell off.  She talked about it on her blog right after the show.  If only…

Here is a link to her blog post with a couple of pics of her “wardrobe malfunction”.

“I’m Sure” was done by Mamitan and Kohara.  I had never seen that pair do that song before.  Also, this was a U-18 show, although I didn’t really see anyone under 18 in the audience.  But that meant I got to see the PG-rated version of “Futsuu no Anata”.  I actually did the crossed-arm “X” along with the girls.  I don’t know if the fans normally do that, but it just felt like the thing to do.   Chen did “Yuuwaku no Garter” with Yukarin and Kazue.  I was hoping this would be my chance to get a garter.  But it wasn’t even close.  Chen came down the middle and heaved her garter about 4 rows back!

High-Touch was great, although they were pushing us through very quick.  I got the best reactions from the girls I mentioned above…Kazue, Kohara, Akiko, Sayanee (finally!), Chaki, Yukarin (who might have remembered my antics at her DVD event last year) and finally Meetan, who like usual gave my hand a quick squeeze.

So it’s funny how things work out.  Here I was all bummed out that I didn’t get to do handshakes with Meetan last weekend, and today I probably got more Meetan facetime than I would have gotten with all of the handshake tickets combined!  Go figure.

Without a doubt, and to no surprise for obvious reasons, that was the best SDN48 show I ever saw!

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, SDN48, SKE48 CK in Japan (Yes again!) Fall 2011 Day One…Handshaking Already???

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Time to get this party started.  Yep, I am back in Tokyo…Yatta!!!

Just off the plane, totally jetlagged and slightly hungover…I made it over to the venue for the 12+ hour Kaze wa Fuiteiru handshaking extravaganza. I had 29 tickets, but only 25 were usable since my precious Tan decided to play hookie from the event. MEETAN!!! :asdfgh: Actually, I think I heard a rumor that Meetan was doing a gravure photoshoot, but I’m not sure for what.  Maybe a DVD?  Don’t quote me on that.  Just something I heard.  By the way, they decided to do this event in the larger part of the convention center. Problem is that it is on the opposite side of the property, FAR from any restaurants and the train station. All they had were two drink vending machines for what seemed like a million people!

So without Ohori Megumi I stll had 25 usable tickets for 12 girls. Almost all of which I had previous handshaking experience with. At this point pretty much all of the girls that I get tickets for know me because I stick with my Top 6 AKB members, Top 3 SKE and Top 5 SDN. Makes it easier with my limited Jp skillz. Unfortunately I got shut out on Churi tix. But that’s okay since I will see her next week at another event.

AKB48 Kaze wa Fuiteiru HS Event at Makuhari Messe 2011/11/12

MORNING SLOTS

Anna Ishida (SKE) Poor Anna, she had the shortest line of anyone I went to all day. In fact there was no line. What’s up with that? She is super-adorable and super-genki! She was waving to me as I walked down to her station. She s so cute. I told her that I loved Bowling Ganbou and her “woof woof” song (I couldnt remember the name of the song she does the dog imitation in, LOL). She is just so cute and enthusiastic.

Nito Moeno: Most all of the girls were wearing very fall-like outfits. Moeno looked very pretty, her dress was reminiscent of the Kazefui PV. I told her I was happy to be in Japan and was happy to see her. On my 2nd ticket I tried to tell her that she was funny in Bimyo, but I got all jumbled up trying to explain which skit I liked (hehe). Anyway, I got out that she was funny. Hopefully she didn’t take it the wrong way

Komori Mika: I had morning and late afternoon tickets for Mikapon. Wow, Komori now remembers me. That is awesome. She always seems like such a blank slate, that I can never tell. But this time she knew me for sure! We talked alot about Himechi (her adorable cat) I told her that Watarirouka Seven is THE BEST Watarirouka! She liked that. She wore a red one-piece dress, but she had on a black Satin Jacket over it which looked very cool. In fact at one point I told her she looked Kakkoi! Funny thing was, Amina was next to her and had on almost the same outfit! At the end of the day, I am happy I have taken the relationship with my #2 AKB girl to the next level!

Katayama Haruka: Wearing an off-white flowing dress, with hair extensions and a cute hat. Haa looked very pretty. With my first ticket I went up one of her regulars. He introduced me as one of his friends. Haa told him that she has seen me lots of times. WIN! Anyway, I pretty much told her how pretty she looked, and everytime she gets to be on AKBingo! she is very funny, and they should put her on more TV shows!

Tanabe Miku: She had her slot switched from evening to morning because she was flying to Singapore that afternoon. First of all, I barely recognized her! Tanamin is such a chameleon. Her hair was dark, styled differently and she was wearing Prince of Tennis cosplay. I guess she wanted to have on comfortable clothes for her flight. But the result was totally adorable. Which I told her. I also congratulated her on Baby Gamba, and asked her to say Hello to all of my friends in Sgp. So Sgp people, feel free to mention me if you guys see her! BTW, end result…I get a brief mention on her blog

http://ameblo.jp/tanabe-miku/entry-11076233056.html#main

I have mentioned before that I originally had a hard time connecting with Tanamin. Usually when this happens I sort of give up on handshakes with that member (See Harukyan, Nakayan, Sasshi) But I have always stuck with Tanamin because I have liked her pretty much since the beginning of Team B. She is just so quirky-cute. Just my type!

AFTERNOON SLOTS

Yokoyama Yui: Was dressed very business-casual. Too cute! I’m not sure if she remembered me from before, but I have only met her once before. She likes to try and interview me when I come see her, which is fun but hard! This time she asked me where in America I am from. I told her that I really like Not Yet, and I complimented her on her outfit. On my first ticket I thought she looked tired. But she always seems energetic and enthusiastic during handshakes. I am so happy I decided to start going to her. She is an extremely sweet girl.

Masana Oya (SKE): Yayyy! My SKE Oshi had the cutest little shorts on, showed off her butt very well. BTW, Masanya has a legion of dedicated fans that circled her line ALL DAY! Her queue was always huge! Anyway, I wished her a happy birthday, and I told her I was making my first ever trip to Osaka for the Okie Dokie handshake. The coolest part? At the end of my second ticket with her she said she would see me in Osaka. That meant she understood what I was telling her, and remembered it for later. AWESOME!

Nachu (SDN): Her line, and everything around her is a raging party. She even had Wasamin (who was next to her) cracking up. Anyway, I barely had to say anything to Nachu since she decided to put on a show from the moment I got to her. She even got the OJS security guy involved with talking to me. I highly recommend going to see Nachu if you ever want to have fun during an event. Nachu is great!

Iwasa Misaki: My love fest with Wasamin continues…Of course I had the most tickets for her (five). I would love to get more. But the good news is her line was pretty long for her entire 5 hour shift. Wasamin had a few fans looping her line all day too. She had on a very fall-like dress with huge heels. On my first session I asked her how she got so tall all of a sudden, so she showed me her shoes. (LOL) I got pretty much everything I wanted to say to her out during my five tickets. And the best part? Wasamin did her best to speak English to me the entire time! I thanked her for that. The other best part? How many “I love you’s” I got. One per ticket. And on the last ticket I told her again how much I loved her, how happy she makes me and she would always be my oshimen. She leaned forward and said “I love you too” That’s my baby! <3 <3 <3

Oh! The Minarun moment!!! Just when I was going to queue up for Wasamin, Togasaki came out in his tux on a riser behind the handshaking lanes. The entire venue froze. He then introduced Oba Mina who came out with tears in her eyes to make her announcement, and ask the fans to allow her back into AKB.  It was such an adorable moment. Watching her apologize and requesting permission from the fans. I was in the audience for the Yokohama “agency promotion” announcements last year. Moments like these are just priceless, and unforgettable!

EVENING SLOTS

By this time I was beyond exhausted…and hungry. But I had 5 SDN tickets to get through. Since my friends also had evening tickets I would tough it out!

Hatakeyama Chisaki (SDN): I love Chaki, but I really fumbled what I was trying to say to her. But it’s okay since i have seen her so many times. I was trying to tell her how happy I as about the SDN concert being on the box set DVD, so I could finally watch SDN at home in America. But I just couldn’t get it together (CK fail!) I also told her that I will cheer for Chaki after SDN 1st phase is over! Oh, and I wished her a happy birthday as well. \o/

Akiko (SDN 2nd Gen): My first time actually talking to Akiko, although I have done a few high-touches with her. I told her how cute she looked, anthat she was my favorite in “Tamanegi”. Her response was amazing! She slowly responded “Hontoni???” and put her arms over her head like in the PV. I of course followed suit. Great first handshake experience! Finally…

Chen Qu (SDN): I always greet her with “Niihau”. I wonder how good her English is, since she spoke it to me the entire time. I forget what I said to her since I was so exhausted, but she is always very nice, and beautiful as ever! BTW, Machiko was next to her, so I spent my queue time spying Machipai’s bewbs (hehe).

After that is was tome for the 20 minute walk back to the station and the 40 minute ride back to Tokyo. It was an awesome, yet exhausting experience. And of course unforgettable. This was just my first day in Tokyo. I am here for two weeks. Hopefully I will have more fun stuff to report.

That reminds me…

I received an email from someone with an interesting question.  How can the big fans afford to buy so many CDs over and over again.  Personally, I do it twice a year.  But many fans in Japan do it for every single.  This was my response…

I dont do it every time since I don’t actually live in Japan. I just travel here for the occasional handshake event. This trip is my 7th and 8th such event. ( 29 CDs foir AKB-Kazefui and 13 SKE-OkieDokie) Plus I have been coming here to see AKB for 4 years now. Last trip I had 24 copies of Sakura no Ki ni Narou and 5 copies of the album. I actually threw away 19 of the singles. I’m not sure hany copies of these particular cds I will actually keep, but they are hell to carry so I doubt too many.

I give away some to friends. Sell some of them online, plus I sell some of the photos. It doesn’t take much to make a portion of the money back, but not all. A small price to pay to go to the events. Think about it, is it worth it to pay $300 to have Wasamin tell me she loves me all day? Not to mention getting good facetime with a dozen members? At the end of the day it really isn’t about the CDs at all.

 

 

You see all sorts of people at these events. Some of them buy 1 or 2 CDs, see their favorite member, and go home. Some buy hundreds! You see them with these HUGE stacks of tickets.  How can they afford it over and over again?  To be honest, I haven’t got a clue!

CK in California

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News, SDN48 Is There a “Right Way” to Disband an Idol Act?

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A friend of mine posed that question to me yesterday morning.  It’s a good question.  All things must come to an end eventually, right?  When it comes to SDN48, is this “graduation” a premature move by AkiP?  Or is this precisely the right time.  Would it have been better to say they are graduating tomorrow?  Or is the 6 month farewell a more fitting ending?

I suppose the proverbial “writing on the wall” was there, but most of us didn’t see it.  And why would we?  The mass-graduation of an entire unit is an unprecedented event in the world of XXX48, even if it isn’t unprecedented in the history of AkiP.  But here we are, and the announcement has been made.  In less than six months the SDN48 unit that I love enough to call my favorite of all the “48” acts will be no more.

Or will they?

There have been tons cryptic comments coming from management, and the girls themselves.  We have seen phrases like “The members will be embarking on “A New Stage” in their careers.  New Stage, eh?  Even a casual AKB fan can see the double-meaning in that statement.  We have also been told that the details will be explained on the upcoming episode of Suppon no Onnatachi 2.  Details?  The initial announcement was pretty clear.  So I can’t imagine what details could make this announcement any easier to swallow.  Could it be that management is effing with us???

Lord knows, but I am sure all will be revealed in time.  Once again, this is just part of being an idol fan.  So how do I feel about this recent turn of events?  I have probably seen SDN48 live more than any other Western fan, and my love of Ohori Megumi has been well documented on this blog.  Despite all that, I am not sure how I feel about it.

On one hand, I am sad.  Of course I am!  I am sad because I always looked forward to seeing SDN during my many trips to Japan.  With AKB48’s growing popularity, there was always a good chance I would win at least of couple of SDN shows, even if I got shut out on the core teams.  In a way SDN48 was a sanctuary from all the AKB-craziness.

Not to mention the camaraderie I had developed with my fellow SDN fans.  We knew from the start that ours was an underdog team.  And while the masses pushed and shoved their way into every Team A, K and B show on the schedule, we knew we were experiencing the “best kept secret” at the theater.  We were not obsessed with the loli factor.  We had abandoned the illusion of idol chastity.  Not that it was all about the “sex” factor.  We related to these women on a more equal level because they were our peers.  We saw them for what they really were, adults.  Psychologically it freed the girls up to be themselves onstage.  At least I feel it did.  As a result every SDN show felt more like a party where everyone was involved and having fun.  The fans and the idols alike.  We were all partying together.

What about the girls?  Especially my favorite members?  Will this be the last time I get to say hello to Meetan?  Shake hands with Chaki?  Tell my favorite members how much I support them and am cheering them on?  I don’t know.  Maybe, maybe not.  But I will miss the opportunity I had to do that because it is an important part of the AKB experience.  I know on some level it sounds silly.  They are idols, and I am just one of many fans.  But when it comes to SDN, they have always been underdogs, and I think they really did appreciate the fans who came to see them.  I have been to many AKB-related events, and have shaken hands with many idols.  There is no better feeling than when you feel your support is being truly appreciated and even reciprocated.  Most of my favorite idols hold that position because I got that they appreciated me as much as I appreciated them.

So yeah, I am going to miss all that.  I am worried too.  Worried about what the future might hold for these girls…

Let’s face it, most of the members of SDN have turned the corner when it comes to being an idol.  In fact, that was part of the graduation announcement.  It is time for these women to begin realizing their dreams.  As far as AkiP is concerned, if that dream was merely to be in SDN it just wasn’t good enough.  He wants them to dream bigger, reach higher, go for the brass ring (and any other “ganbatte” phrase)

As for Meetan, she is much closer to 30 than 20.  I also realize that she is MUCH more talented as an actress than a singer.  AKB gave her a wonderful foundation.  Now it is time for her to fully spread her acting wings.  So far she has been doing a pretty good job.  She has acted in multiple stage productions, and she has appeared regularly on television.  She also has a damn good talent agency behind her in Horipro.  In a sense you could argue that being in SDN is holding her back.  The silver lining when it comes to “My Precious Tan”?  I feel confident she has the tools to have a fruitful post-AKB career.

When it comes to Chaki, I am not sure since I honestly don’t know what her future goals are.  She was a young gravure idol who sang in a small group pre-SDN.  She is a very good singer, and an even better dancer.  But is that the direction she wants to go in life?  I guess we will find out in due time.  I absolutely adore Chaki, and will truly miss her if I can’t see her anymore.

My guess is that we will see some of the girls acting, modeling, singing and “laughing it up” on variety shows (Hello Nachu!)  But sadly, for many of the members this will probably be the end of the line for them in show business.

So is this the “right time” to be graduating SDN?  I don’t know that I am qualified to make that call.  In the five years I have been an idol fan I have always said “trust the process”.  I don’t see this turn of events as being any different, even if it does involve a group I hold dear to my heart.  AkiP has chosen this moment for a reason.  Only he and the people close to him know what that reason is.  Although I doubt it was merely because “he doesn’t have time for SDN” as many have speculated.  This guy farts out idol units and concepts.  So it isn’t about time  And it isn’t about a lack of success either.  A failure???  Really?

To nobody’s surprise, this announcement brings out the self-titled experts who have deemed SDN to be a huge failure.  Per usual, most of these experts have never been within 5000 miles of the Donki.  They have never seen a show.  They have never met the girls.  They certainly have never been behind the scenes.  So how are they a failure?  Did AkiP call them that?  I don’t remember that blog post.  Was there an expectation that wasn’t met?  How do you know?  I don’t care how smart you think you are.  Unless you are part of AKB’s think-tank, you don’t know shit.  So thank you for your two-penny opinion.  Now stop talking out of your ass!

From where I am standing, the girls did exactly what they were asked to do when it came to SDN.  They worked hard, they put on a great show 2-3 nights a week at the AKB48 Theater.  They sold out every show, not to mention the fact that their tickets became harder and harder to win as time passed.   They put up respectable sales numbers for their singles.  They connected with their fans in a major way.  AND…they never had any scandals.  I fail to see the failure in that.  If there was some sort of goal that wasn’t being met, we as fans weren’t made aware of it.

There is obviously a lot more to be told in this story, and SDN’s management will reveal it in time.  We can all speculate about the future of the current members and the future of SDN48 as a brand.  But at the end of the day we are all just guessing.  In the meantime I plan on enjoying the group for at least another 5 1/2 months.  After that, we’ll see.

I will be heading to Tokyo next month for AKB48’s big handshake event, and I have plenty of Meetan, Chaki, Chen, Nachu and Akiko tickets.  So I will get to tell them how I feel in person.  Not to mention this farewell concert being planned.  I am definitely putting that on my calendar.

CK in California

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