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

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

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

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

Slot 2

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

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

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

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

SLOT 3

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

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

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

SLOT 4

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

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

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

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

 

CK in Tokyo

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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, NMB48, SKE48 CK in Japan Summer 2013 Part I…The Handshake Marathon

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Long Time No Post.  Well, long time no Japan trip.  It took awhile, but I made it back.  I am here for the AKB Festival and Senbatsu Sousenkyo at Nissan Stadium.  I will also be attending the Kenkyuusei Live at Budokan, and we will see what other fun I can find.  But for starters the other big reason I came to Tokyo.  Plenty of handshakes and Wasamin facetime!!!
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AKB48 So Long! and Sayonara Crawl Handshake Events June 1-2, Makuhari Messe

Just flew in from San Fran. Eighteen hours later I began a two day extravaganza of handshakes for the So Long! and Sayonara Crawl singles. The weekend at Makuhari Messe was filled with fun, sweet, and insane moments. There were many lessons to be learned as well. I had 48 (hehe) tickets for the entire weekend, including 18 for Wasamin. So there is much to talk about. I wasn’t alone either. Accompanying me to the event were Tensai, Memorybreak, and Pandadash. We also ran into Jouttex, MecchaMelon, Shining Ojisan and Drazaar!

 

This is going to be a long ass post, but totally worth the effort….

 

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The Sayonara Clusterfuck…
As busy as we were on Saturday, nothing could have prepared us for the insanity of Sunday’s Sayonara Crawl Event. It seems that management wasn’t totally prepared either. Slots were running overtime for just about every girl, which meant the next slot would start late. Everyone was missing out on handshakes due to overly long lines and late starts. I missed out on using 4 tickets. However three of them were due to my chance to get a 2-shot with Togasaki. Yes! Togasaki 2-shot FTW! And his English is pretty good too.

tgsk2

Aside from Dasu, I gave up on using any tickets for Senbatsu members. So that meant I lost out on talking to Mayuyu and Tomochin. The other two were Yui and Lemon, who I got to see on Saturday. So I was okay with that. I don’t know what they are going to do about the next three Sayonara Crawl Events, because I am sure it will be more of the same. I am pretty sure management fielded complaints from some of the fans.
But you know what???
What did they expect? Had they thought it through they would have known this would happen. Jeez, I even predicted it, warning my friends before the day even started. But I am not going to lay the blame on management, fan over-zealousness contributed to it just as much. Oh, and those Divas that like to be 30-45 minutes late to their slots? They are partly responsible too. This is the backlash of the single selling so well, so everyone will have to buck up and get the job done for the sake of the team.Anyway, those of you who are going to future Sayonara Crawl events. Take this as fair warning. EVERY line is really long, even girls who normally have short queues. Plan accordingly, and prepared not to have much downtime. Rest, food will cost you handshakes.

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Trying Something New…
This trip I had resolved to meet a lot of new girls. I have lost a few faves to graduation, and frankly it is fun to mix it up a bit. The following members were among the girls I had first-time handshakes with. They were all very nice, although it was pretty standard faire…

 

SATURDAY
Yamada Nana (NMB Team M): Very sweet. Even prettier in person. She was kind of quiet with me, perhaps because she didn’t know me?
Kawaei Rina (AKB Team A): I was surprised to see her in a frilly dress. I am more used to her in casual attire. I love her smile. I told her I loved her Shukan AKB special episode. Oh, and I yelled “Kawaei!” at her ala Okamura-san from Ninety Nine.
Iwatate Saho (AKB-kks): Genki personality. Looked cute in her jammies, which were the standard AKB-kks attire for the weekend.

SUNDAY
Takahashi Juri (AKB Team A): I expected her to act silly as that was what Pandadash told me she would do, but she was surprisingly normal. She was excited to tell me she had been to Washington DC!
Yagura Fuuko (NMB Team M): I told her she was great in the HA! PV.
Uchiyama Natsuki (AKB-kks): Has personality for miles. She really isn’t my type, although I can see why Tensai likes her so much. I spent the handshake telling her how much Tensai loves her, BWAHAHAHA.

 

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Old Reliables…
There are certain members that I will always enjoy saying hello too. Moeno was on that list, but unfortunately she is gone. Haachan is also on the list, but I lost every time I tried to win a ticket for her. So I guess talking to Haa wasn’t meant to be this trip. I did see her once, but I ducked so she wouldn’t see me.

These are girls who always acknowledge that they know who I am, which is nice.

SATURDAY
Yokoyama Yui (AKB Team A): is always a good handshake. I told her I was sorry her concurrency with NMB ended, since I loved Kitagawa Kenji. She kind of laughed it off like “Don’t worry about it”
Ichikawa Miori (AKB Team B): She never really says anything, she just “Oohs”, “Ahhs” and bounces around. It is adorable. Later on (after my meeting with her) she changed into her OKL48 outfit. I was so bummed I didn’t get to talk to her while she wore it, although I got a closeup look since she was right next to Wasamin.
Oya Masana (SKE Team S): Was wearing the cutest shirt. I asked her about it, and she responded in English “This is me!” pointing to the cartoon character. I then realized it was her birthday shirt. Duhhh.

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SUNDAY
Ishida Anna (SKE Team KII): Looked absolutely gorgeous and dare I say, Sexy! I have long felt she is one of the prettier members. Similar to Yui, I told her I would miss her in Team B.
Hirata Rina (AKB Team K): Actually this is only my second time meeting her. I have resolved to calling her “Arizona”. Anyway, I congratulated her on her promotion and told her that the foreign fans were rooting for her. She is getting really popular. Her queue was pretty busy, unlike the first time I saw her. Then again, it WAS Sunday.
—–

Now for the most notable experiences. These are the moments I will remember for a lifetime! And I am starting with the best (or worst) experience depending on how you look at it…

 

The Craziest Handshake Ever! (Saturday, Slot 7)
Not surprisingly, it was Matsumura Kaori (SKE-kks). But it wasn’t only Kaotan that made this experience so insane. As I queued up I assessed her surroundings. Kaotan was wearing an oversized t-shirt. Quite casual for a handshake event. Then again, most of the AKB kenkyuusei were wearing pajamas, so…

Kobayashi Ami (SKE Team E) was to the left, with a very short queue. Yakata Miki (SKE Team KII) is to her right. I’m thinking “Damn! She is adorable. I need to meet her next time out.” As I get closer to the front of Kaotan’s queue, I hear someone yelling at me in English. “Hello! HELLO!!! What’s your name???” It is Mikitty, who has now spotted me in the queue. She was determined to get my attention. I began responding. She asks where I was from. Do I like SKE? Then, Saito Makiko (SKE Team E) who is next to Mikitty gets into it. She asked me something that I couldn’t hear. Although I swear it sounded like a fluent English question. Makki and Mikitty start yelling at me to say Japanese things. “Talk Japanese!” I am completely at a loss. My problem is that I “prep” what I am going to say before I meet the girls, and this interaction is screwing me up royally.
Now as this is happening I managed to get to the front of the queue. I am being called to Kaotan, but still yelling over to Mikitty. Kaotan grabs my hands and I totally blank on what to say. I stammer out something about her t-shirt and that I want her to get into Senbatsu. She begins pointing at her face and asks me something I don’t get. Then Kaotan starts screaming “WHY? WHY? WHY?” Why do I like her? As I am going “Uhh, errr, umm” She then starts screaming “I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU!!!” as the guards are dragging me out. I looked up long enough to see Mikitty and Makki laughing at me.
As I get behind the lines I am red in the face as Kaotan is still hanging out the back screaming “I LOVE YOU” while all the other fans are looking at me and laughing too. Oh gawd, I was so embarrassed. I wanted a do-over! I really did think it was a disaster. But after I told everyone about it they thought it was a total WIN! Funny, it didn’t feel that way at the time. But looking back, I guess it was memorable!…

—–

 

The Party known as Tani Marika! (Sunday, Slot 3)
“Shot Out of a Cannon” is the most apt description for her. Tani Marika (HKT-kks) walked out of the back area, screaming hello to every queue, the guards, the other girls…everyone! Passed her lane, went down to yell hello to more people as the guards rush over to bring her back to her own lane. Like the rockstar that she is, she proceeds to address not only her queue, but the queues on both sides of her. She, like a few of the other HKT-kenkyuusei were wearing sexy maid outfits. She looked smokin’ hawt.

 

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Every fan is getting a handshake filled with shrieks, screams, squeeing, joking, sexy posing. As I got up there I told her that I thought she was great and that she is my favorite member in HKT. She responded “Honto??? I Love You!” Once again, the other fans are laughing. A lot of fans love to see how the girls react to foreigners. She is awesome!!! Just everything about her. She is so over the top that she almost makes Dasu look like Paruru by comparison…I swear!
Oh, and did I mention she is Smokin’ Hawt?
Now here is the even funnier part. Later on I am standing outside the Wasamin queue. A local fan asks me if I am the guy who loves Wasamin #1 and Marika #2. Huh? where did this come from? I found out after my handshake ended that this rumor began floating around the HKT queues as later on another fan asked me the same thing. Too funny. Oh well, I guess I will have to make it true…
CK’s Ranker (Updated)
1. WASAMIN! <3 <3 <3 
2. MARIKA <3

—–

 

More Great First Impressions…
Kawakami Rena (NMB Team M) (Saturday, Lunch Slot) Not that we said anything of major substance. But she is absolutely adorable, and that baby-girl voice of hers is insane!

 

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Maeda Ami (AKB Team K) (Saturday, Slot 3) After watching her butcher “San Francisco” at the NOTTV filming on Friday, we had something to talk about. Yes, Tensai and I got a lot of attention at Anta Dare. But that’s for another writeup. It wasn’t so much the handshake that did it. It was later on. She was next to Wasamin, and paused to take a drink. As Aamin turned around she saw me standing right in front of her. She wrinkled her nose and sort of winked at me. Just a quick fishing during her water break. I love it!
I would seriously consider meeting both of them again.

 

—–

 

The Paruru Experience (Saturday, Lunch Slot)
Paruru completely lived up to expectations, meaning that you should have no expectations when meeting her. Now I love Paruru exactly as she is, and I have been saying for months that I hope she gives me the classic “Salty Paru Experience”. I walked in, she had her usual distant smile on her face. I greeted her…no discernible reaction. I told her where I was from…no discernible reaction. I told her that she is great on Saturday Night Child Machine…she sort of raised her eyebrows in acknowledgement. I said something like Paruru is perfect…she softly responded “Arigatou” as I got pulled out.

At the end of the day it was what it was. That’s Paruru. She reminds me of former members Gussan, Maachan, as well as early Komorin. They were all very similar experiences. I don’t like her any less because she just stands there like a stone. However, I can’t say that I am overly excited to do a handshake event with her again. For me girls like Dasu, Kaotan, Tani and Wasamin are a lot more fun.
—–

Let’s Go Fishing!
It’s not a complete handshake event without being fished a few times. I assured myself of getting fished a bit with Suda and Milky tickets. But it is also fun when you get fished unexpectedly. Girls like Kaotan and Marika are “over the top” fishing girls ala Dasu. Then sometimes you get the subtle approach like Milky, and surprisingly, Nattsun.

(Saturday, Slot 1) Kojima Natsuki (AKB Team B) fishing? You bet she does. She is super sweet, and so nice. She greeted me and asked where I was from. Then she asked if my Japanese was good. When I told her it wasn’t she switched to broken English. Thanked me for coming while batting her eyelids. She definitely put me under her spell.
On to Watanabe Miyuki (NMB Team N) (Saturday, Lunch Slot) I have never met Milky before, but I have heard from others (including Tensai) that meeting her will leave you dizzy. I walked in and she gives me that classic Milky look…weaving her magic spell I guess. I am saying whatever I am saying, and she just breaks in with a soft “I love You”. But I was expecting that, so I deflected it and kept going with what I wanted to say. That’s fine with Milky, she will just keep “upping the ante” until she nails you. So as I continue she then cuts in with “Cute…You Cute” while pointing to her dimples. I stopped dead in my tracks and said “kaaawaiiiii” as I got pushed out. Milky Wins…as always.
Suda Akari (SKE Team S) (Sunday, Lunch Slot) Judging by handshake queues you would think that Dasu is the Top member of SKE. Her line totally dwarfs Jurina’s, and is easily as long as Rena’s. This was the first “Sayonara Crawl” event, which we knew would be insane because of the huge amount of theater versions sold.
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So yeah, over one hour in Dasu’s queue. It didn’t help that she was 40 minutes late to the slot either. Good thing this was the lunch slot, which has a break afterwards. Standing in that line left me woozy. The air is so thick inside Makuhari Messe. I just wanted to get out of there. They were pushing fans through quickly as well. Frankly I forget what even happened. I think I told her it was nice to see her again. Oh, and that her preliminary rank was great! Dasu was her usual over the top-genki self. And the next thing I know I’m pushed out. So I raced outside for a little oxygen! It was too bad she didn’t bark at me like last trip.
—–

And the hottest outfit award goes to…

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Tanabe Miku (AKB Team B) (both days). To me she is always a winner when it comes to outfits. I must admit that while I was slightly disappointed with her lack of cosplay on Saturday, she totally outdid herself Sunday as she came out dressed as Katsuragi Mitsato from Evangelion. Red leather jacket with the matching hat. Skin tight black from her midriff down. It totally accented her slender body. I know Tanamin isn’t that popular. But jeez, when she cosplays she is Uber-Sexy! Sometimes I am at a loss what to say to Tanamin because she never gets much to do within the group. In fact on Saturday I think I slipped and accidentally called her Wasamin. But on Sunday I managed to ask her about her cosplay, and she told me the character and the anime. It is always great when I can have some sort of actual conversation, although she said the name of the character so quickly that I had to look it up later.

 

—–

 

The Dawn of Komorin
Komori Mika (AKB Team B) (both days) I am so happy I am getting the chance to say goodbye to sweet and adorable Mikapon. I am really gonna miss her unique personality within AKB. Komori is notoriously “spacey” during handshakes. But I have seen her enough that she usually acknowledges me as a familiar face. This weekend was a new experience…

 

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Wow, meet super-genki Mikapon!!! She was bouncy, she was talkative. It was amazing to see her like this. I congratulated her on her decision to graduate and wished her the best in her studies. I stumbled saying graduation in Japanese, and she actualy helped me with the word! According to her, she is thinking of studying in Canada. An English-speaking Komorin? I hope we get a chance to experience that!
—–

Persistence Pays Off!

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Takagi Yumana (SKE Team E) (both days) I first talked to Yumana over a year ago when she kept engaging me while I was queued for Wasamin. That set up a funny experience last year at the “Kiss Datte Hidarikiki” event in Yokohama. After an awkward exchange on Saturday when I said it was nice to see her again and complimented her on her outfit, it left me thinking “Hmm, maybe I don’t connect with her as much as I thought I did” I had two tickets for her on Sunday. I was comtemplating skipping them as I was afraid of more awkwardness. However, the two encounters were great. She acted really excited as I walked up. I talked to her about her KII transfer. I told her how she got my attention when she made AKB Undergirls. It was very smooth and we both were happy. So I’m glad I didn’t skip her.

 

—–

 

Now for my Belle of the Ball…
Iwasa Misaki (AKB Team B) (both days, all day) Jeez, 18 handshake tickets. This is by far the most I have ever had for Wasamin in one weekend. I have always said that I could do an infinite amount when it comes to her, but truthfully I was scared I would run out of stuff to say. The second problem was Wasamin had been posting that she was under the weather. Oh no, was she going to miss out on the weekend? Would I have to eat 18 more handshake tickets???

 

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It started out a little rough. She was definitely happy to see me. I told her that I loved Moshimo Watashi and that I was happy to see her again. She kept giving me her “I love you” responses. She asked me how I was doing. But I noticed something, she hadn’t said my name once in three tickets.
So on the fourth ticket I asked her if she forgot my name…She paused a moment…“Kuuuuris-san!” She had to think about it, but she remembered. That broke the ice for the rest of the day. Later I asked how her throat felt. She said it hurt, but she would be okay. I could sort of see on her face that she was fighting it really hard. This is when I took it to the next level with her, I sort of became her dad…
Next ticket, I came and looked her in the eyes and asked if she was sure she was okay. Slowly, her lower lip puffed out. I said “You aren’t okay, right?” She looked down and the lip puffed out a bit more. If you saw the AKBingo! Diva contest when it was uncovered that she had a throat ailment, you kind of know what I mean. Although in this case Wasamin wasn’t crying. I think she was playing with me a bit. Anyway, I rubbed her hand and told her I loved her. I had a great idea for the next ticket…CK’s Famous Throat Healing Magic!
I came in and immediately told her not to talk. I told her I would do “Kurisu no Noda Magic” I took her hand and began to do these little spells, waving my fingers toward her throat. All the while making little noises. As the guard took me out all I could hear behind me was squeeing from Wasamin and Shiichan, who evidently was watching. Awesome, my little spell worked!!! Little did they know it was really my “Charm Spell”.
For the rest of Saturday I would come in with my finger over my mouth telling her not to talk. And I would just tell her things. Once in a while when I was talking she would just stare at me and repeat “Chris-san…..Chris-san….Chris-san” in a dreamy sort of way. Too cute!

Sunday was more of the same. I asked her how she felt, and she said a little better. But I was sure she really meant that she felt like crap. Evidently I was right since she began losing her voice in Slot 2 (It happened much later in the day on Saturday) I think she medicated during the lunch break because her voice recovered. However, she was still somewhat raspy and her eyes were still a bit glazed. At one point I mentioned that I knew she still felt really bad and got the “Sad, puffy lipped” Wasamin look again. Just melted my heart.

The two funniest moments between me and Wasamin were 1) when I told her I was taking the 2-shot with tgsk and 2) when I told her my two favorite things on Saturday Night Child Machine were her singing…and Paruru’s corner. She laughed hard both times. The best moment was later in the day, after I got my Wasamin birthday shirt from the committee. I changed into it and walked in wishing her a happy birthday. She kept tugging at the shirt, and due to proximity…rubbing my belly. Wasamin!

Finally I went in for my last ticket. I always get choked up when I know this might be the last time I talk to her for a while. I thanked her for being such a trooper this weekend, and told her I was sorry she had to work so much this weekend. I then asked her to please take care of herself and that I am always thinking about her. She thanked me. Then I think she said she was taking English lessons??? Great!!! I hope I inspired her to do that.

 

 

This is why these events are so important to me. Everything else, all those other experiences are just gravy. But my time spent with Wasamin is complete bliss. This weekend was beyond perfect…

Just don’t tell my feet, knees, thighs, Achilles which are all so sore from walking on that concrete floor for two consecutive 12 hour sessions. This is why I am spending half of Monday writing, I can barely walk!!!

Another handshake event in the books. I hope I can do it again soon!

 

 

CK in Tokyo

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NMB48, Television The Thrill of Victory, and the Agony of Defeat…

1 Comment

The human drama of Idol Competition.  This is Star Hime Sagashi Taro, AKA the NMB48 Audition!!!

So for those of you who watched the first episode, raise your hand if you thought it was great…(CK sees many hands in the air)  Yep, I thought so.  It stars the dynamic SKE duo of Jurina and Rena.  But to me the real stars were the girls auditioning.  Oh, and Yamachan as a reporter is pretty funny too.

Like most everyone else, I have picked my favorites, but I was more intrigued by the girls who didn’t get in.  I really felt bad seeing the disappointed looks on so many young girls faces.  I dunno, it just really affected me.  Especially this one…

I’ll be the first to say that she really isn’t idol material.  But I don’t think anyone in the room was more disappointed than her.  I wanted to jump in the TV, give her a big hug and tell her it would all be okay.  Here are more looks of anguish and despair…

Awww, so many broken hearts.  🙁  They’re all so cute.  While I’m at it, how did the next two girls not make it in.  I think this first one is just drop dead adorable.  She has such a cute smile and pretty eyes.  She is just my type! (hehe)

Then there’s good ole’ “glasses-chan”.  That girl has idol written all over her!  How did she not make it to the next round???  I know I’m not the only person who feels that way.  Perhaps if there is enough scuttlebutt around the web she can get a reprieve.  Hey, it has happened before.  Anyway, here are my Top 5 girls from the 105 selected to the next round…

#5: 33/106  The sister of current SKE48 member Saito Makiko.  It may be Jurina’s enthusiasm over her that has me hooked, but I would love to see her make it

#4 105/105  The last girl in the introductions did a cute little bit about Kansai-ben.  It was just so “idol-like” and cute.  She makes me laugh, she gets my vote.

#3: 27/105  The former member of H!P Kansai, Nakayama Nana reminds me of a more mature version of C-ute’s Nakajima Saki.  Already a proven idol (well, sort of)  Her experience would be a great asset.

#2: 83/105  To me she was the cutest of the bunch by far!  What a pretty smile.  She has to be a shoe in to win this audition.  Let’s pray she has at least some singing ability.  And my favorite girl has to be…

#1: 88/105  Awesome voice!  This girl is the second coming of Sato Amina!  She even looks a little bit like her (check the smile)  If she wins she becomes the frontrunner to be my NMB oshi!

That is if my true favorites, the two rejects don’t somehow make it back in.  There had to be a reason why they were so prominently featured in the first episode.  I want to see these girls again sooo much!

C’mon AkiP, you can make it happen!

CK in California


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