Let’s wrap this up with the one other event I attended during my most recent stay in Tokyo…
AKB48 “Give Me Five” handshake event at Tokyo Big Sight 4/8
This was the second day of the AKB handshake weekend. On Saturday I had decided to just do a few tickets so 1) not to tire myself out from handshaking and 2) give me the option of doing something else over the weekend. As fun as they are, I must admit that these handshake events are physically and mentally tiring. Not only are you on your feet for like 12 hours straight, but for me trying to come up with enough stuff to say in Japanese can be a mental drain. And to be honest I probably fail as much as I succeed. Not that it matters…
The way I see it, the girls are trying to make every fan as happy as possible. At least that is what I get from their blog and G+ comments. So while some time I might confuse them with what I say, they probably find it funny watching me struggle. Something like “I don’t know what he was trying to say, but I am glad he was happy to see me”
At the end of the day I get across what is most important to me…that I am their fan and I support them. Plus I get to shake their hand. And they definitely know I exist after the interaction. One of the advantages of being a bumbling foreign fan. Anyway, onto the action…
This was going to be a full day with 20 tickets! For a change of pace, I decided to add some new girls to my handshake menu on this day. Some went great, others…you’ll see.
Beginning with Slot 1 (Congratulating Maeda)
Sasaki Yukari: I got the idea to meet her after her stint as Eguchi Aimi at Seibu Dome. I simply introduced myself and told her that I thought she was great. She was very sweet, and seemed genuinely happy to meet me. Very nice girl.
Maeda Atsuko: Since she announced her pending graduation I was so happy to have this ticket! I wanted to congratulate her and tell her I will support her in the future. And that I did. She was dressed very summery and casual for some reason. She thanked me in English. I am just glad I got one more opportunity to say Hi!
Slot 2 (Seeing girls I had already seen)
Komori Mika: I had already used my wrestling material the previous day. So I just decided to wish her luck with the new Watarirouka single. And I reminded her that I believe WH7 is the best Watarirouka. It has taken a little time over the last couple years, but Mikapon has really warmed up to me. I am thankful for that.
Oya Masana/Ishida Anna: I pretty much already said to both of them everything I could think of last week in Osaka. So this time I pretty much welcomed them to Tokyo. BTW, Anna looked kind of tired. So it was merely a chance to get a little more face time with them.
There were two lunch slots between 2-3, where the trainees and lesser popular girls took over. For some reason Wasamin stayed through these slots. But next to her were a bunch of SKE kks and Team E members. Some of them rarely had visitors, so they were interacting with Wasamin’s long line. For some reason Team E’s Takagi Yumana took a real interest in me on both days. And you know what, I have always kinda liked her. So I guess next time I am over I will have to get tickets for her!
Slot 3 (2 more first-time handshake experiences)
Ichikawa Miori: I had finally scored a Miorin ticket after failing a couple of times previously. She is awesome! I told her I was an American, and asked her how was Washington DC? She started jumping up and down totally how you might imagine. I then joined her in a round of TON TON WashingTON! I have to see her again!
Yokoyama Yui: My third time seeing Yui. She was wearing what looked like some sort of snakeskin jacket? It looked pretty cool. I pretty much told her that and said I had a ticket to see her the next day at the theater. Once again Yui attempted to engage me in some sort of conversation. Unfortunately I never understand what she is trying to ask me.
Oota Aika: I had been warned that Lovetan can sometimes be moody, especially if she is unsure how much you like her. So my biggest tactical error was forgetting that she would be positioned right next to Wasamin, and probably saw me living in her line. I know she spotted me at least a couple of times. So when I got up to her she seemed like she was on “autopilot”. As I was introducing myself she just chopped in “Hello, Nice to Meet You”. I stammered away as she continued with the English pleasantries. I think I said something about loving Watarirouka Hashiritai until I got pushed out by staff. I have a feeling she was thinking “get outta here, Wasafan!” Oh well, maybe next time I will try Ayarin.
Slot 4 (Moar Wasalove)
Nito Moeno: Simply another “Long Time No See” and “You Look Cute” moment since I have seen a lot of Moeno lately. But it was a great strategy anyway as it set the table for all of me interactions with her at the Team K show on Monday.
Iwasa Misaki: I had four Wasatickets for this day. Three in the lunch slot earlier, and concluding with one in this slot. For the first two we just exchanged pleasantries and I told her how she always looks so cute. But for the third I told her that I hoped for a second solo single, and I would definitely come to support her if it happened. She sort of jumped up and said Yayy!
That set up the final ticket, which I saved for the end of her last slot. I just hate the idea of being out of Wasamin tix and her still being there. Plus, I usually get sort of choked up when I know it will be my last chance to talk to her on the trip. But I went in right after Pandadash who got into the Hillary-inspired “We are friends” interaction with her. He then pointed to me waiting on deck and said “We are friends”. So the three of us are laughing and I forgot all about sentimentality. As I walked in Wasamin said to me in English “We are besto friends?” I know in relationships that can be the kiss of death, but I was thrilled that she said that. I replied “Mochiron, I love you Wasamin” She said “I love you too” as staff pushed me out one last time. Anyway, great finish to what ended up being 13 handshake experiences with her over three events!
Slot 4-A (A visit to the Grand Canyon)
Hirata Rina: I just had to visit the one “American” in the group. As I greeted her in English I thanked her for teaching Wasamin the “We are friends” line. She said “Thanks for coming!” I told her that the fans out West are all rooting for her. She said “Oh, I am from Arizona!” I replied “I know Kiddo, I am from California.” I heard her say “Whoah” as I got pushed out. To be honest it felt slightly creepy. Not because she wasn’t nice. She is! But iwasn’t like meeting an idol, it was like shaking hands with a cute, young American girl. LOL!
Tanabe Miku: I always look forward to seeing what Tanamin is wearing. And she did not disappoint. I am not sure what she was cosplaying, but she looked totally hawt. And that is basically what we talked about, how cute her outfits are.
Slot 5 (As the girls begin to get really tired!)
Sato Sumire: Another first time meeting. (If you don’t count “sort of” interacting with her in New York) She was sitting down, obviously tired. So I merely introduced myself to her and told her whe I was from. She brightened up and said “Hajimemashite” She is a nice girl.
Katayama Haruka: At this point I was so tired of trying to think of stuff to say. At the last minute I remembered she is part of the “Art Club”, but I had no idea how to say that I just remembered GakiKame doing that “Arto” thing on Momusu’s old TV show. So after I said Hi and good to see her again I blurted out “Arto!” She replied “Arto?” so I repeated it She repeated it back again in question. ROFL! So I just said “Gomen gomen” as I got pushed out. That was okay. I was all handshaked out at this point.
And that was it! I didn’t do any tickets for slot 6 because…I know better. And as usual I will give a list of girls I got a good look at due to proximity of girls I had tickets for or simply running into them behind the lines…
Kojima Haruna, Miyazaki Miho, Sato Amina, Kuramochi Asuka, Akimoto Sayaka, Masuda Yuka, Ishida Haruka, Oya Shizuka, Fujie Reina, Nonaka Misato, Iriyama Anna, Shimazaki Haruka + a few other trainees I couldn’t name.
So in summary I think it was a great trip! In 12 days I got to… (links attached)
-go to the SDN48 graduation concert
-see the Iwasa Misaki Mujineki event twice with 4 handshakes
-go to SKE48′s Kataomoi Finally Handshake event
-go to AKB48′s GM5 handshake event over two days
-attend Ohori Megumi DVD release event plus 2-shot
-win a Team K show at the theater
-run into Momoiro Clover standing on the street in Toyosu
And not the least of which, I got to hang out with Pandadash and Koba. Plus I finally met Tenkun (at the Wasamin event), Issa (at GM5 event), HoneyRoastedPeanuts (in Shizuoka), Jouttex (at Mujineki, GM5 and Meetan events) I also met some of my old friends from the early SDN days. And I can’t forget the group of Hong Kong fans who also came out for the handshake event. Everyone was great!
So yes, a fun time!
To finish this up I plan on posting a “gets” post. Yes, I promise this time!
CK in Tokyo