Once again due to a bunch of last-minute decisions I found myself in Japan…
It began as nothing more than a voting strategy. I simply wanted to vote for Wasamin in the AKB48 Senbatsu Sousenkyo. I knew the most economical LEGITIMATE way to do that was by ordering the theater edition of AKB48’s upcoming single. So I did. And as long as I was ordering theater editions, might as well reserve some handshake event tickets as well, right? You never know, I might be able to use them after all. Anyway, I would have my voting tickets. That was the main point…
Then AKB48 management announced the Senbatsu Sousenkyo would be taking place in early June. The day before Yuko’s graduation concert and six days after my handshake ticket date. So I thought I would apply for the hell of it. If I won then I might consider going. If I didn’t win well…it just wasn’t meant to be. I put in my application, and whaddya know, I won! Not only that, a friend of mine had an extra ticket to Yuko’s graduation concert. This was working out perfectly except…
The price of airline tickets was higher than I had ever seen it. This could be a deal breaker! I checked multiple sites, multiple airlines. Everything was really pricey. Perhaps this trip idea wouldn’t work out after all. A short time later Wasamin announced an enka event in Fukuyama on the day I was planning to arrive. Hmm, what if I flew in earlier? And what if I flew into Osaka instead? And there it was. Just above my goal price. Direct to Kansai, back home via Incheon. I had to be creative, but I got what I wanted. Everything was perfect. That is, until the Iwate incident…..
Let me backtrack for a moment. Any reader of this blog knows that I have described the details of every idol event I have ever attended while on my many trips to Japan. And it’s true. I have given a rundown of every event I have gone to. Except for one. It was back in November, just after I had a wonderful week of supporting Wasamin’s album release and then visiting Fukuoka/Hakata for the first time. My final event of that trip would be the AKB48 National Handshake event at APIO Iwate.
The reason I didn’t post about it was because it was just a weird experience overall. The venue is a hassle to get to. Nowhere near a train station. It’s like someone dropped a convention center in the middle of the woods. I tried to get there early. But I couldn’t find the shuttle bus. That’s okay, I would take the train instead and walk. From the station I followed what I thought were AKB48 fans. But they ultimately ended up being students walking to University. I was hopelessly lost, not even sure if I knew how to get back to the train station. That is until a kindly bus driver pulled up alongside me on a rural road and gave me a lift until we found a taxi. By the time I finally got to APIO I had missed much of the performance. But I was immediately appeased as they were performing one of my favorite AKB songs that I had never heard live before, Hajimete no Jellybeans. It was also my first time seeing Koisuru Fortune Cookie performed live. What I was really looking forward to the handshake event. So many good lines, and I knew my first ticket would be used on 15th gen. member Tsuchiasu Mizuki. (Wasamin wasn’t at the event) I had such a great experience with Mizuki at her debut. Surely she would have the same fond memories, right?
It took forever to even do my first handshake. A total fail I might add. I went to see Mizuki so we could reminisce about our fateful first encounter. But she didn’t remember me at all. Instead she merely looked confused and said “Nani?” a couple of times. What a letdown! For some reason Sato Kiara DID remember me. Not sure why. Wait, I think she might have been the one that kept staring at me during the 15th gen debut. Aahhh. Next I got tongue-tied with Takamina. The handshake was just an overall fail. We then had to requeue to exchange the rest of our tickets, but the line was insanely long, and it was already almost 4pm. I just bailed, luckily finding the Morioka Station shuttle. It was a weird event, in a weird location, with weird fans. I just didn’t get a good vibe from APIO Iwate. So when the saw-incident involving Kawaei and Iriyama occurred, it kinda hit home for me. But for different reasons than most. The fact that it happened at THAT venue put a pit in my stomach. Not to mention I had a plane to catch. Yes, the world of AKB was in turmoil, and I was on my way to Kansai!
I arrived to the news that not only was my handshake event cancelled, but the National event I planned to go to in Nagoya was cancelled as well. A short time later Nagara Pro announced the cancellation of Wasamin’s event. Now every opportunity I was going to have to talk to Wasamin had been postponed. Why was I even here? Then I remembered, I LOVE JAPAN! Everything about it. The culture, the history, the people, the cuisine, the idols. I just love everything about it. So maybe I wasn’t going to be able to do all the great idol stuff I looked forward to. Did that mean i couldn’t have a wonderful 2 1/2 weeks in Japan? Of course not. I became determined to make this trip another awesome experience. Starting with the fact that I was in a town I had yet to really explore…Osaka.
I will begin Part 2 with the experiences. And if you are wondering if these posts will be idol related? Don’t worry =)
CK in California