AKB48 Kuchibiru ni Be My Baby Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2016/02/21)

So this was the first handshake event for the 42nd single, and the only one anywhere near the release date. The rest of the events aren’t going on until the late Spring. This is also the first time we were all going to experience the interview/photo-op event within the handshake event. I had one ticket for that. Well, actually I had two. But I was able to cancel one because of Chara-Ani’s mixup regarding Wasamin’s schedule. About that…

Today was also NagaraPro’s Enka Matsuri’s Tokyo tour date. So my oshimen wasn’t even at the event. I probably wouldn’t have even gone to this event if it wasn’t for the screwup on the part of King Records and Chara-ani. By the time I had figured out that the dates conflicted I had already purchased a bunch of tickets for this handshake event. This is why I ended up going to the Nagoya leg of the Enka Matsuri tour instead. Of course I still had a ticket for Wasamin’s cheki event later in the evening. The question was would I blow off my last three tickets in order to see Wasamin?

I got to Makuhari around 11:50, 10 minutes before slot 3. I had time to slip in my first handshake before the interview/event I had scheduled…



Tani Marika (Slot 3)
To be honest I am slightly worried about Tani. It seemed like when she debuted with SKE she was really on a roll. But now it doesn’t seem like they are utilizing her nearly as much anymore. It makes me wonder if she might be getting discouraged. Also her lines at these events are never really that big. Marika was late as usual, but it was probably a three minute wait.

Marika: (Sees me coming in) Whoah, thank you!
Me; You look nice today. Very cute.
Marika: Yes I am genki
Me: Last week I was worried about you.
Marika: I was fine!
Me: But you were coughing. (As I am being pushed out)
Marika: Thank you, mata ne!

Yes, she was much more genki than last week. And she caused much more of a commotion when I entered. In fact she moved all the way across the partition to follow me as I was being pushed out. I had another Marika ticket scheduled a little later…

Interview Slot D-8 (Slot 3) Yakata Miki and Yamada Juna
Okay this was the event that became the source of a bit of controversy a few months ago. To me all of that was complete nonsense, mainly perpetuated by a bunch of troublemakers who probably weren’t even going to the events anyway. Most people got these tickets to see the members they like. The idea of cosplay was a nice bonus, but it is the member that makes the event interesting. What they are wearing is completely secondary. I mean if Wasamin was doing this event would it matter to me what she wore? I just want to see her, right?

Here’s the rundown: 20 minutes before your event starts (after the previous one has ended) they call your group in. As you hand in your ticket you draw a seating ticket that determines your place in line. Each event could accommodate up to 300 people. I drew #67. However there were ultimately only 25 people at this particular event slot. So my #67 was really more like #16. It was good enough to be seated 2nd row just right of center.

The members came in an introduced themselves. Then it was time for the 1-minute photo session. 20 seconds each facing right, center, and then left. You could ask for poses, and I guess you could also record the session. Once the bell rang the photo session was over and it was time for Q&A from the fans.

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It as eight minutes, so there was really only time for 4 questions. I don’t remember the first question. The second one had something to do with good handshake experiences and tips. The third person asked them to describe what they liked about one another. Finally the last question was about their signature items at the SKE Cafe.

Anyway, if you ever saw the Densha Otoko TV Series and remember the interview/photo-op with “Karin-chan”, that was pretty much exactly what this was like. It wasn’t “Oh my god, awesome!”, but it was something fun and different to do. Perhaps they could do it like once a year to change things up.

It was now time for Slot 4. By the way, they really had the lanes set up in an odd configuration. There was not a lot of walking, or queueing room. It made getting around certain parts of the venue extremely difficult. That said, I was very excited about my next handshake…



Murakawa Vivian (Slot 4)
So I had made a commitment to myself to visit with more HKT members. One member I have been really wanting to meet was Tomiyoshi. The other is Akiyoshi Yuka. So it was odd that when it came down to it that I chose the Vivian ticket instead of Akiyoshi. But there was something drawing me to her. Her queue wasn’t too long, and she was right next to Chihiro and Meru. Which reminds me…

****So there was a conversation recently on this forum about Tashima Meru “flopping” at handshakes. It is ironic that I would have a front row seat to her 4th slot. She had a decent sized line. Not the biggest, but it was definitely busy. She looked very energetic, always smiling, listening her fans. The people were leaving with smiles on their faces. So as a result of my “investigation”, those rumors are false. Back to Vivian…

I get to the front of the line. Vivian takes one look at me and completely lights up. Huge smile, mouth wide open.

Vivian: Oh Hello!
Me: Hajimemashite Vivian-chan!
Vivian: Is Japanese OK?
Me: Yes it is ok
(It really didn’t matter because I had prepared what I wanted to say to her anyway…)
Vivian: Ah, hajimemashite…okay
Me: I watched you on Odekake…
Vivian: Really? thank you!
Me: I loved your smile. I really wanted to meet you!
Vivian: Whoah, thank you! (As I am being pushed out)
Me: I will come see you again.

The way she smiled so widely, bounced around and was genuinely excited, it was totally a Kami-handshake experience. I really want to talk to her again. This also put great pressure on Tomiyoshi (unbeknownst to her) since I was also going to meet her for the first time. If my experience isn’t close to this one I may be switching favorite HKT members very quickly…

Yokoyama Yui (Slot 4)
To be honest I really don’t get excited about seeing Yui anymore. It’s one of those things. There are memberI would ratheree, but I have been going to see Yui for so long that I feel bad if I don’t get a ticket for her. Her line was much longer than 2 weeks ago at the Shamekai event. Her lane was also shoved back into one of these two weird corners that were extremely difficult to get in and out of. But I braved the mess. I didn’t know what to say to her, I finally decided at the last minute…

Me: Sokantoko-chan!
Yui: Ah, hello again!
Me: How about Yuihan’s new train station billboard?
Yui: Yes, I have seen them (She also said the name of the product, I forget what it is for but it features Yui laying on some sort of bed or couch)
Me: You look so cute on them
Yui: Thank you.
Me: And they are so big…huge!
Yui: (laughing)
Me: Bye Bye (As I get pushed out)

Medium sized version at Sugamo Station. I have seen a couple that are at least 4x the size of this one.

The jury is out on whether I will get more Yui tickets in the future. Don’t get me wrong, she is very nice and always has been. It’s just that she is too normal for me. I need my idols to be slightly more quirky.

I had an hour to kill before slot 5. I originally intended to go upstairs and have lunch. But I ended up running into Shining Ojisan (an old time fan. I forget who his original oshmen was, but he graduated when Hayano Kaoru left the group) and he introduced me to one of the original AKB fans. He was an older guy, and a huge Kojiharu oshi. We ended up talking for the hour. This was also the first time Shining had purchased a ticket in a very long time (like over 2 years). He had one Honda Hitomi ticket. Apparently he is getting into Team 8.



Yakata Miki <4 tickets> (Slot 5)
I had promised Mikitty I would be spending a lot of time with her in this slot. Although I ended up looping the line 4 times, it was like one continuous conversation. Mikitty sees me coming down the lane and immediately the tension starts…

Miki: There you are!
Me: Hello Mikitty-chan, that was fun!
Miki: Did you get some good pictures? (referring to the photo-op event)
Me: Yes, I got many good pictures.
Miki: Yatta!
Me: What is this M.K. burger you were talking about? (once again, referring to the earlier event)
Miki: It is delicious!!
Me: Yes, but what is it?
Miki: Eat it!
(in the meantime I went out and looked up the burger on the cafe website before looping back around)
Miki: Hello Chris!
Me: So ithe M.K. Burger has pineapple on it?
Miki: Yes, pineapple!
Me: So it’s like a Hawaiian burger?
Miki: Yes, Hawaiian burger yes!!!
Me: What kind of sauce
Miki: Hmmm…
Me: Is it teriyaki sauce?
Miki: Ummm…. (as I am getting pushed out)
Me: Okay, I will eat it.
Miki: Thank you Chris!
(switching gears, don’t want to make it all about food…)
Me: Did you have fun at the live concert yesterday?
Miki: Yes, it was a good concert.
Me: I applied, but I didn’t win.
Miki: Oh…
Me: Did you sing Finland Miracle?
Miki: NO! I didn’t get to sing it…
Me: But I LOVE Finland Miracle!
(Looping around for my final Mikitty ticket I was running out of things I wanted to say to her)
Me: So next week SKE is here at Makuhari
Miki: Yes…
Me: Are you coming? (I actually already knew she was)
Miki: To the National Event?
Me: Yes
Miki: I don’t know. I think I might be. Are you coming?
Me: Yes. See you next week!
Miki: Great! Thank you Chris! (As I get pushed out one last time. But before that I get the infamous…)
Miki: Chris Thank you!!! I want you!!! I need you!!!

Good tiems with Mikitty as always…

Tani Marika (Slot 5)
One last Tani ticket for the day and then I really needed to find lunch. Her line was jus emptying out when I got to the lane, so Marika excused herself to take a short break. I stood there waiting for less than five minutes. She saw me before she even got back into the booth…

Tani: Ahh, you are back.
Me: Yes.
Tani: Thank you!
Me: I love Tani’s apartment!
Tani: (laughing)
Me: It is so cute! (I’m laughing)
(at this point Marika started talking very animatedly and quickly so I didn’t get any of what she said. But it was classic Tani)
Me: I want to help Tani. See you next week! (as I get pushed out)

After a quick lunch break I was back for Slot 6. This was going to be my final slot of this event. I would lead off with my other HKT member…



Tomiyoshi Asuka (Slot 6)
Another first time meeting I was excited about. I almost got tickets to see her a year ago, but decided to economize and skipped her, instead going with Goto Izumi. Since Iichan graduated I have sorta considered Asuka my favorite HKT member. Not ever meeting her though, made me less than confident with designating her that way. Tomiyoshi’s queue was hidden behind a speaker, right next to Kojiharu. I could see that cute smile of hers all the way down the lane

Asuka: Konnichiwa
Me: Hajimemashite, I have always wanted to meet you!
Asuka: Arigatou.
Me: I went to the concert in Nagoya, and thought you were great!
Asuka: Oooh, Arigatou!
Me: I will be cheering for you in Tokyo this week. (As I am getting pushed out)

She’s adorable, but I think she was at a loss for words for what to say to me. That happens sometimes, especially in a first time handshake. On the other hand, I mut admit that I am a lot more excited about seeing Vivian again than I am to see Tomiyoshi. I do have another ticket for Asuka in March, so we will see if a little familiarity helps.

As I was walking over for my next ticket I hear my name being called. The Nakky committee is calling me over…

Me: “Hey, Nakky Fever!”
Nakky Fans: Aren’t you supposed to be over at Tokyo International Forum?
Me: Yes, I am leaving after this last handshake with Kaotan.
Nakky Fans: Ah, Kaotan (They all immediately start laughing)
Me: I saw Enka Matsuri in Nagoya.
Nakky Fans: You did?
Me: Hai! I have to get to Tokyo by 7pm. Wasamin event is #1 most important to me! (I show them the Wasamin cheki tickets)
Nakky Fans: Of course!
Me: Where is Frank?
Nakky Fans: He is in the queue.
Me: Minna-san do your best today! (as I point over to Nakky’s lane)



Matsumura Kaori (Slot 6)
I would get this ticket done, then I would head back to Tokyo. It would give me plenty of time to make it to the Wasamin cheki event. Kaotan’s line was huge. It was bigger than I had ever seen it. Usually it is long past the check-in point, but today she even had a queue to check in. No matter, I had plenty of time…

Kaotan: Oh yeah, NICE GUY!
Me: Kaotan Daisuki! Your handshakes are the most fun!
Kaotan: Thank you! (She begins pulling me tightly over to her)
Kaotan: I have autographed my card for you before, right?
Me: Yes, I have one!
Kaotan: Yes. I will see you again?
Me: I will see you next week.
Kaotan: Oh, thank you!!!

Kaotan: I LOVE YOU!!!
Me: I love YOU!!!

I felt slightly sheepish because she didn’t know I was about to blow off a ticket for her in the next slot. However, I have plenty of tickets for her next week and next month. So no biggie. I was also about to eat tickets for Chori and Tanamin. It would have been my first time talking to Chori too. Oh well, will have to be another time. And Tanamin…after she was waving at me so enthusiastically last week when she saw me in the Wasaqueue…:( What can you do?

I ran into @naruse and Pandadash as I was on my way out. They were queueing for the Nako/Miku interview/photo-op slot. :p I caught the express from Makuhari back to Tokyo, and found special exit that takes you directly to the Tokyo International Forum (and allows you to skip that never-ending trek back into Tokyo Station. Anyone who has caught the JR Keiyo Line back to Tokyo from Makuhari (or Disneyland) knows exactly what I am talking about.

Iwasa Misaki (Slot-Tokyo)
I entered the venue and was looking for the washroom when I found the queue. It was a big line, and all of a sudden I am hearing a chorus of “Chris-san!” “Chris-san!” The guy running the queue says please come over and check in. I’m like, yeah but I need use the toilet first! The funny thing was the men’s room was right next to Wasamin’s dressing room. So as I headed in I think Saso-san thought for a second I was going for her room or something. I was like “I just want to use the toilet” I came out a couple minutes later and I here an unfamiliar voice say “Chris-san, this way please” I’m thinking “Jeez, everyone knows me here” As I go to check in the guy is marking my name off before I even put my ID down. Although honestly it is probably easy to figure out which name is mine on the list.

I was about 60th in line. There were at least 100 people there. Eventually it was my turn. Wasamin was wearing the same Kimono she wore for the Cheki event in Nagoya, but her hair accoutrement was quite exquisite.

Wasamin: Kurisuuuu!!!!!
Me: Misaki-chaaaaan! You have bling-bling! (pointing to her hair)
Wasamin: Nani???
(Ichikawa-san, Wasamin’s manager is laughing as she knows exactly what I am talking about)
Me: (pointing directly to the decoration) This! Bling-bling! Kawaii!
Wasamin: Ahh! (laughing) Kawaii!! Chris-san is kawaii!
Me: I just arrived here, I am sorry I missed the concert.
Wasamin: You didn’t see it???
Me: No, I am sorry. :(
Wasamin: What pose do you want to do?
Me: Since I missed the concert, how about Tsundere Wasamin and crying Chris?

(and this is what happens when you miss the Wasamin concert!)

Me: It’s been so long since I have seen you!
Wasamin: What? You are leaving Tokyo?
Me: Not until April. I will see you at AKB Shamekai!
Wasamin: Okay
Me: But I want more solo events. Please have more while I am here!
Ichikawa: Okay okay!
Wasamin: We will do our best! Chris Kawaii!
Me: No, Wasamin Kawaii!

And the long day was over. Time to go have a couple of celebratory brews. I have a busy week to prepare for. Monday I am seeing FES☆TIVE in Akihabara. Tuesday and Wednesday are the HKT Tokyo shows (I got a crappy seat for Tuesday night, but my Wednesday night seat isn’t bad) Then next weekend SKE Individual handshake event AND National Handshake event. So plenty more fun with Mikitty, Tani and Kaotan. And I may try to sneak in visits with Dasu and Shibata as well.

CK in Tokyo