HKT48 “Saikou ka Yo” Individual Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2016/11/23)

So, this was kind of a last-minute thing. When I first applied for the HKT handshakes for this single I figured I would go to one event (last month) and that was it. I didn’t expect to have such amazing experiences with members like Yuka-chan and Mai-chan. By the time that event was over I could not wait to meet those members again. So when the group shop opened up for one last resale I jumped at the chance, and I got all the tickets I applied for. My only dilemma was that I was looking for one more ticket to fill slot 4, and I couldn’t decide between Okamoto Naoko or Yamada Marina. Ultimately I was satisfied with my decision…

I didn’t need to get to Makuhari until 11:00 for Slot 3, which was good because Messe had so many events going on. Not only was HKT there, but so was NMB, Nogizaka46, Jam Project, Chiba Lotte Marines fanfest, as well as a job fair. Suffice it to say there were tons of people at the convention center that day. But I made it on time, got my tickets stamped, signed a birthday card for Vivian, and I was good to go….

Akiyoshi Yuka (Slot 3) – I could not wait for my reunion with Yuka-chan. She is so adorable, and I can tell how much she likes me. I saw her peering over a fans head as I came down the lane. She happily exclaimed “Kurisuuu!” So I asked her about this English test she took last month. Apparently she got a 99%. She said it was true, but she still isn’t confident speaking English. I told her it was okay, congratulations, and that I would be coming back a little later.

So as I was coming out of the exit, I spotted a couple of Wasafans who were at the event. (Actually, I spotted quite a few Wasafans there throughout the day. We were all playing hooky from Wasamin’s wrestling event. XD) They were standng with a couple of people from Akiyoshi’s Setensai committee. They were there to give me Akiyoshi birthday goods. So I got the birthday booklet, as well as a flower to wear to show my allegiance. I am being fully indoctrinated into the Akiyoshi fandom! Some sample pages from the book…


Murakawa Vivian (Slot 3) – Vivian immediately perked up when she saw me enter the booth. And she always greets me with a big English “Hello”. I asked her when she would be appearing on the event stage that day. (HKT handshake events feature a stage where random members show up and do random thngs) She told me it was an hour after something, but I didn’t quite catch when that was. Anyway, I told her I would come over and see her when she was on stage.

In the meantime I caught Fuchigami, Kojina, Shimono, and Yamamoto Mao doing a blind taste test onstage. First they got mango, second was fried locusts. LOL. After that I went to lunch…

Okamoto Naoko (Slot 4) – She was so outgoing and fun last month that I felt compelled to get an individual ticket for her. And that is exactly what I told her. She is a lot of fun and that I wanted to meet her again. The nice thing about ALL of these handshakes was that every single one of them remembered our encounters from last month.

Akiyoshi Yuka (slot 4) – So I forget what I came in to talk to Yuka-chan about. It was the same excited “Kurisuuuu!” greeting again. But just as I was about to say something Lovetan stepped into the lane and started fishing me right out of Yuka-chan’s lane…

Lovetan: “Kurisu??? I want you, I need you!”

Lovetan’s cockblocking of my Yuka-chan experience completely threw me off. I started to respond to Lovetan, but then switched my focus back to Yuka-chan, and at the same time was getting pushed out by the guard. I barely got out that I would see her again at the AKB event this coming weekend.

Unfortunately for Lovetan she was really barking up the wrong tree. First of all, she is very good friends with Wasamin which makes her taboo for me. Second of all, she has surely forgotten the super-salty way she treated me the last time I met her 4-5 years ago. So at the end of the day. Sorry Lovetan, not happening!

Murakawa Vivian/Imamura Maria (Lunch Slot) – So this was one of those group lanes, and I was really here to see Vivian. However, I was interested in meeting Maria just to see what kind of personality she had. That’s the funny thing about HKT, Sasshi really has a way with corrupting the lolis in this group. Akiyoshi seems to be the exception. But for the rest of them, Nako, Miku, Maria, they all seem to be very mature for their age. I said hello to Vivian, and the shifted my focus to Maria since I had never met her before. I told her I was at the concert where she recited her ABC’s last Spring. At the end of the day she didn’t light any fireworks for me, handshake wise.

After this I left the venue for a while just to get a break, then I lined up in the 5th Anniversary Goods line just to get the one item I wanted. An Akiyoshi ticket holder. It took about 40 minutes, but I still had plenty of time to get my two Slot 5 tickets done.

Fuchigami Mai (Slot 5, part 1) – Mai-chan completely melted my heart last month when she told me (in English) that she hoped that she would meet me again. Suffice it to say was excited about this moment. And she did not dissapoint at all. Now here is the funny thing with Fuchigami, I am taking formal Japanese classes, so I use these handshakes as an opportunity to practice Japanese. However, Mai-chan insists on speaking English the entire time. Even when I try to speak Japanese she just switches us back to English. So the first thing she said was that she remembered last month. I told her that after that handshake I wanted to see her again so I bought more tickets, and that I would be coming back in a few minutes…

In the meantime I went back over to the stage to watch a bunch of the new Kenkyuusei play the “Hands in the Mystery Box” game.

Fuchigami Mai (Slot 5, part 2) – BTW, I spent most of my time in Fuchigami’s queue trying to avoid Tomiyoshi’s gaze from the lane next door, since I have kind of abandoned going to see her. Once again, Mai seemed thrilled that I was coming back through her line. Once again with the “all-English” handshake. So I asked her why was she so good at speaking English. She leaned over and quietly told me why, but she made me promise not to tell anyone what she told me. So Mai-chan and I have a little secret together. She then asked me if I was from America. After this things got slightly weird…

Fuchigami: You are from America? TRUMP!!! (Big smile and two thumbs up)
Me: Ehhhhh? (giving her the “WTF” look)
Fuchigami: You are Clinton?

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to discuss American politics with Maichan as I was being pushed out by the guard. At the end of the day I can tell Fuchigami badly wants me to oshi her. She is pushing ALL of my oshi buttons in a major way. Unfortunately, Akiyoshi is also doing a great job in that respect, and I already have the attention of Akiyoshi’s committee. Ultimately Wasamin is my one true Oshimen, but as far as HKT is concerned, these two have become my “Two-Top”.

I had one ticket left. In the interim I headed back to the stage one more time to see Team TII (minus Hana) doing a skit on stage. They were all trying to do “ecchi” phrases, with Vivian failing just about every time. At one point Murashige came out and blew them all away. At the end Vivian had to do a Batsu Game for being the worst player.

“Chaos Lane” (Slot 6) (Akiyoshi, Murakawa, Okamoto, Murashige) – I didn’t want to repeat what I said to them last month. I walked in and Vvivian immediately saw my Akiyoshi ticket holder, and pointed it out to Yuka-chan. I told Vivian th I enjoyed her stage show, but that Murashige had the best responses. (Murashige did not seem to be too impressed with my compliment) I told both Vivian and Yuka that I would be visiting with both of them this weekend at the AKB event.


And t was it. It was 4:45 and I wanted to be home by dinner time, so I caught the express back to Tokyo and was back in my apartment shortly after 6pm. The bad news is that I lost all of my applications for Mai-chan this weekend. So I will not see her again until January. But I have two tickets for Akiyoshi this Sunday (slots 5 and 7), along with one ticket each for Vivian and Kaotan (both slot 8) I am actually extremely busy this weekend, even choosing to skip the AKB National event, but for Akiyoshi I will make time for Sunday.


CK in Tokyo