AKB48-Group 48th Single Negaigoto no Mochigusare Individual Handshake Meeting at Makuhari Messe (2017/07/16) ~Am I the First One Around Here to Do a Handshake with Cuca-chan?~
This was the leadoff event for the 48th single handshake events. For this release I decided to schedule handshakes for two dates, one this weekend and one for the 2nd weekend in August, although today I had the most tickets (14) I would be visiting most of my usual suspects, with a few new girls tossed in for a bit of variety. BTW, Disney on Ice was going on next door, so there were a billion kids around. I wondered why so many people who looked like they were going to Disneyland didn’t get off at Maihama when I was riding the train over.
A HUGE HALL
For today AKB had not two, not three, but FOUR halls rented out for the event. Halls 5-8 in the main building. It was actually divided into two separate venues, with a wide hallway in between. Halls 5-6 had SKE, NMB, and Team 8 (Lanes 1-96), and Halls 7-8 had AKB, HKT, NGT, and STU. (Lanes 97-187) Here’s a weird thing, the food trucks were in one hall, while the drink stand was in another. WHY??? Actually, most of the sales stuff was in Halls 7-8, while the info booth, manager booth, and drinks were on the opposite side. I hope they do something similar to this when SKE and HKT run simultaneous individual handshake events here in November.
I am guessing this is due to the dickhead who decided to have his own fireworks show at the 46-group event, but the lane staff were being quite the jerks when it came to people’s names not being exactly the same on their IDs and tickets. Chara-ani stamped my tickets no problem, so ultimately it was a non-issue. But in the morning it was a pain in the ass as I kept getting questioned at check-in. Ultimately I have changed my name on all the preorder sites to romaji, so hopefully there won’t be a big problem in the future. Although in the case of Chara-ani, the system has an 8-letter limit, so Christopher ends up being “Christop” I hope that isn’t an issue. Ultimately it stopped being an problem after Slot 3, which makes me wonder if something was said to staff since it seemed to be an issue with every ticket I used in Slots 2 & 3.
So I had a total of 14 tickets for slots 2 through 7, including one “same day nomination” ticket. As for who I would use my “open ticket” for? I hadn’t decided, but I had a short list. Anyway, I got to the venue early. Since this was the voting ticket single, I anticipated huge lines. However, it wasn’t too busy when I got there. I got all of my tickets stamped, and it was still the end of Slot 1. I headed over to the other side of the venue for my one Slot 2 ticket…
Yamane Suzuha (Lane 155) – FINALLY! I have been wanting to meet her for so long! Ever since she captured my heart when I saw 16th gen in the theater. She has the cutest face with those big cheeks, and that semi-silly demeanor. As I mentioned before, the lane staff gave me a really hard time about my name on the ticket, but after a short argument where I pointed out their flawed reasoning, AND the fact that my tickets were stamped by chara-ani, they apologized and let me in. It was a really short queue, makes me wonder why her lanes weren’t “starred” Zunchan looked cute as a button, surrounded by bouquets of flowers. I entered the booth, and I got the “shocked to see a foreigner” reaction. “Hello?” I responded to her in Japanese, queue the even bigger shocked reaction. It was adorable. Anyway, I told her that I actually did high touch with her last month. Apparently she didn’t remember, but she thanked me, and then I got the “I LOVE YOU.” That’s nice. I told her I would see her again. She’s like “Really?” I said “Yes, I have more tickets!”
So a good start with Zunchan, and now I had an hour wait until Slot 3. I could have used my open ticket here, but by then I had an idea on who I would be using it for, and that opportunity wouldn’t be coming until Slot 5. After talking to friends for a while, slot three eventually started…
Murakawa Bibian (Lane 117) – A quick stop to see Bibian before I used a bunch of Akiyoshi tickets. She had no line, so I went right up to her. It was basically Bibian being all energetic. “Genki desu ka? Genki desu. Watashi mo!” I then said it looked like she just got her hair cut (It looked a bit shorter) I told her it was very cute, and was on my way. Bibian hasn’t been up to too much lately as far as I am aware, so not much to talk about.
During Slot 3 I ventured over to Cuca’s lane to see how the crowd was. Not surprisingly, most of the STU member lanes were completely empty, including Cuca. I felt bad. But at least she wasn’t alone. I spent a few minutes over there, and nobody came to many of the lanes the entire time I was there. I thought about using my open ticket right here, but ultimately I saved it.
Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 120) [four tickets] – I had five tickets in total for Yuka-chan, four spread over slots three and four. Yuka looked really cute, with a T-shirt, casual collared shirt over it, and shorts. I was excited to see her since I had just gotten my HKT48 Baseball Jersey (designed to sorta look like a Soft Bank Hawks Jersey) with her name on the back. So I showed that off to her. I later asked her about the T-shirt she was wearing, which had pictures of some characters, and like a vehicle, and the words “Joy Joy Joy Gintama” or something like that. She was trying to explain to me that it was from a manga, and I told her that I would ask my friends who like manga about it. Anyone have any ideas?
In the next slot I was one of the first in line. And after the first handshake where I basically told her that her outfit was cute, and then complained that my Akiyoshi baseball jersey was slightly too tight, I immediately re-queued. It was at this point that one of the other fans came up and started talking to me in fluent English. It turned out he lived in Europe for 10 years and occasionally did business in America. He reminded me that Yuka-chan is serious about learning English, so I should try speaking to her in English more, and that she would like that. Anyway, we queued together. And I’m sure the two of them were talking about me as she kept looking over to me the entire time. When I came up I mentioned that Koji-san said that she wanted to to hear me speak English more often, except I screwed up the verb conjugation, and it came out more like a demand than a confirmation. It took her a few seconds, but then she figured out what I meant. At least I think she did. I actually got the answer to this question later on in the day…
Matsumura Kaori (Lane 85) – This would be my first venture into the SKE/NMB/Team 8 Hall after being exclusively in the other hall all morning and afternoon. I had no NMB tickets, no Team 8 tickets (yet) and only one ticket each for Tani and Kaotan. So no reasons to hang out on this side. Anyway, Kaotan had a relatively short queue. In the meantime, she was right next to Tani, who spotted me, pointed at me, winked and gave me a quick acknowledgement between visitors. (Don’t worry Marika, I will be seeing you later) Kaori-chan grabbed me into her cross-handed shake, and lamented she hadn’t seen me in a while. I told her not to worry, that I have plenty of tickets for her at the SKE events. She asked how about today? I frowned, and told her this was my only one. Oh well. The fact is that I am trying to cut down on tickets to the 48-group events, especially since both HKT and SKE have singles coming out soon, and I bought tickets for those events too.
And with that, I went upstairs to take a break. The weird thing was that it was really hot and stuffy upstairs. normally it is hot and stuffy in the halls, and upstairs, outside the halls it is cool. But today it was completely the opposite. Anyway, Slot 5…
Sakaki Miyu [Cuca] (Lane 182) – I was really excited about this. After all, I wrote an article about her on my old blog like 8-9 years ago. I headed over to the STU section, and of course Cuca’s lane was empty. But just then a woman walked into her lane. Cuca got all excited, bouncing up and down. It reminded me of how Yakata Miki used to act when I would walk into her empty lane. So I stopped and waited, hoping nobody else would go into the lane until she finished talking to this woman. Luckily, nobody did, and just as she came down the exit I walked in. Cuca immediately started bouncing up and down, dancing the entire time. I finally made it to the booth. She thanked me for visiting her. I told her I have been watching her YouTube videos for a long time, and that I am really rooting for her to do well in STU, so to please do her best. She graciously thanked me, and I told her I would come and see her again (I have a ticket for her in August too)
Ultimately she is a really sweet girl. I was so happy to get the chance to meet her, and from her demeanor (and her lack of a queue) it made me want to come back and see her again. In fact, when I got home tonight the first thing I did was order three tickets for her for the upcoming single!
As I mentioned, I had one open ticket, which I could use on any “starred lane.” The problem was that since this is the voting ticket single, the lanes with stars on them are few and far between. I also prefer to use these tickets on girls that I haven’t met before, or in a while, as opposed to just using them on girls I am seeing anyway. In any case, I made a short list of girls I was considering using this ticket on, including a few 16th gen and Team 8 girls. Ultimately I decided on this member, since she was the one I liked the most when I saw Team 8 a couple of weeks ago…
Takahashi Ayane (Lane 1) – Since this was an open ticket, I had to wait until the middle of the slot before I could queue up. It should also be noted that she had four slots, and this was the ONLY one with a star on it. Apparently I was not the only one with this idea, as a few minutes before the middle of the slot, a bunch of fans started milling around her lane entrance, which was at the far end of the hall. About a minute before the call, everyone bum-rushed into the lane. So I joined in. It kind of annoyed me since I had been standing there longer than all of them, but whatever. Her line wasn’t terribly long. I basically told her that I went to the Team 8 show a couple of weeks ago, and that she made the biggest impression on me. She thanked me, and that was basically it. At the end of the day, she wasn’t the most dynamic handshake. But come to think of it, she wasn’t the most dynamic on stage either, so it sorta fits. I came to the conclusion that I merely thought she looked really cute on stage. I did get another ticket for her for the next single. We’ll see if a second visit is a little better…
Fuchigami Mai (Lane 111) [two tickets] – I didn’t go to see Maichan in the earlier slots, instead opting to see her in the afternoon. She had on a cute, light, summery dress with a flower pattern on it. However, when I was looking at it from a distance, I thought it was fruit. So I was already to make a joke about the fruit on her dress, but it got spoiled. In any case, I showed off my new HKT48 baseball jersey for her. She asked me if I had heard the new HKT song and purchased the single yet, but before I could answer I got pushed out.
When I returned (in the following slot) I told her that of course I bought the new single, and that HKT individual handshake events are much more fun than 48-group events. (I actually do mean that. I much prefer seeing HKT and SKE at their own events than at the group-single events) Anyway, she exclaimed “Yeah!” and gave me a high-five and my time ran out.
Yamane Suzuha (Lane 155) [part two] – So when I told Zunchan that I had more tickets for her, I failed to mention that they were scheduled for six hours later (Hehe) But I kept my promise. Again, her queue was short. When I entered the queue she was saying something to me that sounded like a play of “osashiburi” It sounded like “hitachiburi” or something. It was a phrase I had never heard before. I kept repeating it back to her, since I didn’t know what it meant. I told her that I had cancel machi last week for 16th gen, bot lost. She gave a little frown, and as a was being pushed out I mentioned to her that I want to watch her perform more often. Ultimately, Zunchan is everything I expected in a handshake, which is a good thing since I ordered a few tickets for her for the next single. And if her lane is starred in August, I will be using my open ticket to see her.
Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 120) [part two] – At then end of my last handshake with Yuka-chan, I was mentioning something about speaking English with her more often, but I wasn’t sure she completely understood, even if she said she did. In the meantime, the Mikurin fans had a huge congratulatory ceremony planned for her since she made it to Undergirls. So I had a view from behind for that since I was queued or Yuka-chan a few lanes over. But to answer my question of whether or not Yuka understood me…
(All in English) “Hello Chris, did you eat lunch today?” Yes, I ate lunch. “What did you eat for lunch?” I had chicken from Family Mart. “Oh good!” She smiled, and I asked if it was fun to practice English with me. She nodded as I got pushed out. Koji-san was right, I should do that with her more often, just to mix it up.
Tani Marika (Lane 84) – For my last ticket, I decided to go out with a bang with the always crazy Tani. Plus, her lane was closer to the central exit of the hall. I had a conversation all planned for her, but she spoiled it with her manic behavior. She asked me what I thought of her look today. I know what happened the last time I didn’t say ‘kawaii” So I told her she was cho-Kawaii, and that she was also kawaii when I saw her do cosplay modeling for a new Kyoraku pachinko machine. She seemed surprised I brought that up, but then she was like “Yes, you like that, huh?” I told her I liked pachinko (partial truth) and it made me happy to see her doing those type of promotions.
Anyway, as expected the day ended on a good note. I had a Caribbean Jerk Chicken sandwich near the station before jumping on a train back to Tokyo. For the next 48-group event I have tickets to many of the same people, as well as Chori and Rikopi. But I am really excited about the new SKE48 single event, which is in two weeks. I have tickets to all my usual SKE members (Tani, Kaotan, and Yuzuki), as well as a few members I haven’t really talked with before, or for a long time (Obata, Soda, Aoki, Masanya) So it should be a lot of fun.
CK in Tokyo