Ahh, so nice to be at an exclusive sister-group event again. As I mentioned to HKT48’s Fuchigami Mai a couple of weeks ago, I prefer going to the Sister Group events over the 48-group events. Some may consider it odd since they don’t offer oshimashi, or some of the other bonuses you get at 48-single events, but I like that they are a bit smaller, and a bit more low key. I also like that these events give me a chance to focus on one group (as opposed to 5 or 6) and see more members from that group, as opposed to when I go to the 48-group events I basically stick to my top two or three members in each group. Plus, I am more directly supporting the groups I like best (HKT, SKE)
Tokyo Big Sight
I cannot remember when the last time was that a 48-group did an event at Big Sight. Perhaps 2011? 2012? I’m not sure why they switched to Makuhari and Pacifico, when in the beginning (when they got too big to do handshake events at the theater) they were almost exclusively at Big Sight. I have heard a few different reasons. (The Halls are too small, The fans caused trouble) NOW I REMEMBER! the infamous “photo robbery” when one of the photo traders got lured into the men’s room, beaten and robbed. I don;t know if that was the reason or not. It could be a price issue too. But no matter, it was just neat to be going to a 48-group event there again.
More ‘name’ issues
Ya know, management needs to get this Western name issue ironed out. I mean it is ridiculous. At one point some of the systems wouldn’t take romaji, so we had to enter our names in katakana. That threw them off. Then, the systems started allowing romaji, but only in double byte characters, and in some situations, only in all-caps. the other thing that they can’t get over is the whole “middle name” issue. “Why isn’t this name on the ticket too?” Uhh, because that is my middle name, and your system only has two name fields. In the case of chara-ani it is impossible to put my middle name, I can’t even fit my entire first name. I doubt Mumo would allow me to put first and middle either, which is over 20 letters. I just wish they would stop making us sweat it every time over our names. It is friggin annoying. At the end of the day, they signed off on it no problem.
I was all ready for another round of heavy duty security after the issues with Nogizaka, and then the beefed up scrutiny at the following AKB handshake event. But to me surprise, they seem to be over that, as the security check seemed to be fairly low-key again. I mean they are still thoroughly checking our hands when we get into the lanes, and they DID have someone in each lane specifically there to watch what you did with your bag before you entered the booth, but it just felt like they mellowed out after being a bit over-zealous at the last event.
Anyway, I had twelve tickets for seven different members all the way from Slot One, through the end of the day Slot 5. Slot One didn’t start until 11am, and I was done in the last slot around 7:30pm, so all in all it was an 8+ hour affair. Let’s get to it….
Aoki Shiori (Lanes 12, 20) <two tickets> This was essentially a first time meeting. Shiori caught my eye when she tried to fish me at the Team KII theater show I saw three months ago. Not only did she try very hard to interact with me, but at the end of the show she aimed and threw the streamer directly at me and told me to grab on to it. Anyway, Shiori was wearing Sailor Fuku, and looked quite cute. She is maturing very nicely, considering I thought she looked a bit baby-ish when she was a kenkyuusei. When I first went to see her I reminded her of the interaction we had in April. I don’t think she remembered it, but she seemed happy to hear the story just the same.
I actually had a second ticket for Shiori in the Lunch Slot. She welcomed me back, and I told her that Team KII was my favorite team, and that I want to see their stage again soon. It was then she noticed I was wearing some Kaotan gear, and immediately grabbed on to it. I wasn’t totally sure what she meant by gesturing toward the Kaotan stuff. I mean I hope she didn’t think I was oshi-ing her already. But I pointed out “Yeah, Team KII member. Best team!” In any case, she is quite cute, and I would see her again.
Hidaka Yuzuki (Lane 9) <two tickets> Despite the fact that she is my #3 SKE member, I mainly see Yuzuki at SKE events only. Well, except that I DID do a 2-shot with her at the last AKB Album event. But she is always super-genki, and a lot of fun to see. On my first visit, after the usual pleasantries, osashiburi’s and whatnot, I asked what her t-shirt said. It was one of those ‘engrish’ type of shirts with a guys head in the middle. She didn’t know, and asked me what it meant. (Which is funny, since her English is actually fairly good) But to be honest, it was written in such an odd, circular way, I had trouble reading it too.
When I returned, I reminded her that I had seen the KII Stage (A familiar theme since I was meeting a lot of Team KII girls today) And like with Shiori, I told her I really liked the show and wanted to see it again. In any case, it was nice to see Yuzuki again. She is one of those members that actually has a pretty solid following among SKE faithful, but is relatively unknown outside of those circles.
Souda Sarina (Lane 6) As expected, Souda tried to fish me really hard at that SKE theater show, and I wanted to pay her a visit to see if the spark would remain. Unfortunately, Souda developed a case of Pink Eye, and had to cancel out of the event since she was contagious. Yeah, that would be a problem considering it was a HANDSHAKE event. I’m not sure what will ultimately happen with this ticket, since SKE do not let you use a ticket like this on another member. Essentially you are stuck with waiting for management to post what the options will be. Perhaps they will allow me to use it at the November event? All I know is that I am not going to waste my time going through the hassle of arranging for a refund for only one ticket.
The silver lining was that this gave me a chance to line up in the HUGE goods queue, since there were at least a couple of things I kinda wanted. Ultimately it took 70 minutes to get through the queue, and I purchased a new Matsumura Kaori ticket holder, as well as some SKE Mango
Soap (actually they are sweets, good thing I didn’t wash my hands with them), which was relatively inexpensive. By the time I was done, the next segment had just started. I used my first ticket on Shiori (Which I talked about above) and my second on…
Obata Yuna (Lane 21) I had decided to pay Obata another visit, since she was so cute in the Stage I went to. This was the Lunch Slot (between Slots 2 and 3) and the line was really long. I had around 20 minutes until the lane closed, and was really thirsty, so I decided to leave the venue to get something to drink since there was no food or drinks at the event. When I came back, the line was still big, but I decided to brave it, and hopefully it wouldn’t affect my Slot 3 tickets.
Yuna was dressed quite casually, with an orange T-shirt, which I got a good eyeful of when I was in line for Shiori. 30 minutes later, I finally made it to the front of the queue, and went through my usual Team KII spiel. Oh, and of course I also congratulated her for getting the center position. The nice thing was that she was a lot more friendly than the first time I met her a couple of years ago, so I was happy I got a ticket for her. But even more I was relieved that the next Slot had barely started, so I wasn’t going to lose out on any tickets.
Matsumura Kaori (Lane 13) <three tickets> I was happy to have a few tickets for Kaotan this time, since I think she was disappointed that I only had one ticket at the 48-group event. Then again, she always asks her fans to invest more in the SKE CD events. Anyway, I wanted to come up with something good to say, but I was struggling finding something topical to talk with her about. But I was also going in tandem with my friend Derek, so at least I could introduce him. When I got to Kaotan, I noticed she had on these really cool earrings, so as she grabbed me into her cross-handed shake, I told her that her earrings were very nice, but Kaori was more interested that I was wearing the new Kaotan ticket holder. She grabbed it and immediately turned it around to see what tickets I had inside, which was awesome since right on top I had more tickets for her. But she wasn’t done. She immediately looked at my address. “Oh yeah, you live in Itabashi. I know exactly where this is!” I said “Yes, near Wakoshi” (Her hometown) But I was really thinking “Does Kaotan wanna come over???” She is certainly welcome…
For my next ticket I told her that I was graduating and getting my college degree next weekend. She got worried though, and immediately asked if that meant that I was leaving Japan. But I told her no, and that I was going to a bigger college for another degree. “Where is that college?”she asked, and then laughed when I told her it was near Shinagawa. LOL. For my final ticket, I told her that Derek thought she was the best handshake experience ever, which made her very happy. She then grabbed my ticket holder again to see what other tickets I had. “Oh, you are going to see Marika?” She then asked how to pronounce my name. At first she asked if my last name was somehow Japanese. I think she got that from the pronunciation, because it could almost be Japanese. When I told her it was Hungarian, she looked confused, I then said Europe. She then asked what my first name was, since they do this really stupid thing on the ticket and split my first name onto two lines. “Your name is Chr?” CHRISTOPHER I responded, pointing to the continuation on the next line. I then said my complete first and last name, which she repeated.
By the way, if you are wondering why these single ticket exchanged seem much longer than 8-10 seconds, well, that is what makes Kaotan handshakes so awesome. They are as long as Kaotan wants them to be. In fact, that last handshake seemed like it was almost a minute long. Oh, and when Kaotan saw me in a neighboring lane later on, she waved to me…twice. So that was nice. She is so great. Again, I highly recommend to all of you who come to these events to get a ticket for her. She is a total Kami-experience, as Derek learned today.
Tani Marika (Lane 17) <two tickets> Unfortunately Derek waited too long to apply, and missed out on getting tickets for his oshi Marika since she sold out. I was fortunate enough to have two tickets for her. The first of which I used in Slot 4. Tani has been dressing very sexy lately, and looking quite beautiful I might add. She had also gotten her hair done recently, and had dyed it jet black. Personally, I LOVE jet back hair. I think it makes girls look really hip and hawt. I remember feeling the same thing about Wasamin when she dyed her hair black. In any case, that was the subject of our first meeting. Tani’s super-cute hair. But sometimes I wonder if Tani thinks I am bullshitting her, because she kinda acts like I am sometimes. But I just kept pressing that I really liked her hair that way, and that she looked really good…
After the dinner break, I came back in for my last Tani ticket. I reiterated that I wasn’t bullshitting her when I said that I really liked her hair. So then she puts me on the spot. “I am the prettiest one here?” Fishing for compliments, as usual. I was running out of stuff to say, so I also told her about my pending graduation, so she congratulated me. That was nice. Unfortunately I do not have any Marika tickets for the next AKB event in two weeks, so it may be a while until I see her again.
Oya Masana (Lane 14) I fortunately got this ticket right before she announced her graduation, all of her Tokyo slots pretty much selling out in the next round. Unfortunately I didn’t get a November event ticket, and now I am kicking myself for it. As expected, Masanya’s line was really big since lots of fans wanted to pay their final respects. So I saved it for my last ticket since I had no idea how long her queue would take. Ultimately it took around 40 minutes. In the meantime this was when Kaotan kept waving to me from the next lane. I wasn’t quite sure what I would say to Masanya aside from congratulating her on graduation, but the handshake gods were on my side this time…
So as I got to the front of the queue, the guard told me that Oya had to go to the handicap fan’s lane. But Masanya didn’t realize that so she is beckoning me to come over to do the handshake, and kinda confused why I was being blocked. When she realized what was going on she was like “Wait right there, don’t go anywhere!” LOLZ. I few minutes later she returned, and was talking to me the entire time until they were ready to let me in. After congratulating her on graduation, she asked me if I was living in Japan now. When I said yes. She said “I know you don’t come to my lane that often, but I always see you in Kaori’s lane, so I had a thought that you might live here now.” That was so nice. Ya know, I used to go see her all the time, and then stopped. And this is the first time I realized that she probably noticed, especially since she is often next to Kaotan and sees me all the time. So now I feel slightly bad that I kind of abandoned her. But the truth is that I found members I clicked with a bit better, and it isn’t like Masanya is hurting for fans, she has always been relatively popular. But I am glad I got to have that little ‘sincere’ moment with her. Maybe I didn’t tell her, but I ALWAYS liked her, always rooted for her, and always considered her one of my favorite SKE members. Anyway, I wished her the best in her future endeavors.
And that was it. It was pouring rain in Odaiba, so I decided to take the route home that would keep me under as much shelter as possible, only getting briefly drenched when I transferred from the Yurikamome Line to the Yurakucho Line at Toyosu. And by the time I got home the rain had lightened considerably. As for SKE, the only Igai no Mango individual event I have tickets for is the November Makuhari event, where SKE and HKT will be appearing next door to one another. And I only have four tickets (two each for Kaotan and Tani) But hopefully they will have some nice National events to go to.
CK in Tokyo