AKB48 Idol Shugyou Chuu! Stage (2018/10/05)

After getting skunked throughout September with three really high cancel machi numbers, I finally got a cancel machi with a number low enough to give me a decent chance to get in. However, it was not a given that I would win. I periodically checked the cancellation count throughout the day. It was slow going at first, but ballooned to over 30 in the last couple hours before the show. In the meantime, I had arrived in Akihabara a bit early, and spent 90 minutes having cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at The Hub behind the UDX building. Eventually I made my way to the theater. I decided to use one of the lockers to store my stuff, which technically you aren’t supposed to do unless you have already won. However, I hate having to scramble to store my bags at the last minute, and I was reasonably confident of my chances.

The cancel machi call began, and there didn’t seem to be any no-shows. All of a sudden my chances didn’t look so good after all. In the meantime, there was a random guy pacing around the ticketing area. Staff kept telling him to move over to where we were standing, but he kept saying that he already won.“Okay, where is your ticket?” “I’m looking for it” as he continued to fiddle with his phone. “No, your paper ticket?” There was something really off about the guy, but I am bringing this up because it eventually becomes important…

So they stopped the initial cancel machi at #48. I had #64. Since they normally let 10 more people in for the last chance cancel machi round, I knew there would need to be six no-shows in front of me or I wouldn’t be getting in. In the meantime, another late-comer arrived with a winning email, make that seven no-shows needed for me to get in. The call resumed, and I was counting the people as it got closer to my number. At #62 there was one spot left, I just needed #63 to not be there. They didn’t show up, I was next. The last person called, score-a-rooni!  A couple minutes later the strange guy located his email. It turned out he had actually won the show, and if he had located his email before I had been called, I wouldn’t have gotten in at all. So I was really lucky. In the meantime I saw @Tuhis hanging out by the rear lockers. His number was much higher than mine, so unfortunately he didn’t get in. I saw him leave a short time later, so I don’t know if he participated in the “hashi draw” for High Touch or not. Anyway…

By the skin of my teeth, this would be my 47th Theater Show, and my 6th time seeing Idol Chugyou Chu! A few of the 16th gen/draftee ‘heavy hitters’ were not present, specifically Yahagi, Inagaki, and Orin. But I didn’t care since I was going to see Ranchan…..and Zunchan! Since I was going to relegated to the back of the theater, I could cheer for both of them without fear of instigating any jealousy. In the meantime, that strange guy got all excited that he was encountering a foreigner, and insisted on talking to me, loudly, in English, the entire time we were in queue. I don’t know why, but for my entire life I have always been a “weirdo magnet” and it drives me crazy. I found an open spot on the far right that wasn’t a horrible vantage point, and much to my disappointment the dude followed me all the way over there. Grreeaaat……

The show started with a Zenza Girls performance of Ookami to Pride, performed by Steffi from JKT48 and Mobile from BNK48, who are both on temporary loan to AKB. Being so far in back, I probably missed a lot of the little nuances of the show, although I was happy to see that Zunchan was close to the center for much of it. I was also really excited about her performance in Blue Rose. Adding Zunchan to that unit is to me just awesome, next level stuff. I would say my all-time favorite lineup, no offense to my precious Meetan, but I think Hitomin, Sorachan, and Zunchan are all perfect. As for Ranchan, per usual she was on the opposite side from where I was standing for a lot of the show. But I was sure to yell her name as loud as I could, and as much as I could. I caught her craning her head to look to the back a few times, so I think she did spot me eventually. Oh, and more weird stuff was going on inside the theater…

The staff were working overtime reprimanding people. At first I thought maybe they were getting more strict. But there was a guy standing a ways in front of me who insisted on dancing. They came over to tell him to stop three times. Each time he would stop for like 30 seconds, and then start right up again. Then there was another guy going a bit crazy with the lightsticks, so they had to tell him to calm down. Oh, and the weird dude got reprimanded for talking too loud, as he continued trying to engage me throughout the show.  Anyway, the stage eventually ended, but not before they sang the KKS/3rd Gen Draftee version of Sentimental Train. It isn’t a bad song, but not the most memorable either…

After that it was time for ‘High Wave’. After the front row, my area was called next. I was worried what would happen if Zunchan and Ranchan were positioned close together, but thankfully they were on opposite ends of the line. Of course I got an excellent greeting from Ranchan, and she followed me long enough to have a quick interaction where I asked if she could hear me cheering for her. But I also got great reactions from a number of members, including Kana, Tacchan, Kurumin, Hitomin, Steffi, and especially Honda Sora, which kinda surprised me. Although I have seen this stage so many times, I guess you could consider me at least a semi-regular.  I mean Tacchan tries to fish me all the time, and Kanachan attempts to fish everyone, but this was a first with Sorachan. In any case, I was so interested in who would react to me next that when I got to Zunchan I was sorta caught off-guard. She was like “Ehhh???”” But I got pushed by staff just as I tried to respond. In fact, I technically didn’t even acknowledge the last two girls.

From there I took off to buy the group photo, and one of the Janken photo sets for a friend who requested it. I considered getting the Hinaran set for myself, but remembered that I don’t really collect pics anymore, despite having thousands of them, LOL.

The bummer is that my win tonight probably decimated my chances to win Ranchan’s birthday stage on Monday, but I will still apply and hope for the best. In the meantime we have an SKE48 handshake event at Makuhari tomorrow, where I will get to congratulate Tani on all the new stuff going on for her. Plus, more fun with Kaotan, and a few other members. It should be a lot of fun.

CK in Tokyo

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