To be honest, I wasn’t too excited for this event. Not only did I have Slot 1 tickets, which I hate leaving early for, but I had other plans I was hoping to do in the afternoon. This meant I would likely need to oshi-mashi some of my later tickets if I wanted to leave early. I woke up early enough, but then lounged around my apartment for a while, causing myself leave later than I had hoped. Then my train was late, causing me to miss a connection. I ultimately got to the venue past security with around two minutes left before the first slot closed. I had two tickets for the slot, which meant I had to make a decision. Who would I see? Actually, I had multiple tickets for both of the members, so it wasn’t a big deal either way.
Also, the there was a very big crowd, which made walking around in the venue quite difficult, especially in the crossing hall between the two sides of the hall. There were doing so many activities and promotions in the middle that it caused a bottleneck between each side. This became even worse after slot three when the event is usually the busiest. Anyway, on to the handshakes…
Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 86) It was either Yukachan or Zunchan, and I picked my top member…of course. The line was short, but I ended up being in the queue for over 30 minutes since there was a dude in front of me with over 100 tickets, and another guy with around 40. Ultimately it caused a few fans not to be able to use their tickets, but they let me stick around. Anyway, I told Yukachan the story about missing my train, and arriving very late, but I was happy to make it in time to use the ticket. Yukachan didn’t have any starred lanes on this day, so it was either “use it or lose it.”
At this point I had decided that 1) I was going to leave the venue as early as possible, and 2) to do that I was going to oshi-mashi a bunch of tickets. I wasn’t sure who I would choose to see, and a lot of members I wanted to see didn’t have starred lanes, but I would figure it out as the day progressed…
Oguma Tsugumi (Lane 136) I considered using this ticket for an oshi-mashi, but her line wasn’t long, and I hadn’t seen her for a while. Anyway, I had a story to tell her. When it was my turn in the booth she immediately exclaimed that she thought she remembered me, but wasn’t sure. I told her I was the one who caught her ball a few months ago, which she then remembered. I told her that I had gone to Niigata for the first time three weeks ago, and even rode the Max-Toki. She asked how I liked it, but I had to tell her that the Typhoon came, and I had to return to Tokyo. She was like “Awwww” But I told her I would return if I could.
Sakaki Miyu [Cuca] (Lane 77) Cuca-chan was in one of those lanes with multiple people. She was grouped with Mineyoshi Arisa and Morishita Maiha. Cuca-chan was on the far right, and didn’t seem to be getting much action, but then most of the people directly in front of me all had tickets for her. When it was my turn I first commented to the other two that I liked their Halloween costumes, and exclaimed that STU has a lot of cute members. I then asked Cuca where her Halloween costume was, and she sadly replied that she didn’t wear any. Oops, I think perhaps I made her feel bad, as I noticed another fan asked her the same thing.
There was still plenty of time in the slot, so I could do some oshi-mashi. I decided to focus on 16th gen and AKB48 3rd gen draftees…
Suzuki Kurumi (Lane 49) <oshi-mashi of Zunchan ticket> Because this was a voting ticket event, there were very few *starred* lanes. This meant that any starred lanes were going to be insanely crowded and popular. There was a large group of people milling around the lane, and when they opened it for oshi-mashi there w a mad dash from every direction. I ended up being pretty far back, but they were processing people through as quickly as they could. While I was in queue I noticed the lane next to us also had a huge oshi-mashi crowd, and when I looked in the booth I noticed the girl had adorable cosplay on. Everyone seemed to be interested in her, and I heard a lot of people saying they were planning on heading to that lane afterward. I was thinking of visiting another lane, but this girl was really cute…
Finally it was my turn, and Kurumin gave me a big welcome. “You come to all the theater shows!” Yes I do, and I wanted to talk to you because I have seen how skillful you have become. I then asked her about her stuffed animal, which looked a lot like Zunchan’s “Gabriel-kun.” She told me its name, which sounded something like “Carolyn” as I started to get pushed out, but she kept her eyes on me and waved goodbye even as I was collecting my bag. In the meantime I had decided to not visit the lane I had originally planned (Sato Minami) and instead visit the cute girl in the next queue over…
Ishiwata Sena (Lane 50) <oshi-mashi of Rikopi ticket> At first I was questioning why I would want to visit a member I have virtually no connection with whatsoever, but then I realized I have actually seen her perform at the theater before. So at the very least I could talk with her about that. Also, she looks exactly like a younger version of Yuki Himeri, who is an indie idol (and former Kamen Joshi member) I am a big fan of. In the meantime, the longer I stood in line the more enamored with her I became. I wondered if she would become a permanent member of my handshake list. When my turn finally came I told her that I was her cosplay from a lane over, and wanted to meet her. I also mentioned that I had seen her in the theater before. She asked me something, but her voice was so low I couldn’t hear her, so I just nodded affirmatively, and that was it. It was a slight letdown after I had built it up in my mind, but I have no regrets.
I had a few tickets for the third slot, which also had a lot of members I was considering for oshi-mashi. I would play it by ear...
Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 86) <two tickets> I decided to use both of my Yuka-chan tickets in one go, so we would have time for a slightly extended conversation. I told her that I had added Mikan to my diet, and was eating them as dessert. She reminded me that she loves Mikan, which obviously I know. I also told her that I love Mandarin Oranges too. At the end I told her that she would be on my mind this coming Wednesday and congratulated her in advance. It’s her birthday! She thanked me, and said she hoped to see me again soon.
Kobayashi Ran (Lane 73) I had hoped to oshi-mashi a bunch of tickets in Ran-chan’s lane. But to my surprise her lane wasn’t starred. I wish I could say it was because her popularity is growing, but her queue never got long during the entire slot, which means someone used her slots to purchase voting tickets for another member, which IMO sucks. I saw this phenomenon with a few members. Non-starred lanes, no visitors. In fact, one member, Umemoto Izumi, seemed quite upset about it. Ran-chan was wearing police cosplay, which was one of the two most popular costumes being worn by the members, the other being ‘french maid.’ When it was my turn I introduced myself by name and told her that she looked adorable in her cosplay. She picked up her toy gun and started shooting at me, LOL. After which she exclaimed “Love Love!!!” Ran-chan is quickly becoming one of my top members, and may become part of my “Two-Top” once Kaotan graduates.
Tani Marika (Lane 41) I thought about doing oshi-mashi with this ticket too, but when I got to her lane it was completely empty. WTF? It wasn’t starred either. As I got closer to the booth I noticed she had her head down, so I called out to her “Marika-chan, Okite!” She looked up, saw me, and smiled. I decided to butter her up by telling her how cute she looked, which she reciprocated. I asked how she was doing, and she said she was good. I told her I was having fun today, and that was it. At least it was a bit better than the last few times I have seen her.
Taya Misaki (Lane 52) <oshi-mashi of Kaotan ticket> Yes, I oshi-mashi’d my Kaotan ticket. If Kaotan was there earlier I would have seen her, but I really wanted to get out of Makuhari early. This was a slight tactical error too, since I could have done oshi-mashi with Misaki in the next slot, and ended up not seeing members I thought about meeting in this slot. But no matter. I know I would get a ‘kami-taiyou’ reaction for her, and she did not disappoint. Just like Kurumin, “You’re the one who comes to the theater!” I thanked her for always giving me great reactions at the theater, and that she does a great job with her solo performance. To be honest, she isn’t among my favorite members, but I am really glad I took the time to meet her since she is always cool to me.
I had time, and wanted to do another oshi-mashi, and the girl I had earmarked for it was Katsumata Saori. who is another member who gives me great reactions at the theater. However, her queue was really long. I initially got in line, but then decided to leave in order to find a friend I needed to give a gift to. After I couldn’t find him I went back to Saori’s queue, but it was even longer than before. In the meantime, Ranchan saw me queued up for Saori, which felt a bit awkward. Heck, if they would have allowed it, I would’ve used the rest of my tickets on Ran-chan. But after a few more minutes standing in this frozen line, I decided to abandon the mission. It was too bad, since Saori had on really cute Flight Attendant cosplay.
Yamauchi Mizuki (Lane 55) This was my only slot 4 ticket, and Zukki’s lane was relatively short. She was wearing cute maid cosplay, and when I complimented her on it she gave me her usual reply. “I’m not cute!” In any case, I wished her a Happy Halloween.
So I had plenty of time to find another member to do oshi-mashi, but there was absolutely nobody with a starred lane who I had any desire whatsoever to meet. Well, there was Taya Misaki, but I had already met her the previous slot, and had no need at that point to see her again. I decided to go upstairs and take a break. I was hungry, thirsty, and I needed a smoke. I would come back early and get my last two tickets done as quickly as I could.
Yamane Suzuha (Lane 74) I queued up early for Zunchan, which gave me time to read the signs she had posted outside the lane. I notice that a few more members have started making signs, and have started decorating their booths, so Zunchan is a bit of a trendsetter. It looked as if I would be second in line, but just as the gate opened, the guy in front of me had a friend come by and start talking to him, so I just skipped by him and went to the front. When he came in behind me I asked him if he wanted the spot back, but he declined. In the meantime we couldn’t go in yet because she was still doing handshakes for the previous slot right up until 3pm. It turned out the check-in girl was from Fukuoka, and noticed the HKT gear I was wearing, so she was asking me if I had ever been the theater, who my favorite HKT member was, etc. Eventually they let queue at the booth, and since Zunchan was out on break, it gave me plenty of time to thoroughly read the signs she had posted in the booth. I understood most of it, she had written about the single, the fact it was Halloween, the cosplay she chose, and of course thanked people for coming….
Eventually it was my turn, I greeted her with “Trick or Treat!” She was taken aback for a second, and then went “Oh yeah!!!” I told her I read her sign. She asked how it was, and I told her I understood 80%, to which she gave me a big thumbs up. I also told her that I was glad to see Gabriel-kun (her stuffed animal frog) decided to wear cosplay too. I wished her a Happy Halloween, and was on my way to my last ticket.
Mutou Orin (Lane 46) Another non-starred lane, and another empty queue. Well at least I would be getting finished quickly. Orin was another one in police cosplay. I greeted her with “Hisashiburi” She asked me when was the last time she saw me, and I told her it was for her seitensei. I told her I had a really good time, and like with Zunchan, I wished her a Happy Halloween.
So I was successful in using all of my tickets, and I was able to get out of there almost two hours early. Like I said before, I wasn’t totally enthused about this event, but turned it into a fun little game of “Who will I oshi-mashi?” I am glad I chose the members that I chose, and would like to do that again soon. My next events will be in November. There are a couple of National Events, and a “Sentimental Train” individual event. So fun tiems.
CK in Tokyo