I was really looking forward to this event for a couple reasons. For one, it seemed like it had been quite a while since I had attended an AKB handshake event. (Actually, it was November, so 2 months) Also, since I got to attend one of the Request Hour shows, I had lots to talk about with most of the members I had tickets for. On the other hand, I was somewhat concerned about possible awkwardness at the event considering the current goings-on with NGT48, but luckily, and as expected, the NGT members sat out the event. Definitely a wise choice.
I had 10 tickets for 7 different members, and oddly enough the way my tickets were scheduled I met each group separately. I started with an STU ticket, then used all of my AKB tickets, after that moved on to my HKT tickets, and finished with my SKE ticket. I arrived early enough to grab some lunch at Makuhari, then checked in to get my tickets stamped. I only had one ticket for slot three, and I figured the line wouldn’t be very long anyway. Oh, and the prizes were again in play for this event. Let’s see if I could do better than last time, where I lost all but one.
One other thing, I never noticed it before, but there are A LOT of fans at AKB handshake events with bleached blonde hair. I have a feeling quite a few people may have been noticing that on Sunday, if you know what I mean…
Sakaki Miyu <CUCA> (Lane 116) Per usual, Cuca’s lane was an “automatic win” for the prize, which was a choice of 2-shot selfie or 1-shot video. I have done both with her before, so for this one I chose the selfie. Cuca immediately switched to English when I came into the booth. “Oh hello, thank you” I got ready for the 2-shot, aimed my camera, made sure we were both in the shot, and….
OOOFAA! I didn’t look at the pic until after I left the lane, but the expression on my face is ridiculous. And don’t ask, I’m not showing it. My eyes are closed, my mouth is contorted into a weird position. In any case, I told Cuca that I am enjoying her YouTube channel. She was like “Huh?” I said the video of her making coffee was the best. “Oh!” (she started laughing)
BTW, the special prize for this event was the recipe card, which only some of the members were offering. Last year it seemed like pretty much all the members did a recipe, but this time for some reason it was only a few members. I did take photos of the recipe cards of members I like. (Although my Zunchan recipe card pic came out all blurry)
Ranran, Kaho, Yunana, Maichan, Mio, Ricopi, and Tani. Of course Marika’s recipe is a goof, just like last year.
Yamane Suzuha (Lane 45) I pre-queued for this lane since I had three tickets for slot 4. The pre-queue line grew fairly long too. And just like the last time I lined up early for Zunchan, some of her younger fans try to cut in line at the last second. And just like last time, one of them tried to cut in front of me, and I elbowed them out of the way. Although the joke was ultimately on me since I lost for the prize and they won. It was the recipe card, so no big deal.
This wasn’t Zunchan’s first slot, but since she had taken a break in Slot 3 she had to remove all of her signs, streamers, and balloons, which meant I got to watch her put them all back up. It is amazing to see the care she puts into putting up all the decorations in her booth, although I didn’t really have any time to read her messages. I told her that I was in the audience for her performance of Suki no Tane, and like her, I also think that HKT’s Koisuru Ribbon is a really cute song (she mentioned it on Twitter) She was like “Yeah!!!” As usual, she was a total sweetheart.
Kobayashi Ran (Lane 41) <2 tickets> Despite not seeing her at handshakes for a while, I have seen Ranchan at the theater a couple times lately. On Sunday she was wearing adorable usagi cosplay, with ears she could make flop around. The prize for Ranchan’s lane was the 1-shot/2-shot choice, and on my first go-round I lost. WTF? I have the worst luck in her lane! She only has one slot thou, and it is always packed. I’m gonna guess that they are going to expand her to multiple slots for the next single. Of course Ranchan was excited to see me, and I told her that I was one of the people speaking English at her when she was asking for help with her English homework on Showroom. She immediately remembered, which isn’t surprising since there were only a couple people speaking English, and I specifically said that I was a native English speaker. So cool!
(2nd ticket) I immediately looped the lane, and got back into her long queue. And finally I won the prize! But which should I choose. I ultimately chose the 2-shot again since I have never taken a 2-shot with her ever before. This time I was going to make sure it came out good, and that the expression on my face wasn’t idiotic…
That’s more like it, and Ranchan came in nice and close too. I wanted to tell her that I really like he expanded role in the Pajama Drive stage, but I was getting pushed out almost immediately. I had only gotten half the sentence out “Pajama Drive ni, Ranchan wa…” she immediately interjected “Saiko???” Sure, okay. “HAI!” She gave me a big thumbs up, and an ear flop with her costume for good measure.
BTW, I tweeted that pic in the late afternoon, and got a few ‘likes’ from the Japanese fans. The other interesting thing is that Wasamin has admitted to me multiple times that she does read my twitter, so I’m not sure if it was a coincidence, but a couple hours after I made that tweet Wasamin randomly tweeted “I want to play with young girls!” LOL. What was even more interesting in Wasamin’s responses was that Chiba Erii tweeted that she wanted to play with Wasamin. Uh oh…
Yamauchi Mizuki (Lane 44) Zukki was right next to Zunchan, so while I was waiting I watched Zunchan interacting with her fans. She’s so adorable! In the meantime, I won the prize, which was the signed recipe card.
The wait wasn’t very long, so when it was my turn I told her I was at the early show on Saturday, and was happy to see that she got to perform in quite a few songs. Not to mention she got to be in the KFC senbatsu. She thanked me as she handed me the signed card. This was my last AKB member ticket, I headed over to the other side of the hall where the HKT members’ lanes were…
Murakawa Bibian (Lane 99) I decided to try to see Bibian more often, since she has been really cool to visit lately. There was some sort of issue in her queue; There were a whole bunch of security at the check-in desk talking with two guys. Ultimately they removed them from the queue. I’m not sure what that was all about, but I had the feeling it was an I.D. issue. Anyway, I had a couple things I wanted to talk to her about, but I ended up winning the 2-shot/1-shot prize, which would take up most of the talk time. I chose the 1-shot video, since I had never done one with her before. I originally chose a New Year’s message, but changed to a different one at the last minute.
Cute! I didn’t have much time, so I told her that I saw her perform Sawatte Yasukute Gomen, and that the green and black outfit she wore is really cute. I got the usual giggly response. I wanted to talk more about her antics on the stage risers, but I ran out of time. Oh well…
As I left the lane I ran into my friend Panda, who had a piece of Mooncake for me that he had purchased in Taiwan. I love Mooncake, although I hadn’t eaten it in quite a while, so a nice surprise!
Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 103) <2 tickets> For slot six I only had tickets for Yukachan, so my plan was to get them done quickly, then take off for dinner since I would have over 90 minutes until Slot 7 opened up. The problem was that there was some issue with Motomura Aoi’s handshake queue, and the line was still gigantic even though she was supposed to be done. The Akiyoshi fans immediately started bitching at the staff, and they told us they would be moving Aoitan’s queue to another lane. Sure enough, right at 4:30 the Aoitan fans were moved to Sasshi’s lane next door, since she was out for the day.
I didn’t win the prize, which was again the 2-shot/1-shot. “Yaho Kurisu!” I told her I was in the 8th row for Koisuru Ribbon, and was trying to get her attention. I also mentioned that I thought Cross was awesome, and asked her what she thought. She was like “Oh yeah, it was!” I told her I would be back in a few minutes. In the meantime her fans were putting together a congratulatory message book for her upcoming High School graduation. I originally wrote her a message in Japanese, but then thought better of it and asked if I could re-write one in English instead. They thought it was a good idea too, since I have been told by the committees before that they like getting a few English messages in there, not to mention Yukachan studies English, and is fairly good at it.
<2nd ticket> This time I won, and I chose the 1-shot video since I had already done two selfies, just to make it even. I chose the New Year’s one that I almost had Bibian do.
Yukachan can be a bit soft-spoken, so with all the noise in the hall sometimes she is hard to hear. But her facial expressions are adorable. I told her I am also graduating this semester, so we will be celebrating together. We both wished one another good luck this semester. That’s amazing though, Yukachan is college age now. It seems like yesterday she was a ‘little kid’.
From there I went to dinner. While eating I was talking with my friend Jeff, who I didn’t realize was also at the event. We planned to meet up at Yukachan’s lane in the next slot. This was also around the time I ran into my friend Boma Adhi where we compared our prize winning percentages.
Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 103) One more Yukachan ticket, and this time I won the recipe card. In the meantime Jeff told me he was visiting Yukirin’s lane first before coming to see Yuka. Shoot, I hope he doesn’t take too long since I wanted to use up my last tickets quickly so I could head home. While Yukachan signed the recipe card I told her a bit about my new job, where I was working and what I was doing. When she finished signing she asked me to please try her recipe, and that it’s really good. I told her that I had already seen it outside on the wall, and that I love Kimchi, so…
So I left the lane, and there was no sign of Jeff. I slowly made my way across the venue toward my last ticket when Jeff messaged me that he was in front of Yukachan’s lane, so I high-tailed it back so I could talk with him for a few minutes. However, this ended up being a major tactical error. I finished visiting with him, and was heading toward my final lane when the 30-minute oshi-mashi announcement was made. Oh shit! If my ticket is for a starred lane, this could be major trouble. Sure enough, the lane was starred, and the queue was an absolute madhouse!
Matsumura Kaori (Lane 21) I got into the queue, which took me almost a half-hour just to check in. I mean not only was the line long, but Kaotan is well-known for taking her time with each fan. I also won the prize, which was a signed member card. Ultimately it took me about an hour to make my way through the queue. But of course Kaotan never disappoints…
While she was signing the card I was telling her where I was sitting during the show, which was exactly opposite where she sat on the risers. Moreover, I told her I kept waving at her, but Dasu noticed me instead, LOL. Kaotan has been promoting her graduation concert, so she reminded me that the lottery for tickets would start on Monday. I told her I would do my best. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure if I could make the show, but it turns out it starts late enough in the evening that I can make it, so I will apply. Hopefully I will win. And hopefully the fact that she has been listed on my ticket center account as my SKE oshimen for at least 2 1/2 years will help with my chances.
It was 8pm, far later than I expected to be at the event. Oh well, I started the long trek back home. I had homework that I absolutely had to finish before I went to bed, and I knew it would take me a while. Oh, and I ultimately it on 7 out of 10 prizes, which is damn good. Two of the three misses were on members I also won (Yukachan, Ranchan) The only member I was completely skunked on was Zunchan. But yeah, that’s a heck of a lot better than the 1 out of 10 I got last time.
I don’t have any tickets for the February ‘No Way Man’ event, opting instead for March. However, next week is the big Wasamin concert, so I am really excited about that!
CK in Tokyo