AKB48-Group ‘Jiwaru Days’ Individual Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2019/04/29)

With two 48-group handshake events on consecutive weekends, it seems kind of odd that I went to a Jiwaru Days event this weekend, and then am going to a No Way Man event next weekend. But such is life when AKB48 schedules far more handshake events than they used to. I should also mention that this is the only 55th single event I obtained tickets for. Most of the events for this single are in August, and I still need to renew my visa between now and then. And until then, I don’t like investing in events I’m not sure I will be able to attend.

My tickets stretched out from Slot 2 all the way through Slot 7, so this would be a longer than average handshake day for me. Also, of the 14 tickets I had, eleven of them were for the new “Situation 1-shot” photo, which is essentially the member striking a pose based on a scenario. I mean they could’ve just given us choices like “smile pose” or “surprised pose,” but I guess this was supposed to make it seem more special…or something. The other unique prize of the day was the “Date Planner,” which was an academic-looking version of a planned date. If you won it, the member autographed a copy for you. (Similar to that “resume” prize they offered last year.) I’ll just tell you right now, I had two tickets for that prize, but won neither. At the same time, all the members’ date plans were hung on a wall, so anyone could take a photo of them if they liked.

The one-shot scenarios

I arrived at the venue on-time, and decided to test using my tickets without having them stamped since my ID now contains my Japanese address. I only had my ticket questioned once, because my name wasn’t exactly the same. (Christop) But when I pointed out that my name exceeds the 8-character limit on the website, they were like “Oh, that makes sense,” and let me through. Anyway, off we go!

Slot 2

Since they were fairly close together, I checked which of my two tickets had a shorter queue, and despite seeing one of my Wasa-buddies Caster in one of the queues, I decided to visit the other one first…

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 58) Surprisingly, her line wasn’t very long. Perhaps because it was early? Anyway, I won the prize, which was a 2-shot selfie. Cool, since I don’t remember if I had ever won that prize with her before…

She came in nice and close, Nice! When you win the prize, they don’t really give you more than a few seconds to talk, so I told her I graduated from University, and she started clapping. I also told her that I had a ticket for her later, so I would see her in a bit.

Honda Sora (Lane 51) Sora-chan’s queue had already gotten a bit shorter. BTW, I ordered these tickets right around the time of seeing a couple of KKS/Draftee theater shows, which is why I mixed a few new members into my schedule. I won the “Situation 1-shot” prize, and confirmed with the staff that it was indeed a photo, and not a video. I randomly picked one of the poses, not really bothering to try and figure out the scenarios being described. Meanwhile, Sato Shiori, another draftee who often gives me great reactions at the theater, noticed me in Sora-chan’s lane and began smiling and waving at me. I do have a ticket to see her next week, but I would love to capitalize on this little interaction. Anyway, it was my turn. Sora-chan looked at the paper, kinda went “Well, okay…” and struck this pose…

That’s what I picked? LOL! Sora immediately started taking to me really fast, but I didn’t catch what she said, so I kept nodding. I just said I wanted to see her, and thanked her for the photo.

I had one ticket that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use. I do like Ishiwata Sena, but to be honest I really haven’t connected with her the two times I have met her, and she doesn’t really react to me at theater high-touch. Also, I was trying to free up some time in the early evening to have an extended dinner break. Thus, it was the perfect time to pull an oshi-mashi

Not my pic

Sato Shiori (Lane 50) <oshi-mashi> So yeah, I figured I would strike while the iron was hot, and go see Shiori now. Her queue was very short, just a couple of people. The moment I entered the booth, she exclaimed “I just saw you in the next lane!” I told her that I indeed have a scheduled ticket for her at next week’s handshake event, but after seeing her earlier I decided I wanted to meet her today. She thanked me, and said she looked forward to seeing me next week. The thing about Shiori, she does come across as kind of aloof and goofy, but at the end of the day she is really a sweet gal. And like I mentioned before, here and in my KKS stage reports, she does make an effort to connect with me, which should be a hint to any idol attempting to cultivate me as a fan.

Slot 3

Funny little story, in the short break I had between the slots, I was approached by an HKT fan who noticed my Akiyoshi ticket necklace. He asked if I was on twitter, then he asked if I was Italian. LOL, I knew where this was going. There is a noted foreign Yukachan fan on Twitter who has the Italian flag in his nick, and this guy assumed that was me. He was an Oda Ayaka fan, and kept asking me what I think of O-D-A. I don’t really follow her, but I said she was cute.

Kobayashi Ran (Lane 43) <two tickets> I pre-queued for the lane and got in around 6th. I didn’t win the prize, which seems like my usual result with Ran-chan. In the meantime, I was spying Yahagi Moeka and her long queue in the lane to our right, and Miyazaki Miho in the lane to our left. When my turn came I told her that I was sorry that I hadn’t seen her lately, but I just hadn’t won a theater show in a while. She did the ‘crying face’ pose, but then I told her that I just graduated from college, and she started clapping. In the meantime, I “borrowed” someone else’s 1-shot photo, just so we can all experience the cuteness of Ran-chan.

Also not my pic

<2nd ticket> After a quick visit to another lane, I re-queued for Ran-chan. I don’t know why my prize-winning luck is so horrible for her, but I lost again. I told her that I now needed to find a job in Japan if I wanted to stay, and I asked her what she thought of the idea of me looking for a job in Osaka (Her hometown) She exclaimed “You are moving to Osaka???” Well, maybe. But I will look for work in Tokyo first. She she seemed relieved when I said that. Also, as we were talking she leaned in really close to me. I never noticed she is kinda freckle-faced, which looks really cute on her. I have more tickets for her next week. Hopefully I will win the prize for a change.

Sakaki Miyu <CUCA> (Lane 64) Once again, not an instant win for the Cuca prize, which was nice, but the fact that her birthday was this weekend may have also contributed to that. Either way, I won the prize, which was good because Cuca looked especially adorable today…

BTW, from this point I starting telling the girls to do whichever pose they liked, although I think they were just doing the one’s I randomly selected. In my quick interaction I told her that I am enjoying her YouTube channel, and I liked watching her make the sandwich. However, I neglected to wish her a happy birthday. Oops. But all was not lost…

After visiting with a friend over by the HKT lanes, who recommended I meet new HKT kenkyuusei Kudo Haruka since he thinks she looks like a young Akiyoshi, I headed back toward the exit. However, I was stopped when I noticed a gathering of Cuca fans all wearing her birthday shirt. I thought “It’s her birthday??? Shoot, I didn’t say anything about it to her.” I could tell they were setting up to do a presentation for her, unfurling a birthday banner and whatnot, so I decided to stick around Eventually I was handed a couple of uchiwa and asked to join the group. You can see me in the photos which were posted on Twitter…

I should be easy to spot in both of these pics

They should have brought her a megaphone, since she is kinda soft-spoken, and was hard to hear with all the music playing, but it was nice to see a large group of people making such a big deal out of her birthday. And I hope if made her feel special, since she still seems to be struggling to establish a bigger fanbase. Oh, and if you would like to see what the uchiwa looked like…

Slot 4

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 31) For both of my tickets in this slot, I had the opportunity to win that “date planner” prize, which I honestly didn’t care all that much about. So when I didn’t win I was like “whatever.” Anyway, I have been struggling to come up with stuff to talk with Maichan about, but I did notice she was wearing concert gear from the Sasshi graduation show the previous day, only her shirt was white, instead of the usual yellow t-shirts I saw people wearing around the venue. So I pointed out her t-shirt, to which she asked if I was at the concert. I then noticed that what she was wearing was more like a sweatshirt, so I asked her if it was a ‘hoodie,’ but I guess they don’t use that term in Japan. Is it a ‘Parka?’ Anyway, I pointed to the hood, and then she understood was I was getting at.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 58) Zunchan was right next to Yamauchi Yuzuki, who I usually get tickets for. However, since I applied so late she was sold out in all the slots I wanted. I wonder if she saw me? No matter, I have a ticket for Zukki next week. On the right was Iwatate Saho, whose queue was empty. Hmmm, makes me wonder how much longer she will be around. Anyway, I didn’t win the prize, which was okay since I won the better Zunchan prize earlier. BTW, here is a photo of her date planner…

Zunchan thanked me for coming back to her again. I decided I wanted to compliment her on the cute little tiara (or whatever the heck it is) she was wearing. At first she thought I was talking about her big handwritten sign behind her, which I often make reference to when I see her. But I was like “No, your hair!” She was like “Oh this?” Yes, it is is cute, I added. She thanked me again, and I was on my way.

Slots 5 & 6

Since I now only had one ticket each for the next two slots, I decided to leave the venue for a little while to find a place to sit. I also decided to check out what was going on over in the main halls of Makuhari, since I saw a bunch of boy-band wannabe yankii types heading in that direction all day. It turned out Nogizaka46 had a big event going on. and I saw quite a few former AKB fans over there as well. Well, I think some of them were double-dipping both events, but others I think have fully oshihenned over to the 46-groups, since I saw a few people over there that I haven’t seen at an AKB event for a while. Anyhow, I eventually made it back to Halls 9-11 for the AKB event. But before heading in…

I decided to check out the birthday booths to see if there was anyone I wished to sign a card for. It was then I noticed a booth for Otake Hitomi, another 3rd gen draftee I am fond of. So I immediately asked to sign a card. Their staff also asked me to sign a sticker for a 3rd gen 1st anniversary project they were working on. No problem. After I was done, the group next door immediately asked me to sign a birthday card for Saito Haruna. Now I do think Haatan is cute, but I explained to the guy that I had never actually talked to her before. He said that was okay, and still insisted I sign. So I kept it simple. “Happy birthday, I think you are cute!” LOL. I then commented that I thought their birthday cards were really cool, which have a drawing of Haatan playing an electric guitar.

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 36) This was my one prize win amidst a slew of 5 losses. And once again I told her to do whichever pose she wanted…

Okay, this one was pretty cute. It was the “smile” pose at the bottom. In any case, I asked Bibian if she had fun at the concert. She responded “Me? Yes, I had lot of fun. Where you there?” No, but I watched it on pay-per-view. Since I had won the prize, the interaction was pretty quick, but I did get to say that I thought the concert was good.

Katsumata Saori (Lane 43) I was really happy to finally be doing a proper handshake with Saori. The first time I met her was when she was in a dual-lane with Ranchan back when they were brand new. Ever since then she has always gone out of her way to acknowledge me, even going as far as getting Ranchan’s attention for me when she spotted me in the theater audience. Oh, and while I was waiting I noticed this really pretty girl a couple of lanes over. Who was this goddess? Oh wait…is that….Chori???? OMG, when did she become such a babe?

Not my pic either

Saori seemed really excited to see me when I entered the queue. I pretty much thanked her, saying that she always gives me such a great smile whenever I visit the theater, and that it made me want to come and see her. She seemed to be taking it all in as I was explaining this to her as well. So it was a good meeting. Oh, and I was talking with my friend Will later on, and we were wondering what languages other than Japanese she can speak since she lived in Europe. I don’t think she can speak English, but Will was speculating that he thinks she might know some French. Anyway, it was time for my dinner break. I had two hours to kill, but not before a quick hello to my friend Boma.

Slot 7

This would be my one trip to the right side of the Halls, The left side were lanes 1-64, which housed Team 8, HKT, AKB, and a couple of STU lanes. (where I saw Cuca) The right side had most of STU, NMB, SKE, and NGT. I did take a peek over there earlier in the day, and noticed the entire NMB area was like a ghost town. Just no queues whatsoever. SKE might have been similar, except they had the Jurina, Dasu, and Furuhata lanes, which were all quite long. NGT’s lanes were quite crowded, but that may also have had something to do with them doing makeups on a bunch of events they missed earlier this year. Anyway, I started Slot 7 with my one ticket on the North End…

Tani, with Chori and Anna

Tani Marika (Lane 100) I didn’t win the photo op, so I would have to come up with stuff to talk to Tani about. Of course I led with the “You look cute” today line, since I know Tani likes to fish for compliments. At one point she told me that she liked my goatee, LOL. But when I told her I graduated from University, I got the best reaction: “Graduation present for you!” and she blew me a kiss. I’ll take it!

From there I went on a five-minute hike to the complete opposite end of the hall, and my last three tickets of the day…

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 33) <three tickets> Saving the best for last. I immediately entered the queue, and broke my prize losing streak by winning the one-shot pic. Once again, I told Yukachan to do any pose she wanted…

Okay, so the “shocked” look. I told Yukachan that like her, I graduated from school, and that I would need to start looking for a job now. She congratulated me, and I told her I would be right back.

<2nd and 3rd ticket> Since it was getting close to oshi-mashi time, I decided to do my last two tickets in one go, and then I would have a little more time to talk to her. I won one of the two pics, so I would be getting another one-shot. I picked a different number this time…

But I got pretty much the same pose, although this one seems more like a “happy surprise” pose than being shocked. Anyway, I told Yukachan that I didn’t go to the concert on Sunday, but watched it on TV. I told her that I was playing the “Try to find Yukachan game” while I watched. She asked if I spotted her. Yes, a few times. She asked if she would see me tomorrow. No, but I told her I have tickets for next weekend, so all good.

Getting out of the hall at 7 p.m. meant I wouldn’t be getting home too late. Oh, and when I got to the station, the Limited Express that goes nonstop to Tokyo was about to arrive, so I quickly purchased a ticket at the trackside kiosk and hopped on. What’s amazing to me is that a lot of people get on that train without buying a Limited Express ticket, and then act surprised when the staff comes over and informs them that it’s 510 yen extra to ride this train. The funny thing is that I have always wondered how to use the Limited Express without buying a ticket at the ticket office, or having a JR Railpass. Well I guess the locals have answered my question. You just board the train and play dumb, then wait for the staff to ask for your ticket before finally paying, LOL.

CK in Tokyo