AKB48-Group ‘No Way Man’ Individual Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama (2019/05/05)

After attending a Jiwaru Days event at the beginning of Golden Week, I ended up finishing up the Holiday Week with another 48-group event. Well, technically there is one more day of Golden Week, and there is one more handshake event, but I have no tickets for Monday. In fact, I didn’t even get these Sunday tickets until around 3-4 weeks ago when they did one last resale round.

I managed to pick up nine tickets for slots 3-7, although technically most of my tickets were for slots 3, 4, and 7, with massive break from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. What was I going to do with all that down time? I entertained the idea of leaving Yokohama and heading over to Akihabara for a Minyo Girls free live, and I would’ve done it too if a friend of mine wanted to go. But he didn’t, so I didn’t either.

I got out to Yokohama a little late, so I didn’t have time to get lunch. I figured I would grab something at the food trucks at the event since the trucks last week had some really good grub! I arrived around fifteen minutes into Slot 3, and all the lines to get into the event were huge. What the hell? I hadn’t seen entrance lines like this for an AKB handshake event in years! I wondered what was up? But I still had time to get my tickets done, since technically all of my Slot 3 tickets were for the same member…

Slot 3

Kobayashi Ran (Lane 54) <two tickets> Although it was around 30 minutes into the slot already, I figured I had time to use one ticket, and then loop the line for a second handshake. I normally have horrible luck winning the prizes in Ranchan’s lane, but I was lucky enough to win on my first draw. It was a choice of 2-shot selfie or 1-shot video, I chose the selfie…

Normally you don’t have much time to talk when winning the prize, but I managed to squeeze in that I saw her new profile picture on the group website, and she looks really cute. She thanked me, and gave me this sort of snapping/pointing pose at the end. It was really cute, and I figured I might do it back to her when I looped the lane…

<second ticket> BTW, while I was in the queue I was watching Otake Hitomi a couple of lanes over, and was thinking that I should really do an oshi-mashi with her, but I just didn’t have the time. In any case, would I win the prize again the second time around? Nope, and it was too bad since there were a few really cute lines on the script sheet. But I would have more time to talk to Ranchan. When it was my turn I tried to mimic the snapping thing she did at me last time, and she was like “Huh, what are you doing?” “You did it to me a few minutes ago!” I replied. So we started snapping and pointing at each other, it was really silly. At the end she started rattling off English at me, and I replied “Candy’s!” which was written all over her shirt. She responded “Hah, Candy’s!”

So that used up pretty much all of Slot 3. I would head over to pre-queue for my first Slot 4 ticket…

Slot 4

Yamauchi Mizuki (Lane 69) After skipping Zukki at last week’s event (not on purpose, she just sold out before I applied) I was happy to be going to visit her again. Everything about her is so fresh, and sweet. There is just nothing about her to be critical of. Well, she might be bit on the shy side, but she really shines when performing. Anyway, I didn’t win the prize, which was a 1-shot video. Her lines are almost always long, so it is no surprise she would be difficult to win. Anyway, I told her that I was graduating from University, and she replied omedetou. Then I told her I needed to find a job in Japan, to which she pumped her fist and told me to do my best. And that was it.

Sato Shiori (Lane 57) After talking to Shiori at last week’s handshake event, I was excited about seeing her again. As I mentioned before, at first I thought she was a bit aloof, but after meeting her she is really just a bit shy, and ultimately very nice. Her line was fairly short, so I was reasonably confident I would win the prize, which I did. It was another 2-shot/1-shot choice, and again, I chose the selfie…

I told her that I was really happy that I met her last week, and was looking forward to today. She replied that she was also happy that I have come to visit her twice now. Of all the generations of AKB, I really have a nice connection with the 16th gen, as well as the 3rd gen AKB draftees.  It has made for some really nice handshake experiences.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 43) I was only 20 minutes into this slot, and ran into BigC as I crossed over to the HKT side of the middle section. (And yes, I gave him a bit of guff about not being on the forum lately) I had briefly considered doing oshi-mashi with this ticket, but then decided it was my only opportunity to win the signed “Koi” prize, so I would give it a go. At first I didn’t know there was a game involved in winning this prize, so I was hopeful I would have a decent chance of winning it. That was until I noticed that most people were leaving the lane empty-handed. Uh oh…

It turned out it was a simple dice game, both Maichan and I rolled a die at the same time, and if I had a higher number I would win. Maichan rolled a “3,” and then I rolled a “2.” Oh well. She immediately responded “Awwww, demo I love you!” I decided to inform her about my school graduation. She congratulated me in English, but then wasn’t sure if she was saying it right, repeating it three times and asking me if her pronunciation was good. I mean technically she was saying “congraturation,” but I told her it was fine.

At this point it was around 2 p.m., and I had one ticket between now and the after dinner slot at 6:30. I thought if I did oshi-mashi with that ticket in Slot 4, then I could just leave the venue for around four hours, and then return after the dinner break. I ended up doing a once-around the entire venue, looking for someone I could see, but only found a couple people I was slightly interested in. I didn’t want to see either of them that badly, so I decided to just hang out for the hour and use my ticket as scheduled. I could always go out to the “Gourmet Garden” outside and grab a snack.

Leaving the venue, I walked over to the where the AKB48 Shop and food trucks were, but noticed that the advert that showed what food was available had the same picture under all four stalls. Huh, everyone is serving the same dish? It turned out there was only one truck, which was serving Harumon Don. I do like Harumon, but upon closer inspection, it was expensive, and small. I just didn’t feel like spending 1000 yen on a bowl of rice with a couple pieces of meat on top, so I decided to hold out, even if I was hungry. So after grabbing a drink, I went back into the venue. Oh, and the lines to get in were still unusually long…

Slot 5

I headed over to the right side of the hall for the first time, which was also the location of the NGT48 members. In fact, the lane I was going to was directly across from the Mahohon lane. BTW, the entire setup of Maho’s lane was really strange. It was completely isolated from any other member lane, against the wall and next to an unusually wide handicapped lane. There were also an abundant amount of guards in her lane. I counted at least three security guards, two OJS guards, regular lane staff, and two people in suits, who I am guessing were from AKS? It looked more like a prison visit than a regular handshake. It made me wonder what they thought might happen. IMO they should be more worried about potential issues in the Tano and Nishigata lanes. I hope she and her fans had an enjoyable day despite the ominous presence around them the entire time.

Tani Marika (Lane 95) Well despite almost using this ticket on another member, I’m glad I decided to stick around. First of all, I won the prize, which was again the 1-shot/2-shot. I decided to go with the 2-shot again even though Marika is usually great on the videos. It seemed like most everyone in front of me had also won, and she was having fun shooting videos and taking selfies, even making a goofy face for the guy in front of me. When it was my turn. Marika immediately stated that she loves doing selfies.

After I took the pic, Marika exclaimed “Good job.” I told her that whenever she wears all black she looks especially cute. She countered that she liked my powder blue shirt. In fact, I think Maichan also made a comment about my shirt too, and they wouldn’t be the last.

So now I had 3+ hours to kill before my last rounds of handshakes. What would I do?

My first stop, after a twenty-minute walk to Red Brick Warehouse I decided to check out the Fruhlings Fest, which is Germany’s Spring-version of Oktoberfest. Pretty much the same setup; lots of German beer, German food, and of course a German party band singing songs like Cowboy and Indianer, The Flyer Song, and of course Ein Prosit a bunch of times. Their setup with the beer was slightly different from how they do it at the Tokyo Oktoberfest. They were serving the beer in plastic cups instead of the mugs, which meant you don’t have to pay the usual 1000 yen deposit. The issues I had were 1) the plastic cups were kinda small in comparison to what they were charging for beer, and 2) German beer just doesn’t taste nearly as good in a plastic cup. Anyway, I spent about an hour there, and then began heading back toward Pacifico. But I had more stops…

I was surprised when I came across the Cup Noodle Museum. Now here is a place I would really like to check out. I didn’t want to go through the museum on a limited schedule, but I did check out their gift shop. Lots of cool stuff, and lots of rare flavors of Nissin Cup Noodles, not to mention they also still make and sell the original and other early versions of the Nissin products. I was tempted to buy a few things, since they weren’t very expensive, but they all came in large boxes, which I didn’t want to haul around the handshake event. I figure I will come back another time and get the full experience.

Almost back to the venue, I decided to take more more small detour through the InterContinental Yokohama Grand Hotel, which is one of two really nice hotels you walk by when going from the train station to Pacifico. It is beautiful inside, and has lots of very nice restaurants and lounges, many with bay views. I was especially interested in the buffet, which at 6100 yen per person wasn’t cheap, but considering the kinds of food they were serving didn’t look like a bad deal at all. Anyway, I was done with my little side trip, it was almost time for the after-dinner slots.

Slot 7

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 80) By the time I got back into the event they had already started letting people queue up, so I was around 12th in line. Zunchan’s lane was right next to the SKE lanes, and while we were waiting Suda Akari came running out right next to us to greet her fans. She and her fans were making such a big fuss that they attracted the attention of all the lanes in the vicinity. It was during this time that Zunchan came out to begin the slot, but like us, she was totally interested in what Dasu was up to at the end of the lane. She kept peering over to Dasu, probably getting some ideas since like Dasu, Zunchan is totally into fanservice.

I didn’t win the prize, which was some sort of signed photo. I once again noticed the ribbon in her hair, and like last week, she at first thought I was referencing the sign, but quickly realized I meant her hair ribbon. She confirmed it was in fact new and thanked me for noticing. She was the third person to remark about my shirt, saying that blue looks really good on me. I told her it was because it matched my eyes. She was like “Oh yeah, it does!” BTW, her sign was talking about Kodomo no Hi, and I had originally meant to ask her if she knew of Cinco de Mayo, which of course is also on May 5th, but I didn’t have the chance.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 48) <two tickets> Just like last week I would be ending the day with my favorite member Yukachan. Lately I have been skipping going to Yukachan in the beginning of her slots since there is a particular fan I try to avoid. He’s a nice guy, and he does speak English, but he obsessively has to always be first in line, and whenever he sees another idol, he maniacally tries to get their attention, even if they are in the middle of handshakes with their fans, which I find even more strange since he often proudly states that he only gets tickets for Yukachan, and nobody else. When I arrived he had just re-queued for his second visit, and as expected was desperately trying to get Mio’s attention two lanes over, but she never looked over. In the meantime, I had won the prize, which was a signed photo…

I decided to tell Yukachan about my visit to the Cup Noodle Museum, and asked her if she knew it was nearby. She asked me if I liked it and I told her about some of the neat flavors they had for sale, like the “Smoky and Spicy Ramen” and “Cheese Curry” as well as the Original Chicken Ramen. I got my signed photo, and told her I would be right back.

<second ticket> I waited a couple minutes before re-queueing, and again won the photo, exclaiming “Yokatta, Lucky!”  The guy at the booth laughed, and agreed “You are lucky today.” I decided, just to mix it up a bit, to write my full name on the card instead of the usual “Kurisu.” Yuikachan would probably get a kick out of it.

Of course that was her first remark, she kinda guffawed and said “Kurisutofaaaa” Yep, that’s my name. It was at that moment I realized that I have never mentioned to Yukachan before that I have been to Hakata a couple times. So since we were already talking about ramen, I mentioned that I had been to Diver City when they had the HKT48 shop, and ate at Ramen Stadium during each visit. The interesting part was despite being in Kyushu, which is famous for Hakata Ramen, I ate Hokkaido ramen (Which was delicious BTW!) I also mentioned that I also had dinner one night at a Yatai along the river. She said she had never done that before, which makes sense since that is more of an “adult thing.” I told her it was expensive, but the food was very good. She actually took her time signing the photo, which caused the guards to call time three times before she finished, LOL. I told her I would see her at the next HKT48 event next month.

My Hokkaido Ramen in Hakata

I was done with my tickets. I had won 5 out of 9 prizes, which again was good. I won 6 out of 14 last week. So I am winning right around 50%. As I left I ran into my friend Panda, who had a bunch of Mikurin tickets still left to do both on Sunday and Monday. But to be honest I was exhausted and just wanted to start heading home. I returned to my apartment at 8:45 and immediately started writing this, but then began dozing off in the chair, so I finished it in the morning.

At this point I have no AKB48 handshake tickets for any future events, and I have tickets for one HKT48 event in June, which is technically the day after my current visa expires, but I plan on getting that taken care of next week. There is an AKB48 national event in a couple weeks, which at this point I am planning to attend. So that should be fun. In the meantime, since I have no school my current “job” is to continue to send out job applications until I land something. I sent out a bunch during Golden Week, so hopefully I will get some good responses in the coming days.

CK in Tokyo