Posts Tagged ‘Akiyoshi Yuka’

Events, HKT48 HKT48 1st Album Shamekai Event at TOC Gotanda Messe (2018/05/20)

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This was the last in the series of both AKB48 and HKT48’s album shamekai events. Despite only having three usable tickets the first time around, I had a lot of fun during ‘Sports Day’ where the members wore sporty clothing and we took photos with sports themed backdrops. I was also really looking forward to seeing Yukachan again since it had been a while. I didn’t win a ticket for the Romeo and Juliet musical, and I had to oshimashi my Yukachan ticket at the 48-group event last week since she was out for the day (I used it on Yamauchi Suzuran) I also got the great news that Tomonaga Mio would be attending the event, and those of us who couldn’t use our Mio tickets last time could use them at this event as a makeup. That gave me five tickets in total to use.

TOC Gotanda Messe is similar to Tokyo Ryutsu Center in that it is extremely small compared to Pacifico, Makuhari, or Big Sight. And like Ryutsu Center, the lanes were spread out over two different rooms. Both rooms were relatively similar in size. The first room contained lanes 14-22, which were generally the girls who usually have shorter queues. It also had the entrance/bag check, information desks, and handicapped seating area. The far room had lanes 1-13, plus lane 23 which was the ‘Group Shamekai’ lane. I didn’t notice they had added this feature, and Yukachan’s group sold out before I tried to apply. In-between the two rooms was a large hallway, where they moved spillover queues, then the outside parking lot had food, goods, and photo trading. I got in before the 2nd slot started, and immediately queued for Yukachan…

Slot 2

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) “Otona Ressha”: While waiting in queue for Yukachan, Hokazono Hazuki’s lane already opened. Hazuki was wearing tight, black leather pants and a red leather jacket from the 10th single Platinum Girls B-side, and with her red hair she looked totally hawt. In fact, at one point she caught me checking her out and smiled at me. Meanwhile, Yukachan’s lane finally opened up. Great to see her out of her cast and without her legs covered. Plus, she was wearing the outfit of one of, if my my favorite 48-group songs of all time, cool! When I was third in queue I caught her eye and she smiled at me. Finally it was my turn. “Kurissuuuu” However I hadn’t even sat down yet and the guards were already yelling “pose, pose!” So we quickly did a heart pose.

I tried to say something to Yukachan but they were pushing me out withing a micro-second of me shaking her hand. Oh well, maybe I will get a chance to say something to her next time around.

I had loads of time, and wanted to get something to eat before the food queues got too long, so I went out through the hall and toward the food booths. Karaage, Gyu Bowls, and skewers. I still find it interesting that they offer skewers on sharp wooden sticks inside the venue. Nobody sees the irony in that? I got a Gyutan Bowl.

I also noticed that were selling the guidebook. After seeing the Yukachan photo from the book, it was pretty much a given I was going to buy it. Plus, I would get a bonus photo from buying at an event. Anyway, I went back into the venue to use my other Yukachan ticket…

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) <2nd ticket> This time I was determined to say something other than hello. The line was short, so I was to the front within a minute or two. Once again, the guards were yelling “pose, pose” and we did an usagi pose.

The guards were trying to push me out, but I managed to ask her about her performance in Romeo and Juliet. However, I think she assumed, based on my question, that I had seen the play, so she thanked me for seeing it. As I was being pushed out, I didn’t have the chance to correct her. That’s okay, if she assumes I saw it, that’s better for my fan cred, LOL. I turned back and she was still looking at me and smiling as I was collecting my bag, so I smiled and waved back to her one more time. I’ll have plenty of time to talk to her at the upcoming Jabaja handshake events, so no biggie.

I left Yukachan’s lane, and the was still around 5-10 minutes before the gates closed. I decided to get my makeup ticket done right then and there. I didn’t want to lose out on my chance later on (a wise move, as you will find out)

Tomonaga Mio (Lane 7) “Hitsuzenteki Koibito”: This was the only ticket I had for the ‘senbatsu room’ where most of the long queues were. I had checked earlier, and Mio’s queue was fairly long. When I returned it was somewhat shorter, as were the queues of most of the members, but it still extended outside the lane itself. The nice thing was since my ticket was a make-up from April, I could use it in any slot I wanted. I wanted to get it done ASAP just in case Mio bailed on the event at some point (which she later did!) Once again, it was extremely noticeable how quickly they were processing fans through the shamekai. In fact, the queue past check-in was getting shorter, despite the larger queue outside. They were taking 2-shots faster than they were checking people in, LOL. The gate had already closed by the time it was my turn. Mio was sitting with her legs covered in a blanket, much like Yukachan a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure what song her costume was from, but I thought all the pills affixed to her shirt were funny. She greeted me with an English “Hello” and I asked how she was doing. We quickly posed and took our shot.

Afterwards I thanked her for making it to the event while the guard was pulling me toward the exit, LOL. That beings me to the subject of time…

So the scuttlebutt around the venue was that all the lanes were being handled in much the same way. People were being rushed through the process. This especially pissed off people who had multiple tickets. As a result, people were complaining at the information booth, and I happen to agree with them. If you show up with 12 tickets, your entire experience shouldn’t take less than a minute, including the pics. What they were doing was rapidly taking the pics, then allowing 2-3 seconds for a handshake regardless of the amount of tickets you had. I only use one ticket at a time, so it didn’t affect me too much, but I get why some people were pissed off.

Anyway, I used this time to queue up and buy the guidebook, and got Ota Nao as my bonus pic. They were pretty much sold out of everything else I was interested in. I held up the photo as I walked through the traders, but since these were HKT fans, none of them were interested. I got the same “Nope!” look over and over. At one point someone asked who I was looking for, and when I said Akiyoshi they responded “Yeah, good luck!” In the meantime, I ran into Carey, who had purchased multiple books for the photos. He didn’t want the extra books, so he gave one to me. Shit, had I known that was going to happen I wouldn’t have wasted my time buying one! Anyway, on to the next 2-shot…

Slot 3

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 15) “Shekarashika!” It had been a while since I had hung out with Rikopi, so I was looking forward to seeing her. I had to ask what costume this was, and when she said it was from her first senbatsu selection I was kinda surprised. I always think of the yankii uniforms they wear in the PV when I think of that song. Anyway, when it was my turn I got a big ‘hisashiburi’ greeting from Rikopi, she is always super genki at these events.

Once again, it was a rushed process. In fact, the guard took my phone and ran outside the booth with it trying to get me to chase him, LOL. Rikopi noticed my ticket holder, and asked who was on it as I was being led out, but I just smiled and waved to her.

I had over an hour until my last ticket, so I went back outside to the food and goods area. I had to maneuver my way past the spillover lines, which were taking up much of the space in the center hall all day. During each slot, the lines of Sakura, Mikurin, and Hana (yes, Hana!) stretched so long that they had to move them outside the room and to the hallway. Mio also had a relatively long queue since she was doing make-ups for multiple missed events, but her queue didn’t quite make it to the hallway. Part of the issue was that the queuing areas were so small, that even a medium sized line crated havoc for the guards, plus the waiting area outside the lanes was so tiny that there was hardly room for anyone to stand.

This also became an issue for my final handshake of the day. I had a similar issue at the first HKT shamekai. My last ticket was for Maichan, and her lane was in the hall of the ‘lesser popular’ members for some reason. Moreover, it was in the far corner furthest from the doorway to the hall. I tried to get over there early so I could get the jump on Maichan’s queue in the next slot, however Piichan was finishing up her last slot. Like last time, Piichan has this huge entourage of fans who want to do this big production when she finishes her last handshake. Rikopi’s fans also had a similar plan, so getting near those two lanes was almost impossible. Piichan’s fans did their thing, and they almost immediately re-opened the lane for pre-queueing…

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 14) “Sakura, Minna de Tabeta”: I managed to push my way through the mass of Piichan fans coming the other way and made it 4th in line to check-in. This also gave me a front row seat to the Rikopi fans’ festivities. That was fun. As I was 4th in line, this didn’t affect me, but I noticed that line for Maichan became insanely long and had a snaking queue outside the lane in the waiting area. If the lane were closer to the door, they surely would have put it out in the hall, but that wasn’t feasible. The guards kept trying to get us all to scrunch closer together to make more room in the line, it was getting ridiculous. Maichan was a few minutes late too, which didn’t help. Maichan looks cute in anything she wears, but she especially looks cute in the Sakura, Minna outfit.

There wasn’t much of an exchange between Maichan and I during the handshake, except as I was leaving she shouted “I love you, Matta ne!” while I was outside the queue. It was around 2:45, and I was done. I had a plan for the afternoon, but I stopped to chat with my friend Panda before I left the venue.

Postscript

So a couple of interesting things happened to me after the event. I headed to Shinjuku to hang out at the Oedo Beer Festival, and I still had on my HKT48 jersey and concert t-shirt. Every once in a while I would hear the name “Akiyoshi” being muttered from someone behind me. Then after I got to the beer festival, this girl grabbed me. She opened up my jersey. “HKT48, you like them???” “You are fan of Sashihara?” She was even more surprised when she found out I was a fan of Akiyoshi. This girl ended up hanging out with me for two hours talking about idols, LOL. Later on, my friend, a Sasshi fan, came over since he couldn’t use his Sasshi tickets, and we had a couple of brews.

The other funny thing was that I had earlier tweeted my Yukachan and Mio pics, and it was retweeted by a couple of Yukachan fans I know. However, by the evening I was getting a constant stream of Like and Retweet notifications that went well into the night, and is still happening sporadically today. So my Yukachan pic kinda went viral, LOL.

Today is my day of lounging around and doing nothing, but the rest of my week is kinda hectic. Tuesday: I have a ticket for NHK Utacon, Wasamin is performing,Wednesday: AKB48 Theater show, Thursday: FESTIVE single release event Friday: Keyaki Beer Festival Saitama, Saturday: AKB group Jabaja Handshake event, Sunday: Minyo Girls One-Man Live, then Wasamin 4th concert DVD release event. And that will end my 30 day vacation. It’s been fun!

CK in Tokyo

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Events, HKT48, Iwasa Misaki HKT48 1st Album Shamekai Event at Tokyo Ryutsu Center, Plus a Quick Visit & Photo-op With Wasamin (2018/04/15)

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I have been anticipating these HKT shamekai events for a while now. Although I had heard mixed reviews about the event. As you may have noticed, HKT’s album was coming out right before AKB’s album, which meant that HKT fans would have to double-down on album purchases. Not to mention HKT’s album ‘theater version’ was more expensive than AKB’s. This ultimately negatively impacted HKT’s album sales. I know it affected me, as I originally bought only six cds/tickets, three for each Tokyo event, although I ended up purchasing two more in a later resale round to make eight total.

The other thing I heard was “Well, it’s basically the same as an AKB event.” We’ll see about that.

I had also purchased a ticket for Wasamin’s cheki event in the late afternoon, so the plan was to get out of the HKT event as quickly as possible and then head over to nearby Gotanda to see Wasamin.  I arrived at Ryutsu Center at 11:45, shortly after the beginning of Slot 2. The venue is in the middle of an industrial area without much surrounding it, and you have to take the Tokyo Monorail to get there, which is a slight pain, although it does drop you off right at the entrance of the building. There was a big queue to get in, but it went fairly quickly, a little more than five minutes. It was a strange setup, since the event rooms are extremely small, especially compared to Yokohama and Makuhari. In fact, they couldn’t even fit all the lanes on one floor. Lanes 1-13 were on the first floor, and lanes 14-24 were upstairs on the 2nd floor. LOL. The fan area was tiny too, so most people just went outside when they weren’t doing handshakes. Also, it was hot as hell inside, so I had no desire hanging out in there longer than I had to. I went to my Slot 2 lane, said hello to a couple of fans I knew, and headed in…

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 5) I got a message from a friend that Akiyoshi looked lonely sandwiched between Mikurin and Sakura. I told him I was on the way! As expected, she had no queue, all of her fans were hanging outside the lane. She’s still in a cast and on crutches, so she stayed seated. The neat thing is each lane has a special backdrop that is based on whatever the day’s theme is. Today is “Sports Day.” the girls are also supposed to dress sporty. I waited for two people to go before it was my turn. Yukachan greeted me with a big smile and I gestured toward the food on the table. “Tabetai! Of course, I could have been talking about her. (LOL) She asked what pose, and we did the one I usually do with Maichan.

BTW, we’ll give Yukachan a pass for not dressing ‘sporty’. It’s a really nice pic, right? In fact, the first person I sent this to thought we really took the pic in a bowling alley. Anyway, Yukachan said see you again, but I told her that I only had one ticket for today. I think I disappointed her. :(

I went over to the map to see which lanes my other three tickets were, but I couldn’t find one of the members. Where was she? I double-checked the kanji to make sure I wasn’t overlooking her, and then I saw two members were out for the day, one being Tomonaga Mio. Oh no! I found out she recently had knee surgery, so I don’t know if she will even be back for the next Tokyo shamekai event. It’s times like these when I wish they offered oshimashi. I would’ve happily used the ticket on somebody else. Anyway, I spent the next 90 minutes outside. My plan was to do my one Slot 3 ticket toward the end f the time period, and then prequeue for my Slot 4 ticket since I needed to get out of there ASAP to go to Wasamin’s cheki event. Unfortunately, there were ants everywhere, and at one point I had a couple crawling on me. I was sure to brush them all off before I headed back in for Slot 3…

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 21) My one trip upstairs. Surprisingly, it was much cooler in the upstairs hall than the downstairs, but I think that was mainly because downstairs had all the senbatsu, and was much more crowded. Bibian’s lane was completely empty, and I could see her fiddling with her phone while in her booth. She spotted me coming down the lane and began waving to me. It’s nice when the experience begins early like that. I immediately noticed all the basketballs, and the schoolyard court scene as the backdrop. I asked her if I could pick up one of the balls. It was cool, we both grabbed one…

I think this pic is great. In fact, most everyone I have shown it too has really liked it. It makes me wonder what people were saying about it being “the same as AKB’s shamekai” I think it’s completely different. It’s also fun to play off the backdrop. Bibian asked if she would see me again soon. I wasn’t sure if I had any Bibian tickets coming up. Later I checked, and found I have one in July for the last Jabaja event. So it will be awhile. Oh well…

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 3) I got to the queue early, and maneuvered my way around all the Piichan fans who were waiting to say goodbye to her. I managed to get third in the queue, which was good since the queue got extremely long before the lane opened. I got a peak at the decor when the guard pulled the curtain for a moment. It was darts. Okay, bowling, darts, beer drinking sports, LOL. Maichan had a cute little tennis outfit on. She asked what pose, and I suggested that we pretend we are throwing darts. I didn’t notice that there were actual darts as a prop on the table. To my surprise, Maichan reaches in and hands me one. Really??? With all the caution about weapons? The guard immediately lunges over like “Nooo!!!” Maichan quickly grabbed it back from me. I actually left it resting in my open hand instead of clutching it since I had a feeling the guards would have an issue with this. I started laughing since I found whole exchange to be quite comical.

Ultimately, she was able to hold a dart, while I just had to fake it. No problem. It’s another cute pic. As I left the lane I heard the guards discussing with her about the darts. So I doubt they had that issue anymore. But yeah, interesting prop considering the safety concerns.

Ultimately, I really like the way these photos came out. The whole idea of the backdrops and the themed clothing is a really good one. They should definitely think about doing this again in the future. AKB could even do it.

BTW, the other HKT48 Shamekai event in Tokyo is next month. I was hoping that maybe I would be able to do a makeup for Mio’s tickets, but she might not be back by then. My other four tickets for that event are for Akiyoshi (x2) Maichan, and Rikopi. I’m looking forward to it.  Anyway, I had plenty of time to get to Gotanda to Wasamin’s cheki event, so I didn’t need to rush.

 

Iwasa Misaki ‘Sado no Ondeko’ Cheki Event at Tokuma/Nippon Crown (2018/04/15)

When Ichikawa-san announced the dates for Wasamin’s 7th single chara-ani events, I was disappointed to see that the first date fell on the same day as the HKT48 Shamekai event. I quickly checked the second date, and noticed I had nothing else scheduled, so that was a relief. However, I didn’t have very many HKT tickets, so I compared my HKT schedule with Wasamin’s cheki schedule and figured out that my last HKT ticket was at 2:30, while Wasamin’s 3rd and last cheki slot was at 3:30. So I could definitely make it. In that spirit, I purchased one ticket.

Well, all went according to plan. I finished with HKT at around 2:40, and made it to Wasamin’s event by 3:15. When I got upstairs, they had a booth set up to get additional tickets if you wanted. I never saw them announce this, but that’s ok. I wanted to make the most of the trip over, so I purchased an additional cd/ticket. I went into the pre-queue room, and all the Wasafans noticed that a) They hadn’t seen me in a while, since I have missed the last few Wasamin mini-lives, and b) I was wearing HKT gear (LOL) While we were waiting I showed them my shamekai from the HKT event.

Eventually I was called into the main queue. In the meantime I took off my HKT jersey. Sasou-san saw me peaking from around the corner and started laughing. Wasamin eventually saw me and exclaimed ‘KURISUUUU!!!” with kind of a crying face, indicating to me that she missed me, and perhaps wondered where I had been. I immediately noticed she was wearing the dress from her Ebisu Garden Hall concert., and she had on sexy red heels. She asked if I wanted to take a full body shot, but I said the face and torso were fine. I got two pics…

I got most of the dress anyway. Sasou-san is a pro at taking chekis. In the meantime, I was telling her about the big paper that I had to write tonight, and that I also had to write an essay in Japanese. She asked what the essay was about, and then asked if she would be seeing me again soon. (Actually, I didn’t mean to miss a bunch of events, it’s just that her events recently have either conflicted with the AKB handshake events, or have been very far away. Admittedly, I missed one because I had a hangover.) I reminded her that I would see her on Wednesday since she is performing very close to where I live. She was like, “Oh yeah Itabashi!”

And with that I took off. I rushed home to start my paper, but instead I am writing this report. :fp: I’ll get it all done one way or another.

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Concerts, HKT48 A Weekend at Saitama Super Arena (HKT48 & AKB48 Spring Concerts) 2018/03/31-04/01

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When they announced that not only HKT48, not only SKE48, but also AKB48 would be performing Spring concerts at Saitama Super Arena, I figured my chance to win tickets were pretty good.  After all, SSA is a pretty big place.  SKE and HKT have been playing at much smaller venues, even when they were arguably more popular.  But I wasn’t sure how easy the tickets would ultimately be to win, so I decided to put in applications for all four shows.  Now I don’t often do this, but it’s time for my rant…

For many of you who have been to Japan, and have tried to win either theater shows or concerts for AKB48, you know how difficult, even impossible it seems to be.  I’ve never come out and said it before on my blog, but there is something seriously “rotten in  the state of Denmark” when it comes to that ticket center.  The reason I say this is not only because I lost for all four shows, in all three rounds of applications, but most everyone I know who won, won all four shows.  It was pretty much feast or famine.  People who won, won them all, people who didn’t win, got shut out entirely.  That, in and of itself is strange.  But it got even stranger…

When they announced the third round of applications, it was because the concerts didn’t sell out.  Wait a second?  Didn’t sell out?  But I lost all four applications?  How can this be???  Moreover, after the third round was over, they announced that it still didn’t sell out, and tickets would be available at the box office on the day of the concert.  This begs the question; Why are people losing, and the show didn’t sell out?  I’m not saying this is exclusive to foreign fans either, since I know a lot of Japanese fans who also got shut out of the lottery.  Not to mention, I also know foreigners who won all the shows.  But this kind of stuff just makes it even more obvious that there is nothing really random about the ticket center at all.  And to be honest, it really pisses me off.  I remember a time before the ticket center existed when the AKB48 lottery process seemed completely random and fair.  I have no idea why the company has turned it into what it is, but it is obvious that they are screening all applications, and deciding who gets to win, and who doesn’t.  Anyway, rant over.

I already knew I was going to the HKT show since I had friends with extra tickets.  As far as the rest of the shows, I really wanted to see SKE, but I wasn’t sure about AKB.  Also, at my age sitting through two concerts in one day is a bit of a hassle.  So I had to decide, which additional shows, if any, would I try to see?  I had pretty much decided to skip the SKE show since ultimately I didn’t know how many extra tickets were available, and I didn’t want to head out to Saitama first thing in the morning to find out that it had already sold out.  However, when I DID arrive at Saitama later in the day, I learned two things…

First, the HKT48 concert ultimately didn’t sell out.  They were still trying to sell tickets just before the show started.  Second, reliable sources told me that there were “lots of tickets” left for both AKB shows.  So I decided that I would head back over on Sunday, and get a ticket for one of the AKB shows too.  So that was my plan, one show for each day.

So after having lunch and meeting my friend in Akabane, we headed over to the arena.  The first thing we wanted to do was check out the goods tables, which were set up outside the arena.  Since the SKE concert was still going on, there was no line for their tent.  However, their selection was kind of picked over.  But I did get this…

Kaotan the JK, I love it!  The girl selling it started laughing at my friend’s and my reaction to seeing the button.  After that we headed to the HKT side.  The HKT booths had been open for a while, so the queue was short.  That is, unless you wanted to buy the manually decorated Uchiwa.  There was a big queue to use the tables for that.  Ultimately I decided to grab a new Akiyoshi ticket holder, and a concert towel.  They had some shirts in XXL, but I didn’t love them.

So after hanging around the arena for a couple hours, we finally got our tickets and headed into the venue.  But not before I had a chance to snap a couple of pics of the HKT flags.  I first found Bibian, but she was in the middle of the photo trading area, so I could only get a long shot.  I couldn’t find Maichan’s flag, but I found Yukachan right at the arena level entrance.  I had my friend hold it steady since it was kinda windy.

We headed up to our 400 level seats, pretty much the top deck.  There is a small Level 500, where you are practically hanging from the ceiling.  But we were low, 4th row, in the back left corner.  It was a direct view, but we were high up.  Anyway, here is my brief review of the HKT48 concert…

They started with a VTR on the proper use of uchiwas.  This is one of the things I love about HKT concerts, their little vignettes in the VTRs are so funny.  The star was Imamura Maria, but Akiyoshi also had a nice little part in it.  At one point Imamura is cheering for Yukachan with a giant onigiri uchiwa, and smashing it into the other fans.  Later on, she has one of the homemade uchiwas, and is cheering for two different members by flipping it around.  Meanwhile, Akiyoshi is peeking from behind the curtain and pissed off, LOL.  Dirty DD!

BTW, some sample video I took during the “camera ok!” time…


After the opening set, they showed a second VTR with certain members “in disguise” complaining about wanting a chance to be center.  The funny part was when it was Imamura’s turn, she was too short and could be seen behind the smoked glass.  Conversely, Natsumikan was too tall.  Finally, Ueki Nao’s chin was exposed, which is kind of her charm point.  This led into a huge series of solo songs by each and every member.  Despite the songs being shortened, it was still a really long set, with 23 consecutive songs.  Among my favorites, Motomura Aoi’s Akai Pinheel to Professor was really good, with really neat video effects.  Nako, Maichan, and Tomiyoshi also had really strong performances too.  Yukachan also centered a song, but it wasn’t really a solo.  Speaking of Yukachan…

I didn’t see it, but at beginning of the concert she fell off one of the stage runways and broke her foot.  Amazingly, she performed the rest of the concert, and only afterwards did they realize that there was a serious issue.  I saw her dancing and running around.  Heck, she even had a big part in the live skit in the middle of the concert.  BTW, I talk more about Yukachan’s broken foot in my previous post.


This is about as close as Tomiyoshi and Piichan came to me

My two biggest complaints were 1) The sound was really bad in the arena.  I don’t know if it was just where I was sitting, but it seemed like all of the sound was in the front of the concert, and we were just getting the echoes in the back.  I noticed that all the speakers seemed to be facing one direction too.  My second issue is that Sakura should not be singing the lead in Otona Ressha in place of Haruppi.  Otona Ressha might be my all-time favorite 48-group song, and I felt Sakura did a weak job of singing the lead.  The concert finally came to an end, but not before they flashed an ominous sign on the screens telling fans to check Twitter in 15 minutes.  Ultimately it was the new single senbatsu announcement.  Not sure why they couldn’t do that in the arena, but whatever.  All I know is that the new single Senbatsu is severely lacking in the Akiyoshi department.  Anyway, on to AKB…

I arrived at the arena on Sunday around 30 minutes before doors were scheduled to open for the matinee.  I went to the box office expecting to see a queue.  Uhhh, like five people in queue.  You had to fill out a form when you bought the ticket, and they asked me which show I wanted to buy for (or if I wanted both)  It was at that moment I decided to go for the matinee since I was already there.  The other option was to go all the way back home and come back six hours later.  In the meantime a friend of mine who is an SKE and Team 8 fan came to get a ticket, so we decided to renban the show.  Nice to have some company.  Our tickets were again 400 level, but on the other side of the venue in row 15.  So pretty much the same view, but out of the opposite eye, LOL.  I went to check the goods.  The line was huge.  Not to mention, there was really nothing I wanted that badly, so I decided to skip AKB goods all together.  We headed in and found our seats.  There were lots of empty spots all around us.  As for the show…

The first thing I was interested in was the sound, and for some reason the sound was much better than the previous day.  Now on one hand, I was in a different part of the venue.  But I also noticed that the speaker stacks were now facing multiple directions, so I think they made some overnight adjustments.  The show started with all the kennin members performing Enjou Rosen, followed by a stupid VTR and another overture.  BTW, I heard some fans were pissed about that, and felt it was somehow disrespectful to the kennin members. (Somebody tried to explain why, but I didn’t get it)

The main theme of the show were the Teams.  First, the current Teams (A, K, B, 4, Kenkyuusei, and Team 8) all performed songs.  Then the new teams came out and performed.  Since it was so high up, I didn’t get a real good feel for any differences in style or dynamic.  But the point was that the shuffle is moving forward.  After all that, we got a few units…

Surprisingly, Sakura’s performance of Maeda Atsuko’s solo debut Flower was surprisingly good.  I never think of Sakura as an exceptional performer, bu she pulled Maeda’s song off quite well.  On the other hand, Nako, Ryoha, and Nagisa’s rendition of Maria was the worst performance of that song I had ever seen.  It had no power, poor singing, just a mess.  She’s Gone, centered by Iriyama and Miru, was just slightly less bad.  They sounded so shrill on the chorus.  BTW, they allowed us to film in this show too.  Here is a sample video I took…



The best part of the show was when they allowed us to record and take pics.  They did this in the HKT show too, but the members came nowhere near us.  This time we got a bunch of 16th Gen get pretty close to us, so that was a lot of fun.

Overall, I liked the AKB show a bit more than the HKT show, but that was mainly because of the sound.  These days I’m a much bigger fan of HKT than AKB.  But since the sound was louder and more full, it seemed more exciting, which makes a big difference.

After the show ended, I briefly contemplated buying a ticket for the evening show.  But ultimately decided I would be happier not shelling out the extra 8000 yen, and instead wemt home to enjoy the rest of Sunday.  After seeing that the evening show was pretty much more of the same thing, I was happy with my decision.  I’m more of a theater guy anyway.  But it was nice to at least experience some of the 48-groups’ Spring Tour.

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events AKB48-Group 9th Album Shamekai Event at Makuhari Messe (2018/04/08)

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Today was the first Shamekai event for AKB’s latest album. Of course I made the mistake of getting tickets for the first event of the promotion, which is always a total clusterf**k. Many of the queues early in the day seemed to take forever to navigate. I didn’t arrive at the venue until 1:35, but it still seemed like an incredibly long day.

To be honest, I didn’t get to talk very much with any of the members since they seemed to be pushing people through quickly. Unless of course you won the opportunity to get something signed. Aside from the signed CD cover, which they did for the most part the same way as last year, you had the opportunity, instead of the normal shamekai, to win either a short 2-shot video, or a signed cheki (with a signed booklet). Unfortunately for me, I went a perfect zero for six on the prize. It was funny, after I lost the 4th one I was kinda routing for the “perfecto” I really wasn’t interested in the video, and while the cheki and booklet are nice, and I would like to win one, ultimately I can take it or leave it. So here are my six shamekai, with a few small anecdotes thrown in…

FYI, chara-ani is still doing the “stamp thing”

Slot 4

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 21) I was going to bail on getting my tickets stamped, since it’s debatable whether or not I really need it. After all, I do have a Japanese ID card with matching address. However, my name is cut off due to length. When I saw how long Zunchan’s queue was, I thought I better get them stamped, just in case. There was no line at the info booth anyway, so it took less than two minutes. Anyway, after 90 minutes in Zunchan’s queue, it was finally my turn. You know, Zunchan kinda reminds me of a bunny rabbit…

BTW, Hiwatashi Yui was next to Zunchan, and she’s adorable! Anyway, after the shot I told her that after reading her sign at the last event, I went out and had chirashizushi. She had this semi-confused look as I told her the story, but the moment I said “chirashizushi” it all clicked for her, LOL. Anyway, I entertained the idea of having her sign my CD, but her Slot 4 queue was going to run so late, and the queue for her CD signing was already huge, I abandoned the mission. I really didn’t have much of a choice about it anyway, as you will soon read.

I had all of Slot 5 off. I decided I would queue early for one of my two planned tickets in Slot 6, but I didn’t know which one would be best. I first went over to the CD signing lane I wanted to do, but the pre-queue was already huge. So I went over to Maichan’s lane, who I had a ticket for, and there were like 4 people waiting. OK, this is cool. They opened the lane, and some a-hole who wasn’t even queued jumped in first in front of all of us. Whatever. Then, one of the staff came over and told us the slot would be delayed, and they brought this mass of people from another lane to finish their previous slot. I was so pissed, I literally exclaimed out loud “Oh, f**k you!” This looked like it would take at least half an hour. So I went back to the CD signing lane. It was friggin’ huge, but it looked like it was moving. I’ll give it a shot. If I miss out on Maichan, so be it…

Slot 6

CD Signing Lane Akiyoshi Yuka (w/ Yamada Marina & Ueno Haruka) (Lane 133) The way the three person lane worked is that only one would sign at a time, while the other two just watched and talked. Not too efficient, but I think they counted on the lane to be collectively short. That was the first issue. The second issue with this lane is that Mariri is graduating soon, so there were a ton of people there just to see her. In fact, I would say it was 70% of the line. The third issue was there were multiple guys in the queue with huge stacks of CD covers and tickets. One guy had 20, another had around 40, and the third guy had 12, and they were all in front of me. I kept thinking “there’s no way they’re gonna let them do this, it’ll take an hour just for the three of them. Finally a staff member told them it was “no-go” so thankfully they left the lane (along with a 4th guy I didn’t see) Thank god! In the meantime, Yukachan spotted me in the queue and waved, then threw me a “heart” and pointed me out to Harutan. I got another “heart” a couple minutes later. Finally it was my turn…

This was the one time I got a chance to talk to Yukachan for a while. I asked her how bad her foot still hurts (she said it really hurts) I told her I broke a toe a few years ago, and I know it’s really painful. While she was signing, I turned to Mariri and congratulated her on her graduation, and then I told both she and Harutan that I am Yukachan’s English teacher, which got a laugh from Yukachan. She finished signing, and said “I really love you Chris-san!” I told her I would see her next slot. In the meantime, I had four minutes left to get to Maichan’s queue.

BTW, there was a girl in line behind me for the CD signing. She was so cute! She looked a lot like Kawaei Rina. In fact I thought it was Kawaei. The funny thing was that she ended up behind me in Maichan’s queue too, and kinda gave me a little nod and smile when she noticed she was behind me again.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 108) I was happy that I wouldn’t have to oshimashi this ticket, since I always seem to bail on Maichan when I am pressed for time, LOL. The line wasn’t very long, and I got to the front relatively quickly.

One of my favorite shamekai is from last year, when Maichan and I did this pose. So I chose it again. Maichan is so cute. I told her I went to the SSA concert and liked her solo.

Slot 7

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 111) Once again I couldn’t decide which queue to get in first, but Yukachan’s looked a lot more manageable. (The entire SKE area was slammed with people) At first I thought her prequeue was huge, but then I noticed it was for Mariri. Yukachan’s queue was five deep, and in the queue was one of the Socal fan club guys. (I forget his name :(, but he won the cheki ) It took them a few minutes to get her situated, and they had her legs covered with a blanket. I asked her which pose we should do, the “Itai” pose (crying) or Onigiri pose. She chose crying…

Oh, my poor little Yukachan. So painful. But look at her though. She worked all week, did the HKT National event on Saturday, and worked today for the shamekai event. What a trooper!

Tani Marika (Lane 50) I quickly changed ticket holders from my new Yukachan holder to my new Tani holder. Her line wasn’t very long, which was good as I could get a break between slots 7 and 8. Since I have been well-trained, I immediately greeted her with a “Wow, Kawaii Marika-chan!” She was like “Me, I’m kawaii?” Yes! “Am I beautiful?” “Yes, Marika-chan is beautiful!” “Well then let’s do heart pose”

She asked me if I was cold, since I was wearing shorts and short sleeves, but I told her I have a sweatshirt (paa-ka) in my bag. Anyway, it wasn’t cold in the venue. I now had plenty of time until Slot 8…

I knew I wouldn’t have any issues getting my last two tickets done, but I decided to pre-queue for Yukachan again anyway. In the meantime, the Akiyoshi Birthday/Sousenkyo committee came over to me and asked if I wanted to be part of their LINE group. Of course I said yes, so they added me in. I’m not sure how good an idea this was, however, since I have been inundated with LINE messages all evening, LOL. But I am glad I am part of the team now.

Slot 8

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 109) Yuka-chan was moved to another lane. In the meantime I was third in the queue. While we waited, I had the perfect angle to see “backstage” where the girls come out, and I was really interested to see how bad Yukachan’s foot really was. Out she came, on crutches! She also had a hard cast on her foot, going up to about her ankle. They eventually put her crutches backstage, but then she had to get up. She was hopping around. Oh no, my poor Yukachan! I felt so bad, but in a way it was really cute, LOL! I decided we should do the Onigiri pose after all…


My onigiri seems to be more diamond shaped

After the 2-shot I told her I saw her on her crutches backstage, and that I felt really bad for her. “Poor Yuka-chan” I told her to keep doing her best, and I would see her next week.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 81) What would a 48-group event be without a visit with Kaotan? Kaotan’s queue was relatively short. However, it took a painfully long time since it seemed like everyone in the front of the queue had won the signed cheki. She was taking quite a long time to sign each one. What should have taken 10 minutes, ended up taking 35. But finally it was my turn. What pose? I had no idea. Actually……

Perfect! It’s my favorite shamekai of the day! A nice way to end the evening. I was finally heading home.

However, I made the mistake of stopping by the station for dinner, and by the time I finished eating some concert got out and there was a mass of humanity trying to board the train back toward Tokyo. There are a few shamekai events still to go, most of them around Golden Week. However, I only have tickets to the last event in mid-May. My itinerary is slightly different. I have tickets for Zunchan, Cuca, Mio, Zukki, Kaotan, and one oshimashi (since Akiyoshi won’t be there) I have a good idea who I am going to use it on. My CD signing ticket, on the other hand, I have no idea. Those lines are the worst!

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events AKB48-Group 11-Gatsu no Anklet Individual Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2018/03/03)

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It seemed like it had been a while since I had been to a 48-group related handshake event. Since the first weekend of 2018 I had only been to one, and that was kind of a blur since I basically showed up at the end of the night and oshi-mashi’d all of my tickets. So it was nice to spend a proper afternoon meeting with members.

I had eight tickets in total, spread out between Slots 4 and 7, pretty much all for my regular girls. That meant I could cruise into Makuhari in the early afternoon. I actually tried to get there early and have a leisurely lunch before the event, but there was a delay on the Yurakucho Line that caused me to miss my transfer, and get in a lot later than I had planned. I still managed to shovel in a quick lunch before heading to the halls. I didn’t need my tickets stamped, so once I got through security I went to queue up for my first ticket.

And a reminder, the prizes were in play. The usual 1-shot videos, 2-shot selfies, signed photos, and the trump game. BTW, here’s what the back side of the trump game prizes looked like. The other side is the member photo, and signing spot, which you will see below.


They gave you a plastic slip to put these in, but I couldn’t figure out how they fit, until I realized you are supposed to fold them, LOL!

Slot 4 

Tani Marika (Lane 96) Marika’s queue wasn’t very long. However, she wasn’t in her booth yet, and Slot 4 had already started. I didn’t win the signed photo, drats! In the meantime I had a good view into both Goto Rara and Tsuzuki Rika’s lanes. Eventually Tani came out, but she was taking a long time signing the photos for people who won the prize. When it came my turn I congratulated her on her 400th theater show. Tani did her usual “Yeah, let me hear it” pose. However, I mentioned that I have never seen her perform in a theater show, and I really want to win one day. She was like “Yeah, you gotta come see me!” LOL.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 18) <1st ticket> As expected, Zunchan’s queue was really long, and that was just to get to check in. The inner queue was at capacity. Interestingly, she was in the lane right next to Okada Nana, and during Slot 4 actually had a longer queue than Naachan. I didn’t win the prize for either ticket, which were 1) 2-shot/1-shot and 2) signed photo. I have actually gotten to know a couple of Zunchan’s big fans, so I had people to chat with during the wait. There were also other Wasafans in her queue, as well as the queue to my right, so we were talking as well. Per usual, Zunchan’s lane was filled with all the signs and decor. Jeez, I wish I could take a pic, it is all so cute. I already planned what I wanted to say to her for the first ticket, so I didn’t pay too much attention to the signs. I essentially told her that I had gotten cancel machi last weekend, but didn’t make it into the show, so I was sorry I didn’t get to see her.

Slot 5

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 95) <1st ticket> I got to her lane just before it opened, and only one person walked in. So I ended up second in line. Finally I had won a prize, the 2-shot/1-shot. I know I’m a glutton for punishment, but I decided to go for the selfie, despite the fact I am horrible at taking them. Kaotan had a really cute skirt on, which unfortunately wasn’t going to show up in the pic. I mentioned my lack of photo-taking skills to Kaotan, so she helped me steady the camera, and voila! I had a nice selfie!

Afterwords she asked how I was, and I told her that I was a little worried. She asked why, and I blurted out “Don’t graduate!!!” She started laughing, “That was just a joke” I knew that, and told her that I saw it being talked about online. Anyway, we had a good laugh.

It was somewhere around this time that they showed the HKT, NGT, STU, and whatever that other PV was. (They must have shown SKE and NMB’s before I arrived) To be honest, none of them got me too excited, although STU’s seemed quite nice. I was really only paying half attention to them though…

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 18) <2nd ticket> After heading off to another lane, I came back to find Zunchan’s queue only slightly smaller than before. I compared it again to Naachan’s lane, and this time Naachan’s was somewhat bigger. But I point this out to show that Zunchan’s popularity has reached the level of the big members of AKB, and that management should take a look at her potential for being a significant part of the group’s future. Anyway, I couldn’t think of much more to say to her, but I did notice the big sign behind her. It was something about “Hina Matsuri” and eating Chirashi “something of other” The rest was about looking forward to eating it. So I asked Zunchan what it meant, It was Chirashizushi. Okay, I should know that! She asked me if I had eaten it, which I had. So I told her I have eaten it, and liked it.

Slot 6

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 95) <2nd ticket> Again I got there before the slot started, but this time four people jumped in, so I was fifth in the queue. This was important since I had three tickets for Slot 6, and I was trying to fit all the tickets in. Then Kaotan was like ten minutes late to the lane. I passed the time watching Kitagawa Ryoha in the neighboring lane. Eventually it was my turn, and I got to play the Trump card game with Kaotan. It worked somewhat differently than before, and I didn’t really understand it. I just picked a card, and she said I won. GREAT! So I got a signed photo.

While she was signing it, I mentioned that the Trump card game is okay, but Trump the President sucks. She was like “Huh?” I was really surprised that she didn’t get it. After explaining it a couple of times, it finally clicked for her who I was talking about. “Oh yeah, people don’t like him, ne?” After she finished signing, she asked when she would see me again, and I said the SKE handshake event (forgetting the AKB shamekai is a week earlier) Oh well, by then she will have forgotten what I said.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 76) I was actually heading to Akiyoshi’s lane, when I saw that Maichan’s queue was virtually empty. Really? At the January event her lane was ridiculously long. In fact, I ended up skipping her ticket as a result. In any case, I figured I would take advantage, and I won the prize, which was the 1-shot video. Per usual, Maichan looked adorable. Amazing looking one-piece dress, and the twin tails, WOW! Made me very thankful I won the video…

It had been a long time since I had talked to her, and she pointed that out. Probably because she saw me at the last couple events where I didn’t go to her. Anyway, I told her I loved the outfit, and that I hope to see her during HKT’s Spring Tour. She kinda spun around and did a quick modeling for me. She really knows how to melt a guys heart!

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 71) <1st ticket> Yuka-chan had a decent sized queue, and I was in line right behind the old guy who always tried to be first in her queue. This was later in the slot, while he was looping the queue. He and I were talking about Yuka-chan’s trip to Singapore, and how she tried speaking English and Chinese. According to him, she had limited success. So we decided I would give her an English lesson. While I waited I was watching Yamashita Emiri in the next queue, who was wearing a somewhat revealing black top. Finally it was my turn. This was another Trump game, and according to Yuka, I won, GREAT! While she was signing I said to her in English; “Did you Enjoy Singapore?” and then “What was your favorite thing in Singapore?” This time she admitted that she didn’t understand the 2nd question, so I repeated it in Japanese. She said that the Singaporean Chicken and Rice was OISHII!!!

I had to wait an hour before I could use my last Akiyoshi ticket. In the meantime I went out to the food garden, and they have gotten a bunch of new food trucks, including this one!

Skewers!!! Pork, beef, chicken, shellfish, tons of great stuff! So much better than when our choices were pretty much ramen or gyudon. I had a Pork Kalbi and a Sazae skewer while I waited for Slot 7 to begin…

Slot 7

Akiyoshi Yuka (lane 71) <2nd ticket> I pre-queued fairly early, and ended up being 2nd in line, and I won the prize! Again I was tasked with the choice of the 2-shot selfie, or 1-shot video. Since the last selfie I attempted to take with her came out badly, I decided to try and redeem myself. I told her about the last one coming out poorly, so she told me to take my time and make sure the shot looked good.

Well…at least it isn’t blurry. The guard was pretty much pushing me out from the moment I finished taking the pic, but I confirmed with her that she was not going to be performing with HKT at Sendai. She said she would only be at Saitama. I told her I would see her at the upcoming 2-shot events, and was off…

For those keeping score, I was 5 for 8 on the prizes, which is damn good! I got skunked on Zunchan though which was a bummer, and didn’t get any autographed pics. But hey, I was 4 for 4 with my 2-top, Akiyoshi and Kaotan. Yay!

Before leaving Makuhari, I stopped at the 7-11 by the station and picked up my ticket for Horipro Matsuri, which is in a couple weeks. The show is at Zepp Diver City, which is mainly standing room only. I got a great queue number too, so hopefully I will be very close to the stage.

 

I am not attending next week’s handshake event, which means that aside from the aforementioned concert, my next 48-group related events won’t be until April, where I will be attending AKB and HKT’s album shamekai events, plus SKE’s single event. So things to look forward to. And tomorrow is the last day of Wasamin’s 7th single release week promotion. It should be a crazy day!

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events, Iwasa Misaki Wasamin 4th Concert Pre-Game Festivities & A Quick Visit to Pacifico Yokohama For AKB (2018/02/03)

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I had been worried about how this day would unfold ever since I realized the quandary I was in….

It all started back when the 50th Single Chara-Ani preorder was in its initial stages. It was the third round of applications, and I was trying to decide which days I wanted to attend. I knew I could not go to the February 4th event since it conflicted with Wasamin’s big concert. However, Wasamin usually doesn’t do an event the day before her big show since she needs to rehearse. So I decided to start putting in applications for the February 3rd event…

Unfortunately for me, around the day of the third round results, I received a mailer from the Wasamin fan club with a description of the “Ichigo Seat” benefits. (Ichigo Seat is kind of a VIP package, with guaranteed seat in the first few rows and other benefits and events) To my surprise, this time they were holding the “Ichigo” events on the 3rd instead of the day of the show. This meant that I really couldn’t go the the AKB handshake event on the 3rd, except I had already won four tickets. Shoot!

Ultimately I decided to only apply for “Ichigo” for one of Wasamin’s two concerts, as this could clear part of my day to go to Yokohama and use my handshake tickets on someone, most likely as “oshi-mashi” tickets as I didn’t know the time of my Wasamin events until a week and a half ago. So it was decided…sort of. I wouldn’t decide until the morning of the events if I would go to Yokohama before the Wasamin party, or afterwards…

If I went early, I could use two of my four tickets as scheduled, for Zunchan and Maichan. Among my early oshi-mashi candidates were Hidaka Yuzuki and Mio. If I went late, I could possibly make it in time to use my Akiyoshi ticket, and then oshi-mashi my other three tickets on Kaotan, Lemon, or maybe Chori. Ultimately I decided to go with the later schedule since Akiyoshi and Kaotan are my personal “2-top”

Off to the Wasa Party!!!!!

 
The snacks were kinda picked over at this point

The Wasamin Pre-Concert Party was set up similarly to the party they held on the third concert, except that it was being held in some random church just a stone’s throw from the entrance to Yasukuni Shrine. I arrived shortly before doors opened, there was a smatteringn of Wasafans milling around outside the church. Eventually we were let in, checked in, given a bottle of Wasawater, and led down to a small conference room in the basement of the church. We ate little snacks and listened to Wasa CDs while we waited for the event to begin. Eventually they announced the event was about to start. They had us call out for Wasamin, and we are all staring at the door waiting for her to burst through it……

But we didn’t notice that there was a second, more discreet entrance on the other side of the room. So Wasamin comes bouncing into the room, and we are ALL staring in the opposite direction, LOLOL! She was like “I came in, and nobody is looking at me!” She started off by modeling her outfit for us, which she had sorta previewed on Twitter a few minutes earlier. We did our infamous “water toast,” and then there was a 30-minute interview and Q&A session. Most of the questions asked by the interviewer focused on her turning 23 years old. She also spoke quite a bit about the making of the new music video for Sado no Ondeko.

As for the Q&A, the first thing we wanted to know was what the official lightstick color was for the new single. Wasamin originally decided pink, but the fans didn’t think that really matched a song with an Oni in it. So it was ultimately suggested and decided by the fans that the 7th single official color is purple. Fans also asked her about her recent trip to Ueno Zoo, as well as what Lovetan got her for her birthday. But Wasamin explained that she actually hasn’t hung out with Aika for a while, so they haven’t had the chance to exchange gifts yet.

After that it was time for our promised 2-shots. This would also be my chance to give Wasamin her birthday present. I asked Ichikawa-san, her manager if it was okay to give her a gift today, and she said no problem. I always have trouble deciding what I want to give her. I settled on a gift box of soaps and bath salts from Lush Cosmetics. I had so much that I wanted to say to her, but since this was a 2-shot, and they seemed to be rushing people through, I didn’t really get a chance to say much. Just a quick happy birthday, that I would be giving her a new fan letter soon, and finally that I love the new PV. I also wanted to tell her that I think a Fan Club trip/event at Sado Island, where she filmed the PV, would be awesome. I guess I will save that for next time. She has plenty of events planned in the next 3-4 weeks, so there will be lots of time to chat.

Anyway, I didn’t know if the event was over, and the line for 2-shots was still very long, so I decided to split and head to Yokohama. It was still early enough to make my Slot 6 ticket….

AKB48-Group 50th Single Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama

I was able to catch a limited-express train out to Yokohama, which got me to the event in record time. I hustled over to Pacifico, and since my tickets were already stamped in January I wouldn’t he to deal with that delay. I headed right over to Yuka-chan’s lane…

Slot 6

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 50) <2 tickets> I wouldn’t have time to visit any other lane this slot, so I decided to use two of my four tickets right here. The queue was going very slow since it was a signed photo slot. (which I lost) I finally made it to the front. I expected Yuka-chan to notice my Wasamin Ichigo badge, which I was still wearing, but instead she noticed my New England Patriots wool hat. I explained to her that it was an American Football Team, and that they were playing in the Super Bowl. She sounded as if she had heard of the Super Bowl, but not the team. In any case, I wanted to tell her that I saw the photos from her performance at Sasshi’s solo concert, and she looked cute and cool.

With that I went to dinner at Queen’s Square. I had almost 90 minutes until I could oshi-mashi my final two tickets in Slot 7. I knew I was using one on Kaotan, but I was still up in the air on the last ticket. Part of me wanted to use it on Lemon or Akiyoshi, but it isn’t too often I have oshi-mashi tickets. I like using them on someone I want to meet, or haven’t seen in a long time. With that spirit in mind….

Slot 7

Mutou Orin (Lane 102) At the last national event I shook hands with EVERY member of the 16th gen with the exception of Orin. Both Orin and Zunchan were excluded from the handshake event since they were on stage all day with Ijiri-san. But I did matome with Zunchan. I decided I would take the time to talk to Orin since she is one of the 16th gen I like, and I wanted to “complete the set,” in a matter of speaking…

I waited for the 30-minute mark so I could queue up, all the while watching my friend, and former Wasamin committee captain Okajiji-san circling her line. At about 6:59 people started jumping into the lane, so I ran in as quickly as I could and checked in. It wasn’t a long wait. Ultimately I told Orin that I had been to many 16th gen shows, and she always gives me such a great reaction at “high wave.” So I thanked her, just as I got pushed out. In the meantime, she pumped her fist and said “Yeahhh!!!” when I said that, so it was a successful meeting.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 8) I had plenty of time to journey to the opposite end of the halls, and Kaotan’s queue wasn’t too long either, although the three guys in front of me all had 8-12 tickets. While I was standing in line the guy behind my gestured to my Patriots hat and asked if I was from Boston. I told him I had never been to Boston in my life, but I don’t really like any of the California teams. It turned out he had spent some time in Boston, and actually spoke pretty good English, so we chatted away about the Patriots, and our histories with AKB while we waited in line. It turned out this was his first time ever meeting Kaotan, and he asked what she was like. I told him how she used to be very feisty, but as she has gotten older she has become very sweet and caring toward her fans. He noted that she has gotten much cuter as she has gotten older. Finally it was my turn…

Of course I started by wishing her a happy birthday. I told her that I really wanted to apply for her Seitensai, but I had school that evening. Kaotan grabbed on to my Wasamin Ichigo badge, and said “Wasamin’s concert is this weekend, right?” She then confirmed that Wasamin is my Kami-oshimen, but asked if she is next in line. LOL, I said she was. In the mean time she made me wish her a big Happy Birthday in English. I said it once, but she wanted it louder. That got the entire queue laughing.


The front-side of my Ichigo Badge. It caught many eyes as I walked through the venue

I waited a minute to see how my new friend Shota’s handshake went. I saw him gesturing toward me, and Kaotan looking at me, but I don’t know what was said. In any case, he said it was an enjoyable experience, and she was really cute. With that I took my leave. I had a long journey home, and I was really thirsty.

I know I’m a bit late on this Wasamin concert report, but I promise I will get to it VERY soon!

 

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events, HKT48 HKT48 10th Single Individual Event, NGT48 2nd Single National Event, AKB48 49th/50th Single National Event at Makuhari Messe (2018/01/06)

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This was originally supposed to be an easy day. I had seven HKT tickets scheduled from 10am until 2pm or so, and I would be heading home. But then they announced the AKB National Event. HKT was my priority, but I would really like to have a little face time with the 16th Gen Kenkyuusei since I have seen them so much in the theater over the past six months. I resolved that I would get a hold of a few AKB tickets, and head on over after I finish with HKT. Easy enough, or so I thought.

I was trying to decide how I would write this up, and decided I would do it in one big post, in time order. It would sound more fun that way, and individually each report is kinda short. I headed out to Makuhari pretty early. Early enough to stop for breakfast along the way. It was around the time I arrived that my friends informed me there was an NGT National Event taking place as well. Hmmm? There was also an Idolmaster concert taking place all weekend, so Makuhari was truly “Otaku Central!” Anyway, I got into the HKT event after passing the enormous queue for NGT, and went to get my tickets stamped, forgetting they had already been stamped at the previous event. So I was all good. I went to use my first ticket…

HKT48 Event (Hall Six)

Slot 2

 

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 9) Always at a loss of what to say to Bibian, I led off by wishing her a happy new year. She was like “Yeah yeah! Happy New Year!” I then noticed she was wearing this interesting necklace, which was kinda “rockin,” so I told her it was kakkoi. She said she bought it in Shiga Prefecture. In any case, I made it through other Bibian handshake. At the end of the day, her genkiness always makes for a fun time.


Special Stages

Part of HKT’s events are the special stages they put on throughout the day. They do not announce who will be on each stage, or what they will be doing. It is usually various games and stuff. After I finished with Bibian I had a lot of time before my next ticket. They were just beginning to form the queue for the first stage. I thought, based on the schedule, that there would be a decent chance that Akiyoshi would be involved in one of the early stages, so I decided to queue up. I was seventh in line, which meant I would be right against the railing. What I didn’t know was that it would be over 45 minutes until the event actually started. I almost considered abandoning the mission, but I had a good spot, so I would take the chance.

The first event finally started, and out walked Bibian. LOL. Okay, at least it is someone I like. Along with Bibian was fairy w!nk, Unjo and Aramaki. Okay, this was going to be a fairy w!nk event. Bibian announced that this would be a “make me laugh” game, where the contestants must make fairy w!nk laugh, or suffer a penalty. Out came the contestants. Murashige…Natsumikan…Komada, and…..AKIYOSHI!!! I guessed right. Yukachan immediately spotted me in the front row and waved to me. It was the first time I had seen her in like a month and a half (I think) It was the typical gag game, with a table of props for the girls to use. Murashige tried her best, and Natsumikan actually got Aramaki to giggle once, but at the end of the day they failed miserably. The penalty was that they had to shove their face into a plate of flour. Oh, and since Bibian’s team failed, she also had to pay the penalty. All of them were covered in flour, blowing on to one another’s clothes. It was a mess. And that was the show.

What I didn’t realize is that they started a new feature with the special stages. After the show, if you buy a CD you can get a ticket for a special lane to meet the members from that stage. Damn, I could’ve had an extra Akiyoshi ticket! Maybe next time. Oh, and I did drop by the special stage a couple other times. One group, hosted by Hokazono Hazuki, did a bento demonstration. I saw quite a few members, but nobody else I wanted to buy a CD to meet. Anyway, onto my next tickets…

Slots 3/4

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 8) <2 tickets> For some reason when I purchased tickets for this event I only got tickets for three members. So I had two tickets for Maichan in consecutive slots. I pretty much started everyone off with a Happy New Year. I then told Maichan that I went to California. She asked if I had fun, and I was getting pushed out as I answered. So when I came back to see her in Slot 4, I continued by telling her that I had fun, saw family, and the weather was very warm, so I wore short pants the entire trip. She asked if I went swimming while I was there, which I did, LOL.

It was around this time that I went upstairs for lunch. I saw the booth selling NGT singles, and there was a very short queue. So I headed over and bought two copies (A and B) This would give me two handshake tickets to use later. Who I would use them on? I had no idea.

Slots 4/5

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) <4 tickets> With four tickets today, and three the next day at the AKB event, I would have to come up with a lot to talk about with Yukachan. Fortunately that special stage gave us a nice starting off point. When I got into the booth she immediately commented on how I was in the first row. I told her that I queued up hoping she would be in that stage, and got lucky. I also checked to make sure she got all of the flour off of her clothes and hair, LOL. Later on I told her a bit about my trip to California, pretty much the same stuff I talked about with Maichan, and I added the part about it being warm enough for me to go swimming. I also mentioned that it was the first time I had seen my father and brother in almost two years, which kinda took her aback. She realized I have loved ones back in the states that I do not get to see. Finally, I told her I would be seeing her tomorrow. Oh, and at some point I mentioned that I loved the dress she was wearing. It was really cute.

So that was it for HKT. After visiting with BigC and Panda for a few minutes, I headed upstairs to figure out this NGT thing.

NGT48 Event (Hall 4)

The mini-live had ended, and they kicked everyone out of the hall while they re-formatted the hall. There was an enormous queue outside waiting to be let back in. Oh well, I guess I better line up. It probably took the better part of 30-45 minutes, but I eventually made it into the hall, dreading how long these queues would be. However, when I got inside none of the queues seemed very long at all, at least the ones I was interested in going to. Where did all those people in the queue disappear to? And who would I go see?

Let’s see, in NGT I know Nakai…and, uhh, Nakai. And…is Kitahara still in the group? Oh, I know that girl who did well at SSK, but I don’t care about her at all. And then there was that girl I liked when they were brand new. What was her name? I went to the one lane I was sure I wanted to go…

Nakai Rika, Yamada Noe (Lane 8) I wouldn’t call myself a big fan of Nakai, but I do know who she is, and I do think she is cute, so I thought I would give her a shot. To my surprise, there were a bunch of Wasafans in the queue, and the queue next to us. As I got close to the front, a friend of mine came over and warned me that Noe was especially genki today, and would likely give me a good experience. Anyway, I made it to the front of the queue. First up was Nakai, so I explained to her that this was my first ever NGT event, and I was happy to meet her. But then Yamada came bombing over, like “OMG!!! Hello Hello!!” She basically tore me away from Nakai, LOL. And as I got pushed out, then the “I Love You”‘s came. I responded “Whhoooahh” as everyone in the queue, plus the guards were laughing since she was screaming so loud. Safe to say that Noe made an impression on me, although TBH she isn’t really the type of idol I go for. So we’ll see.

Nishigata Marina, Takahashi Mau (Lane 9) Since Nishigata was the first NGT member I was ever interested in, I decided I should meet her at least once. So I chose her lane. A couple of my Wasafan friends were queued ahead of me. So when they came out I asked them if Marina was on the left or the right, just in case I was confused when I got into the booth. Marina was up first. I basically told her that this was my first NGT event, but I had liked her for a long time, and I was so happy that I finally got to meet her. She was like “Hontoni?” and gave me a crying face. It was a nice little connection. In fact, I hardly remember Mau at all since I was still sorta talking to Marina while I was in front of her, saying that she is doing a great job. The nice thing was that they seemed to give the fans a little extra time, despite the fact that it was a National Event.

So ultimately that didn’t take very long at all. And now I can say I have met a couple of the NGT members. Too bad I didn’t see the mini-live. I had eight AKB tickets, and was hoping I could get a couple of them done before the break…

AKB48 Event (Halls 9-10)

My main goal in going to the AKB event was to meet with the 16th Gen Kenkyuusei. Luckily most of them were bunched together into three lanes. However, two of the members very high on my list to meet, Zunchan and Orin, were not participating in the handshake portion of the event. Instead they were participating in a game on the main stage, hosted by Ijiri-san. However, they would be participating in the matome portion of the event, so I would save some tickets to see Zunchan at the end. When I arrived, the place was packed, and it seemed like every queue was enormous. Oh well, I decided to first head into the queue I wanted to go to the most, and I would play the rest by ear…

Lane 9: Asai Nanami, Suzuki Kurumi, Taguchi Manaka, Yamauchi Mizuki Mind you, there were a lot of members in the 16th Gen lanes, so many of my pass-throughs went by like a blur. However, I did stop in front of Asai long enough to say that I long yelling her nickname at shows. And after quick hello’s to Kurumi and Manaka, I got the same awesome reaction from Zukki that I get in “high wave.” I told her that I love 16th Gen, and that she is extremely skillful on stage.

Lane 15: Nagatomo Ayumi, Hari Nanami, Homma Mai, Maeda Ayaka, Michieda Saki, Yasuda Kana I was trying to decide which of the remaining 16th gen lanes to visit first, just in case I ran out of time. Both lane 14 and 15 had relatively short queues, but I decided on this lane since Kana tries to fish me at the theater shows. Nagatomo was up first, and immediately noticed my Akiyoshi ticket holder. “Akiyoshi-san, MIKAN MIKAN!!!!” Yes, Mikan! As I passed through the next four I again thanked them and told them that I enjoyed their show on Friday. Yasuda was last, and immediately recognized me. She was like “It’s you!” and I was pointing back to her. “Kana-chan is awesome!” I said. Yes, she is.

Lane 14: Inagaki Kaori, Umemoto Izumi, Kurosu Haruka, Sato Minami, Shoji Nagisa, Taya Misaki Of the three 16th gen lanes, I considered skipping this one. There really wasn’t anyone I was too excited to see. Well, I do like Sato Minami, but she always ignores in in “high wave.” Then there’s Kurosu, who I kinda like. But I wanted to be complete, so I queued up, hoping to get the ticket in before the break….

Amazingly, of all the lanes these girls all immediately recognized me from the shows. Even Minami, who turned to give me a huge smile as a came toward her. I quickly told her that I always cheer for her at the theater. Actually, I shouldn’t have been that surprised, since both Misaki and Kaori have tried to fish me in the past, but it was a pleasant surprise to get the warmest welcome from the one set of 16th Gen members I was least enthusiastic about visiting.

Lane 9: Asai Nanami, Suzuki Kurumi, Taguchi Manaka, Yamauchi Mizuki <round two> After the break, I went straight to this lane since I wanted to talk to Zukki a little bit more, and I wanted to get into the queue before it grew too long again. For some unconscious reason I didn’t remove my Akiyoshi ticket holder at the other events, and it did not go unnoticed. As I got close to the front of the queue, Shiichan and Myao, who were in the neighboring lane, we like “Wow, HKT! Who is your HKT oshimen?” Chori, who was in the lane with them, also got into the act. So I yelled over that I am a Wasamin fan. They all looked confused. I was like “Yes, Wasamin!” Chori was beckoning me to come over, so I said okay. Chori was mimicking my hand gestures, LOL. In any case, I told the 16th Gen that I had fun at the theater show on Friday, and to Zukki I told her that her unit is my favorite part of the show. And without fail, I got the same “In awe” reaction. It is similar to the reaction Akiko and Serina used to give me at SDN shows back in the day.

Lane 8: Oya Shizuka, Miyazaki Miho, Nakanishi Chiyori, Shimoguchi Hinana It was around two minutes later that I was in front of the AKB “seniors,” and Shiichan was like “Ahh, you are here!” I was addressing both she and Myao, and reminded them that we had the EXACT SAME conversation at the last National Event, that I am a Wasamin fan. And since we are all friends with Wasamin, that means that we are friends too, LOL. Shiichan seemed to remember, while Myao seemed like she was trying to recall the conversation. At that point Chori grabbed on to me and gave me a big “I Love You.” I have done individual tickets with Chori many times, but never talked about anything substantial. She is still fun to meet with. Finally, after a quick thank you to Hinana, I was out of the lane. I would save the last of my tickets for matome.

Lane G: Yamane Suzuha <matome, 3 tickets> I decided to save the rest of my tickets for Zunchan. Actually, I considered using one ticket on Lane 1, which had Yuihan, Juri, and Tomu, but the queue was very long. Plus, I anticipated Zunchan’s matome queue to be long, which it was. So I hung around where I thought Zunchan’s lane would be, and I guessed right. I ended up being 5th in the queue. Actually, I should have been second or third, but the guy waiting right at the gate was in a wheelchair, and I didn’t want to be rude and pass him. Unfortunately, a few people didn’t care and literally jumped over him to get in line first. Jerks. Suzuha came out early, which was good since none of my friends were doing matome, and were waiting to go to dinner. When it was my turn, I asked her if she had fun playing with Ijiri-san. She said she had a great time, and asked if I enjoyed it. Now to be honest, I didn’t really pay that much attention to the stage, but from what I saw it looked like fun. They were doing some kind of archery competition. So I told her that it looked like it was a lot of fun. I said I would see her tomorrow, and was on my way.

At the end of the day I got to meet up with every 16th gen. member, with the exception of Orin, which is a bummer since she is another member who really pays a lot of attention to me at shows. I need to make a point of visiting with her one day soon. Ultimately, it was a very long day, and my feet were killing me. I dreaded doing it all over again on Sunday, but I would tough it out and do my best to have fun. And as you can see on my previous post, it was a lot of fun

 

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48-Group 11-Gatsu no Anklet Individual Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2018/01/07)

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I wasn’t sure which day to write up first. Saturday I managed to make it into not only HKT’s individual event, but both of AKB and NGT’s National Events since they were all at Makuhari Messe. But that’s going to be quite the involved writeup. Oh, and then there’s the Theater show I won on Friday where I saw 16th gen, and a few of the draftees…

Frankly speaking, I was really tired after Saturday and not looking forward to my marathon schedule on Sunday that would have me at the event from Slot 2 through Slot 7. 9 hours, which was compounded by endless long queues which made taking a rest almost impossible. However, I did manage to grab a quick bite at the food carts in the early afternoon. Anyway, I got into the venue at the beginning of Slot 2. The ticket stamp line was kinda long, but they had a very nice system in place where the wait was not long at all. Took about 10-15 minutes to get my tickets stamped, and I was off to use my one Slot 2 ticket.

Slot 2

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 33) For this single, each handshake came with a certain benefit you are eligible to win. The exclusive special benefit of the day was a New Year’s card, which is what most of my tickets were for. (6 of 11) You drew a sticker out of a box, and if your sticker was a winner you got a choice of three cards, a calendar card, a postcard, or some other New Year’s card. Here are all of my stickers for the day (you got to keep them whether you won or lost)

However, this made the lines take extra long. In fact, it took me 75 minutes to get through Zunchan’s queue. Good thing I only had one ticket. While I waited I watched Shiichan and Sayaya in the neighboring lanes so I would know what to do when it was my turn. When it was finally my turn, I drew a losing sticker, but I still had time to talk about how cute her lane decorations were. Per usual, Zunchan decorated her lane with flowers, toys, signs, and whatnot. I had another ticket for Zunchan in Slot 3, and I dreaded another long wait in the queue…

Slot 3

Yamauchi Mizuki (Lane 7) Since it was already fifteen minutes into Slot 3, I ran over to Mizuki’s lane to check the queue. Luckily, it wasn’t too long, so I would have time to get this ticket done and then go back to Zunchan’s queue, which was still serving Slot 2 tickets. The prize for this lane was the 1-shot Video/2-shot selfie, but I didn’t win. I met Zukki a couple of times at the National Event the day before, and she always gives me a good reaction when I see her at the theater. Today was no different. So today I told her that I thought she was an excellent dancer. She kind of looked at me cross-eyed, until I mentioned Migiashi Evidence. It then clicked for her and she was like “Oh, thank you thank you!” I think I want to start visiting with Zukki more often.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 33) It was over 30 minutes into Slot 3, and they were still dealing with Slot 2. However, the good news was that there weren’t too many people pre-queued for Slot 3, so my spot in line wasn’t that bad. I also won the prize, which was the 1-shot video. It’s the first time I have ever won the draw in Zunchan’s lane!

When you win the video or selfie, they don’t really give you much time to talk, but I did manage to tell Zunchan that I always cheer for her in the theater, which was kind of a re-reminder since I may have mentioned that to her on Saturday at the National Event. It was already Slot 4, so I hurried myself over to the lane I thought would be the shorter of my two tickets.

Slot 4

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 103) I had never seen Bibian’s queue so long in my life. This was one ticket I considered skipping since I saw her on Saturday (and for some reason I thought this was a Miorin ticket until I looked at it in the morning) But Tani’s lane hadn’t even opened yet, so there was no reason to skip it. The queue took around 45 minutes, and had the New Year’s card prize. I drew another losing sticker. The previous day I had commented on the outfit she was wearing, particularly her necklace. So I told her I was reading her twitter and liked all the cute photos she took at the event.

Tani Marika (Lane 49) I knew this lane was going to be hell since Tani’s birthday was on Friday. It was also a New Year’s Card lane. As expected, the queue was huge, even extending out of the lane into the general area. There was a big chance this could screw up my Slot 5 tickets, but I was willing to give up one of them anyway. As long as I had time to do one Slot 5 ticket, I would be okay. It was 10 minutes into slot 5, almost an hour since I had queued up, and they announced they were switching Marika into another lane. So we moved from lane 49 to lane 46…

I was 10th in line in the new lane, so it wouldn’t be too long once Marika arrived, which was maybe 15 minutes later. I also got I nice wave hello from Dasu while I waited as an added bonus. When it was finally my turn she greeted me with a “Hey Kurisu!” which I think might be the first time she has remembered my name right off the bat, so cool! Anyway, I wished Marika a happy birthday and told her she looked especially cute. I also told her that my birthday was a few weeks ago, so she wished me a happy birthday too. I didn’t win the card, so we had a little bit of extra time to talk.

Slot 5

Sakaki Miyuu [Cuca] (Lane 75) I went to Cuca’s lane fully expecting it to be empty. It was already over 30 minutes into the slot, but the previous member ran overtime, so Cuca hadn’t even started yet. Even more amazing, her line was like 15 people deep. So she really is starting to cultivate more fans. In fact, shortly after she started they immediately called her to the handicapped fan’s lane since she had people wanting to meet her there as well. And by the way, when did Cuca transform into a real idol? To be honest, the first couple of times I have met her she just looked like a normal girl in an AKB booth. But on this day she looked transformed. Her hair was a lot more stylish, her makeup a lot more professional, and her clothes a lot cuter. Moreover, her cheeks looked much thinner. At first I thought I was in the wrong lane, but she looked really good! When it was my turn I got the usual familiar greeting, and I won the drawing. I chose the calendar card…

I asked her if she had fun performing at the theater on Saturday, which of course she did. I said a few other things to her, but I think she was either half-listening, or my Japanese isn’t as good as I think it is, since she just kept thanking me no matter what I said. In any case, I am glad I am getting a chance to root for her from the beginning. I was checking my old blog, and came across an article I wrote about her like 8-9 years ago. LOL. As I left I noticed her queue had swelled to at least 20-30 people, so good news for Cuca-chan.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 104) Miraculously, there were still five minutes before the gates closed on Slot 5, so I went over to Maichan’s queue, and it was about as long as Zunchan’s was in the morning. Oh no! This would mean that it could seriously eat into my Slot 6 tickets, which is the slot with my two favorite members. I just couldn’t bare the thought of grinding through this line for an hour, and then rushing to hopefully get both Slot 6 tickets done. Not to mention, I saw Maichan twice on Saturday, and I have tickets for her on a lot of upcoming events. So I decided to use this half hour for a break. The bummer was that Maichan saw me a bunch of times while I was in Bibian’s and Akiyoshi’s queues, so she knew I was in the building.

Slot 6/7

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 105) I came over to Yukachan’s lane about 15 minutes before the slot was going to start, and Maichan’s lane was STILL open! Also, Tanaka Yuka’s lane was open, which is where Akiyoshi was supposed to be. A couple of the Akiyoshi fans started complaining to the guards that they were going to make Yukachan’s lane start late. (Which it did) They finally let us into the lane, and eventually let us check in. I won the 2-shot/1-shot. Now, I have mentioned numerous times that I am horrible at taking selfies. Just horrible. But I already had one video today, and I don’t have a pic with Akiyoshi and her short hair, so I decided to chance it and go for the 2-shot. I stood in the lane practicing taking selfies over and over, so I wouldn’t screw it up. Okay, I think I have this wired…

Uhhhhhh, I mentioned I am horrible as taking selfies, right? I actually used Photoshop to make it look this decent. It was even worse before. So I learned my lesson. Whenever given the choice, I should ALWAYS go for the video. I DID tell Yukachan that I chose the selfie because I wanted a 2-shot with her “new look.” I would have more to say to her when I used my last ticket of the evening.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 47) <2 tickets> Kaotan’s queue was surprisingly short, so I would have some more time to rest and visit with some friends during the dinner break. While I was waiting in line I started getting fished…by Yamauchi Suzuran! I had always heard what a flirt she is, and have never met her before. It made me think, perhaps I would use my oshimashi ticket on her? I would decide during Slot 7 when I had more time. The good news was that I won the 2-shot/1-shot prize. Having learned my lesson with Akiyoshi, I opted for the video. Kaotan gives good video anyway…


I decided to prequeue in Kaotan’s lane for 7th Slot, which would give me more time for my other tickets. But for some reason they wouldn’t let Kaotan or Suzuran’s fans into the lane. This was after Slot 7 had started. In fact, Suzuran and Kaotan came out to start the slot, and were wondering why all their fans were being held out. From what I understand, the guards for the lane were also at dinner, and were late getting back. In the meantime, Kaotan and Suzuran just chatted while waiting for staff to let their fans in. Odd. As for the prize, I didn’t win the card, so Kaotan and I instead talked about my trip to California. I have tons of signed stuff from Kaotan anyway. After telling her some of what I did she asked when I would make my next trip over. I also mentioned that I celebrated my birthday in California. She said she was happy I had fun. She is such a sweetheart! I told her I would see her again soon.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 105) <2 tickets> I had decided that if Yukachan’s queue was short, I would go to meet Suzuran. But if the queue was long I would use my Maichan ticket on Yuka. The queue was medium sized. Hmmm, I decided not to chance it, and just use all my tickets on Yuka. Luckily, they allowed me to draw for the New Year’s prize on both tickets, and I won on one of them. I picked the postcard since Yukachan had done a nice job preparing it.

I had some extra time to talk, and Yukachan and I have an agreement that at least once a day we should do a handshake in English since she is studying English, and is fairly good at it. So I told her the story of how when I went to see 16th gen at the AKB National Event the previous day, I was still wearing my Akiyoshi ticket holder (with a bunch of Akiyoshi keychains hanging off of it) and quite a few of the 16th gen girls were pointing and exclaiming “Mikan Mikan!” So she is popular with the AKB kenkyuusei. I then asked her if she understood the story, and she repeated it back to me in Japanese, fairly accurately too. So it was a successful English handshake.

When I finished there was still time, so I could have gone to see Suzuran after all. Of well, maybe next time. Although it would have been cool to do it on this day since she took the time to fish me. In any case, my feet were exhausted, I was hungry, and had a long ride home. I have tickets for one of the February dates of this single, but it conflicts with a Wasamin event I am attending. Not sure how that is going to work out. I may show up first thing in the morning, oshimashi my tickets on random members, then go to see Wasamin. I also have tickets for March, so no biggie.

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events, HKT48, SKE48 AKB48-Group 49th Single #Sukinanda Individual Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama. (2017/11/05)

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Back to Yokohama for the second half of the 48-groups big handshake weekend. This time I had a few more tickets than on Saturday, and I had a variety of different prizes I could potentially win. 1-shot videos, 2-shot selfies, autographed member recipe cards, and the autographed alternate CD jacket. The question was whether or not I would be lucky and win at least one of each prize. I also took pictures of a bunch of the member recipe cards. Let’s get right into the action…

SLOT 2

Tani Marika (Lane 53) I only had the one Slot 2 ticket, so I didn’t really need to get to the venue until after 11am. Tani didn’t have too big of a queue. I checked in, drew on the lottery, and won. Good start! It was a choice of 1-shot video, or 2-shot selfie. Since I suck at taking selfies, and Tani, is so funny, I chose the video…

Looks like I got a girlfriend, eh??? Yatta! In that case, I better grab some Tani gear ASAP! I asked Tani if she was still a Soft Bank Hawks fan, and she replied affirmatively by exclaiming yes and pumping her fist. So I gave her a quick “omedetou” before getting pushed out. In the meantime, I ran into Matto, as well as Naruse . I also ran into a Hong Kong fan who I believe I met once before, but I don’t remember his name. Oh, and I signed a birthday card for Marika (as well as Bibian) and her fans gave me some Tani tissues!

 

SLOT 3

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 55) I decided to queue up early of Zunchan’s lane since it has a tendency to get very long. I lined up around 20 minutes early, just as Aramaki Misaki was finishing up with her last fan. I didn’t win the selfie/video prize, which wasn’t too big of a surprise since she is a bit harder to win for. Anyway, a short time later Zunchan entered her booth. What the hell, she is 20 minutes early? She wasn’t there to start meeting the members, she was there to decorate her booth. Balloons, streamers, toys, stuffed animals. It is amazing watching her do all of this. And it takes her over 10-15 minutes to get it all done. In the meantime, everyone from the neighboring queues are also watching and laughing in amazement. Even Shoji Nagisa came in to see what she had done to her booth. That isn’t even all. She then has a bunch of handwritten signs that she asks the staff to strategically place all over the lane. It is absolutely amazing what she does, and you can see it all from halfway across the hall!

 

Needless to say when it came to my turn I told her I watched her put her booth together, and that it was amazing and totally cute. I then said that her bedroom at home is probably the same. LOL.  She basically laughed along with me. Later on I took my friend Nori over to see it, and he thought it was great. He said he had never seen anything like it before. I have seen members decorate their lanes before, but never to this level.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 62) After Yuka-chan stole my heart on Saturday, I was really looking forward to seeing her again on Sunday. Luckily, I won the 2-shot selfie. But was this really good news? I suck at taking selfies. So while I was waiting in the queue (she did have a bit of a line) I practiced taking selfies so I wouldn’t blow it. I got her in perfect position, I had a good grip on my phone, I extended my arm out as far as I could, cracked a half-smile, and…

 

Success! I finally took a proper selfie. In my quick visit I noted that the sweater she was wearing was just as cute as yesterday, and that she always wears very nice clothes. She quickly thanked me as I got pushed out. But I would be seeing her again to lead off the next slot…

SLOT 4

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 62) This time, surprisingly, I did not win for the 1-shot video. I wasn’t to disappointed though, since I already have three of those with her from recent events. I instead decided to congratulate her on the Hawks win. I noted that I was looking at her twiiter last night, and saw all of her Japan Series tweets, and that I saw she ate dinner with Meru. Anyhow, I hoped I would have better luck when I visited Yuka again in Slot 6.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 73) Keeping with the theme, I had already set up with Maichan that I would be rooting along with her for the Hawks on Saturday night. I didn’t win the alternative jacket prize, meanwhile Maichan had a decent sized queue. However, I guess nomany people were winning since her line went very fast. In any case, when it was my turn she already knew what we were going to talk about, and started pumping her fist and cheering before I even got into the booth. I congratulated her, and she gave me a big High-Five. Maichan is so much fun.

 

I had no Slot 5 tickets. So after visiting with my friend Nori for a little while, I bailed back to Queen’s Square for a late lunch and a cocktail.

SLOT 6

Sakaki Miyu [Cuca] (Lane 32) I had three tickets for Slot 6, and decided to get Cuca done first since she never has a line. However, when I got there, she DID have a small queue. So I decided to wait for it to clear out, but it didn’t. More people kept entering her lane. This is really good news. She is starting to cultivate more fans! Her lane was still “automatic win” for the prize, so I would be getting the autographed recipe.

So I decided to ask her about the recipe. I neglected to tell her that I do not like dishes with cooked tuna in them like that. Instead I asked her if it was an Okinawan recipe since a friend of mine thought it might be. She insisted that it wasn’t. She also sincerely thanked me for coming, and asked if I lived in Japan. Since this is like the 4th or 5th time I have met her, I think she is getting that I really do like her.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 62) One final visit with Yukachan, and I won her recipe card too! It seemed like most people were winning, since in my immediate vicinity everyone had won, save for one unlucky guy.

Her recipe was for a fried rice dish, so I asked her if it was Chinese inspired. She told me that it is actually her father’s recipe, something he makes at home. The guards were calling time, but Yukachan spent extra time on the autograph, even drawing a mikan at the bottom, as well as a special message. So a total score. I look forward to seeing her again at the HKT event in late-November.

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 58) Bibian had quite the queue, I was really surprised. It didn’t really matter, since it would be a while until I could use my final ticket. I didn’t win the 1-shot video, oh well. Bibian was completely decked out in Adidas gear, so I noted that when I entered the lane. And like with the other HKT members, I asked her if she was a Hawks fan. And then congratulated her on the Japan Series win. Short and sweet.

 

So we would have to wait until after the dinner break before Slot 7 started. This is why I usually try to be done after Slot 6. However, oftentimes some of my favorite members, like Tani, Kaotan, Bibian, and even Yukachan only have after dinner slots. In this case one member I like was only Slot 7-8, and since I didn’t even see her at all on Saturday, I would brave the wait.

SLOT 7

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 41) I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to enter Kaotan’s lane early, or wait a while. But her queue kept getting bigger, so I decided to get in there before it got out of hand. In any case, she likes to take her time with the fans. I didn’t win the “alternative CD jacket” prize, but you never know with Kaotan. In the meantime her lane was positioned right next to the Handicapped lane for SKE. So I had a really closeup view of all the members coming over to that lane. It is really interesting how that lane operates too. The first member who came over was Ego-chan, then Ryoha, Hidaka Yuzuki, Suuchan, Obamina, Kaotan, and finally Masanya when I was really close to the front. Masanya spotted me and waved hello too. It’s funny, every time I think I am seeing Masanya for the last time, I end up running into her again. Is it fate? Anyway…

I also noticed that Kaotan seemed to be signing jackets for everyone, regardless of whether or not they won. Cool! Except, when I was five away they switched guard staff, and the one new guard asked why she was signing jackets for people who lost. The exiting guard basically shrugged. So it would be interesting what would happen when it was my turn, since the three people in front of me all won. So it was finally my turn, as expected Kaotan reached for a jacket to sign, but the guard interjected and said “No, he didn’t win!” She was like “Oh, he didn’t? I’m sorry.” I just played dumb the entire time, although I was slightly bummed that I got cock-blocked by the new guard. In any case, I told her I was just happy to see her. I then asked her about her Banana Juice recipe, and if it was better than the Butterbeer she had at USJ a few days ago. She then asked if I was coming back for Slot 8, and maybe I would win the recipe card. But I told her the next time I would see her was at the SKE event at the end of the month. After saying our goodbyes, I was done for the evening.

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Prizes

I ultimately went 4 for 9, which isn’t a bad percentage. I would have liked to have won at least one of those alternate jackets, and I would LOVE to get a selfie or a video of Zunchan. But oh well, maybe next time.

Recipe Bonus

Here are the recipe cards I took photos of on the wall at the far end of the hall. I mainly took pictures of members that I like, with a few others thrown in for friends. And of course, Tani’s infamous recipe for Cup Ramen…

So rounding out the year, I have the SKE and HKT handshake events on November 23rd, and that is basically it for me and the 48-groups until 2018 since I will be back in the U.S. for 2 1/2 weeks in December. That is unless I happen to win another show. And of course I also have a bunch of Wasamin stuff between now and mid-December. So it’s all good.

 

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events, HKT48, NMB48, SKE48 AKB48-Group 49th Single #Sukinanda Individual Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama. (2017/11/04)

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For me, this event was more of an hors d’oeuvre before tomorrow’s (Sunday) event since I originally planned on only going on Sunday. However, during the application period, I saw Team 8 perform in the theater and briefly took a liking to Takahashi Ayane. Saturday was the only day she was appearing, so I was compelled to buy a few tickets for this day. Now the irony is that I actually did an oshimashi handshake with Amane a couple of month ago, and…well, I wasn’t inspired to see her again. So ultimately I ended up doing an oshimashi with her ticket today. LOL

But it was still a worthwhile day, even with the few tickets I had. I had all my tickets stacked into Slots 2-4, which worked out perfectly since I had another event I wanted to attend in Akihabara later on in the day.

Of course this was another event where you could draw special prizes (2-shots, 1-shots, signed photos, etc.) Interestingly, of the six tickets I had, none of them offered any kind of recording or photo prize. They were all either for a signed photo, or a signed drawing the members all did.. Ultimately I won 2 of 6 (well, 2 of 5 since I blew off my Ayane ticket, and you can’t draw for prizes on oshimashi) Anyway, I arrived at Pacifico Yokohama toward the end of Slot 2, which was enough time to get my Slot 2 tickets done. AKB must have had at least 4 halls rented out for this event, as there were over 100 lanes, a stage area, some drawing exhibit, and all the other booths they have (info, Aikabu, etc.) Despite that, 5 of my 6 tickets were all located in the same corner of the hall.

Slot 2

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 73) Yuka-chan didn’t have much of a queue, which is usual for her at the end of the slot. I checked in and immediately won the signed photo. After waiting for 2 fans in front of me. Yuka-chan reached out with both hands and exclaimed “Chris-san!!!” She had on the cutest sweater, kind of 2-tone flesh color and dark green, it almost looked like a low cut blouse, but it wasn’t.

As she signed the card I told her how pretty her sweater was, and I asked if she had a fun birthday, and I saw some of the pictures online. She thanked me and asked if I had heard about their new album. I told her I want to get it, although it is quite expensive. She nodded in agreement, and then out of nowhere she said “Chris-san, I love you so much!” Wow!! I remember when Wasamin said something like that to me a few years back, and I almost got weak in the knees. Same here, Akiyoshi just made my heart flutter.

There was still 10 minutes left in the slot, and I wondered if there was someone available who I could use my “extra” ticket on. Originally I wanted to use it on Cuca, but her slot wasn’t until later in the day, after I panned to leave. I didn’t have a ticket for Zunchan today either, but these days her lanes don’t have the oshimashi “star.” As I walked through the HKT section I found Bibian, Rikopi, and Mio, all starred lanes, all short queues. Okay, this was it. Who would I pick???

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 57) So this is who I ultimately ended up using my Amane ticket for. I like Rikopi, she is usually a fun handshake, and I hadn’t seen her in a while. I could tell Rikopi wanted to say my name, but just couldn’t recall it in that moment. Instead she just started practicing her English with me. I did ask her about the upcoming HKT album, and told her I was excited about it.

SLOT 3

Tani Marika (Lane 54) Despite the fact that I promised Marika I would wear Tani-gear in the future, I failed to bring anything of her’s to wear. And frankly, it has been slim pickings at the goods booth for this single. I actually do have some Tani stuff in my storage unit in the U.S., but that doesn’t do me any good here. Anyway, I won the signed photo, so at least that would keep her occupied.

Oh, and she was wearing a “Chucky” (from Child’s Play) t-shirt. So I immediately got her talking about that as I pointed and said “Chucky!” I then told her that I saw her Halloween cosplay tweets. She asked if I thought they were cute. I took a chance and said they were “scary and cute,” and noted the white contacts she wore. At the end she again reminded me that I was supposed to be wearing Tani accoutrement. So I didn’t get off scot-free after all.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 62) Maichan had the only really long line I went to all day. I don’t seem to have good luck drawing Maichan’s prizes, and alas, I didn’t win. After around 20 minutes in the queue I finally got my turn. Now I know Maichan is a big Soft Bank Hawks fan. Actually, lately all of the HKT girls have been posting about the Hawks, but Maichan supports them all season. So I asked Mai if she was going to watch the game tonight. I didn’t totally get her response, but I think she said something to the effect that she wouldn’t have time. But she did say that she hoped that they win tonight. So I told her I would root for the Hawks too, and for that I got a High-Five. I told her I would see her tomorrow as the guard pushed me out.

SLOT 4

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 73) When I entered the queue shortly before the start of the slot, there was still a bit of a queue for Jitoe Nene, and one guy in particular who had a ton of tickets, so they ended up moving the rest of her queue into another lane. In the meantime, while we waited for Yuka-chan to come out I was watching Matsuoka Hana playing with her fans in the next lane. Eventually Yuka-chan came out. It was my goal to get this ticket, and my final ticket in this slot done as quickly as possible because I needed to hustle to Akihabara by the late afternoon. BTW, here is Yuka-chan in her pretty sweater I talked about before…

Surprisingly, I didn’t win the prize. But that’s okay since the cooler prize was the first one, which I did win. In any case, I decided to ask Yuka-chan if she is a Soft Bank Hawks fan too. She said yes, and then pointed out that I was wearing my HKT48-Hawks Baseball Jersey. (In fact, I got comments from a lot of people today around Tokyo assuming I was a Soft Bank Hawks fan, LOL) Like with Maichan, I told Yuka that I would root for the Hawks to win. After telling her I would be at the event tomorrow too, I hoofed it over to the far end of the hall for my last ticket…

Ichikawa Miori (Lane 5) Miorin had a fairly short queue. Since I lost the prize when I visited her last time, I really wanted to win this time. The fan in front of me had three tickets, so he pressed the button three times, and he won ALL THREE. SHIT, I just knew the next one would be a loser, and almost pulled my ticket and ID back, but it was already too late, they had marked my ticket. And of course, I didn’t win the prize, again. So I would have to come up with something to talk about with Miorin. Well, she was wearing this cute and fuzzy little hat. So after the usual pleasantries I commented that her hat was very cute. I also mentioned at first I thought the fuzzy stuff sticking out was her hair. She immediately, and almost defiantly said it wasn’t her hair. As I laughed, the guard, rather forcefully, pushed me out.

I immediately bailed back to Tokyo, and to my little event in Akihabara. Tomorrow I have a few more tickets. I again have tickets for Yukachan, Maichan, and Tani, plus tickets for Zunchan, Kaotan, Bibian, and Cuca. Not to mention many of the prizes I am trying for are video and 2-shots, so hopefully my luck will be a little better than today.

 

CK in Tokyo

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