Posts Tagged ‘Akiyoshi Yuka’

AKB48, Events AKB48-Group 51st Single “Jabaja” Individual Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/07/08)

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This was the last of the Jabaja handshake events I had purchased tickets for, although there are a few still happening in mid-August. I originally planned to be in California at some point in August, so I have avoided all of the handshake events scheduled for the month (with the exception of HKT on August 4th) However, it is beginning to look more and more like I may remain in Japan for the entire Summer (Ugghh!) The good news is I can get resale on some of the August handshake events, but not all. Anyway…

My ticket schedule was slightly different than usual. Kaotan was not scheduled for this event for some reason (a horse racing event, according to her blog), and Tani was only scheduled for the night slots, so I didn’t see either of them. I also wanted to oshi-mashi and see Ran-chan (Kobayashi Ran) but I couldn’t decide which of my tickets to give up, and she was scheduled for Slot 5 only, meaning I would have waited an extra three hours to see her. I have tickets for all three of them on the 21st, so all good.

I was really exhausted this morning. I have had difficulty sleeping due to stress, which will hopefully subside at the end of the Semester later this month. In fact, I have been for the most part skipping idol stuff until the end of this month. I would have been completely happy blowing this event off as well, except I really wanted to talk to Yuka-chan since I hadn’t spoken to her since she ranked in Sousenkyo. All of my tickets were for the first three slots, so I would simply head down early, get my tickets done, and bail back home around lunch time. I had no trouble making it to Makuhari by 9am…

Slot 1

Sakaki Miyu <Cuca> (Lane 74) Interestingly, this is the first time I know of where Cuca’s prize wasn’t an instant win. This means that she is beginning to sell more tickets in the one slot they give her. She wasn’t sold out since her lane was *starred*, but at least it’s progress. And, I DIDN’T WIN! Heh, it was the 2-shot/1-shot prize. Anyway, her line only had a couple people in it, so she saw me heading down the lane toward her booth. After the obligatory greetings, I asked her about the stage play she is going to be in. She completely lit up, and told me that she was very excited and she would be working hard. I gave her my best, and was off. I’m glad I came armed with something to talk to her about this time.

Interestingly, aside from Cuca the rest of my tickets were for lanes all stuffed in the far left back of the venue, so I pretty much stayed in one small area for the entire morning. I did walk around a bit just to do a bit of people watching.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 40) Yukachan’s lane also offered the 2-shot/1-shot, and this time I won. I was torn which to choose, and ultimately decided on the selfie. Later I noticed most of the fans chose the 1-shot video, and had Yuka-chan do the fashion show. Yuka-chan saw me coming down the lane and smiled. I waved my winning sheet at her, and she exclaimed “Yatta, you won!” Since there was no wait, I wasn’t ready, so I took my time putting my bag in the bin, and getting my camera ready before stepping into the booth. I centered the camera, made sure at least Yukachan was completely in the shot, and fired away!

Okay, my selfies are getting a bit better, although I still do them “two-handed.” So it was my chance to congratulate her on her ‘victory’ of sorts. I told her when I saw the smile on her face after she was called it warmed my heart. Yuka-chan exclaimed that she was so glad I came to see her, and thanked me for cheering for her. I told her I would be back a little later.

Slot 2

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 36) I decided I would queue up early to see Zunchan since I know her line tends to get long. In fact, she still had a queue from Slot 1 when we were allowed into the lane for check-in. I was second in line, which meant I had a great view of her signs. Since it has been topic of conversation in the past, I decided I would do my best to completely read her signs, and if I could, talk to her about them. In the meantime, Asai Nanami was in the next lane over, and had her booth completely decorated for the Tanabata holiday. In between the slots, Zunchan took a short break, but Naamin stayed in her booth, and at one point walked into Zunchan’s booth to check the decor. Frankly, Zunchan’s decor wasn’t quite as elaborate as usual, but there were lots of signs. Naamin muttered “sugoi” and “kawaii” before heading back into her booth. Zunchan came out with Gabriel-kun in tow. (Her stuffed animal Frog)

By the way, her sign was all about the types of foods she likes to eat in the Summer. Among her favorites were shaved ice, frankfurters, and some kind of potato dish. The sign asked us what our favorite Summer dishes are, and playfully offered to enjoy Summer foods together. After quickly greeting Gabriel-kun, I told her that I read the sign, and that my favorite Summer foods were American barbecue like spareribs, and hot dogs, and that I liked beach barbeques. I think it surprised her, since I was indeed responding to her questions on the sign. When I mentioned the ribs she got very excited, but quickly my time was up and I was getting pushed out.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 40) By the time I made it back to Yukachan her line had emptied out. I didn’t win the signed photo, but I actually already have one, so no biggie. I really didn’t have much more to say to her, so I basically told her about my day during the Sousenkyo, and that I was on a train when people started messaging me about her ranking. Anyway, I repeated that I was very happy for her.

Slot 3

Yamauchi Mizuki (Lane 33) After talking to my friend Panda for a while, I pre-queued for Zukki’s lane since it tends to get long, which it did. I did have a few guys cut in front of me on the way in, but decided to not make an issue of it. It all worked out however, since I ended up winning the 1-shot video prize. I was reading over the choices, which included a bunch of Summer-related material, and of course the fashion show is always popular, except that’s what I had her do last time. I was between two lines. One was her asking me to buy her shaved ice, and the one I chose…

Yay, Zukki and I are going to watch fireworks together. Sounds like a fun date. I hope she wears a Kimono! I told her I have been following her Twitter, and I like that she posts lots of cute pictures. She protested that her pictures aren’t cute. (Yeah, right) Interestingly, Zukki is consistently becoming one of my favorite handshake experiences. Even more interesting, I had forgotten I even had this ticket, and only noticed it when I was sorting my tickets at the venue, LOL.

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 43) It had been quite a while, but I was finally getting the opportunity to visit with Bibian again. What would I talk about? Produce48? Oh…

So the ‘special’ prize of the day was a signed time-card. What is that you ask? Exactly what you think it might be. An actual time card, which they drop into a time clock at their booth and then sign it. I mean really, this is on the same level of randomness as those signed resumes we won last month. Bibian’s was the only chance I had to win it, and mercifully I lost. Whatever. In the meantime I found a fan’s identification on the ground. I picked it up, and started looking for the person it belonged to. After nobody around me claimed it, I just held it up until either someone said it was theirs, or until a guard came by. Eventually one of the Bibian fans took it and started yelling “Who lost their ID?” Finally a guy in line noticed it was his.

The line was going very slow since it was a signing slot. I wasn’t sure how Bibian would react to me since she gave me a semi-dirty look last month when she spotted me in another lane. However, she was just as genki as usual. She was all blinged out to with a bunch of heart-related jewelry. I mentioned that I laughed at her tweet she made during the Japan soccer match the other day. If you haven’t seen it, it’s very cute.

https://twitter.com/murakawabibiann/status/1013840102487818240

Bibian is awesome on twitter. Her tweets ore often so silly. After shaking Bibian’s hand I headed out, but then the guard called me back in. It seems there was a consolation card for people who didn’t win the time-card. Okay, I’ll take it. And it also meant I got an extra few seconds with Bibian since she reached out to grab my hands once again.

And that was it. I was able to win 2 prizes out of six, which is about par for the course. Although admittedly I was surprised I didn’t win a couple of them. But it was 12:30, and I was heading home to 1) write this, 2) rest, and 3) get on this major assignment I have that’s due in two days. My next 48-group related events will be AKB’s Teacher Teacher event on the 21st, and then HKT’s handshake event in early-August. I have a couple of interesting members scheduled, so we’ll see how it goes.

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events AKB48-Group 51st Single “Jabaja” Individual Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama (2017/06/03)

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I originally didn’t plan to attend this event, instead opting for the May and July Jabaja events at Makuhari. However, for some reason Kaotan is not participating in the July event, which kinda left me in a quandary since she is one of my top handshake members. I ultimately decided to go to both June and July, just with fewer tickets. I am glad I made that decision too, as they announced this week that they would be selling some Sousenkyo goods at the event, including the little poster pin badges.

Getting the badges was high on my priority list, but I didn’t really plan it properly arriving at Pacifico 10 minutes before the opening of Slot 2, and my first two tickets. I checked the goods queue. It wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t short either by any means. I could’ve opted to come back later when I had more time, but last year I did that and when I finally got around to getting goods Akiyoshi was sold out. I decided to tough it out, at worst it would cause me to lose out on one of my Slot 2 tickets. Finally, 45 minutes later I made it to the front of the line and got what I wanted.

I affixed each one to my two ticket holders, and I was off to do handshakes…

Slot 2

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 53) Kaotan with a morning slot? That’s unusual. Her line wasn’t very long, so maybe I could make it to my second ticket. The big gimmick of the day were these resumes the members wrote. And honestly, they were the most WTF “prize” I think they have ever offered. The members essentially autographed and wrote a message on a photocopy of the resume, which was like 17×11 and then put into a large envelope. And yes, I won the prize. So I was getting her signed resume…

I told Kaotan that I was watching the video on her Twitter feed, and got worried for a moment. She asked “Why, because everyone was crying?” Yes, and then I explained that somebody in the comments wrote “Kaotan is graduating?” She immediately responded “NAI NAI NAI!!!” She finally asked if I voted for her. I anticipated this question, and didn’t want to be a liar. So I answered. “YES! I voted for you!” What I didn’t tell her was that it was once. (I split my two fan club votes, one each for Kaotan and Yukachan) She made a comment as she handed me the resume about my not being able to read it, but I said I would do my best, especially since I am now taking a Kanji class. She asked if I could read kana, and then I told her I could read some kanji too.

So I was done, and there was still five minutes before gates closed. I was considering doing oshi-mashi with my second ticket, and the member I was considering was in the next lane over. I decided to check which lane might be smaller. Whaddya know, both of them were practically empty.

Yamauchi Mizuki (Lane 103) <oshi-mashi> I have met Zukky a few times now, but I feel I am really beginning to click with her, and I wanted to keep that momentum. Meanwhile, the ticket I gave up was for Komiyama Haruka, who I have never done a handshake with before. Though I do have another ticket for Komiharu coming up, so not the biggest tragedy.

Like I mentioned, Zukky’s line was empty and she waved to me as I was checking in. It was a quick handshake. I admitted to her that it was an oshi-mashi ticket, but I really wanted to see her today. She seemed satisfied with that. I mentioned I have a proper ticket for next event too. Ya know, the great thing about Zukky is that she is kinda shy and reserved, almost like she doesn’t know she’s an idol.

During the break between the slots I was roaming down the outside hall to see if there were any birthday cards I wanted to sign. I thought about signing Orin’s, but never got around to it. When I got to the far end, the Ricopi committee caught me eyeing their booth. Smelling blood, the grabbed me and brought me over. I explained to them that I do know Ricopi, and have met her multiple times. I also happened to have a ticket for her today. They tried to hustle me for a vote or two, but I explained any vote I have will be going to Akiyoshi (or Kaotan) I exchanged Twiiter handles with them and was on my way. They said they looked forward to seeing me in the queue. BTW, here is the cover of a flyer they gave me (more pages of it toward the bottom of the post)

 

Slot 3

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 3) Since Tomonaga Mio was again out for this event, Maichan was my only Slot 3 ticket. I waited until the slot was half over before heading back in, and Maichan’s line was fairly short. I didn’t win the 1-shot video prize, but I think I already have a couple of those with her. In any case, when it was my turn I congratulated her on the preliminary SSK result, and told her I would be really happy if she made Senbatsu this year. Of course she pointed out that I could help her out with that too, LOL. Anyway, she said she would work hard for it.

After that I took a look at the two “walls” they had built in the Hall. On the far right side of the hall were the election posters, with the members campaign promises. On the far left side were all the members’ resumes, so you could see them whether you won or lost. I took a few pics, and then decided to pre-queue for the line I thought might be the most troublesome since I had three tickets for three different members in the next slot…

Slot 4

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 108) By pre-queueing I managed to be second in line. Since they let us in 10 minutes early, I had some time to 1) read some of Zunchan’s signs that she posts all over her lane, and 2) get a firsthand look at the insanity going on in the lane next door. More on that in a moment. In the meantime Zunchan came bouncing into the lane with her cards for signing, which by the way I didn’t win, nor did the fans in front of me and behind me. When it was my turn I mentioned to her again that I enjoy reading her signs, as it is good Japanese practice for me. She puts so much effort into them too. Then I mentioned her “Majime” face on her poster. She asked how I liked at, and I said “Kawaii!” And with that I was off to the far opposite side of the hall for me second ticket…

I mentioned the lane next door, which was probably one of the craziest lanes I witnessed all day. It belonged to none other that Yahagi Moeka. Her line was gigantic. In fact, after they closed it I saw a couple of people wait for the guards not to be looking and jumped the rope into the queue. People had stacks of tickets they were using to oshi-mashi for her. Oh, and watching her with fans, WOW! Talk about Kami-Taiyou. She gets so close to the fans while talking it is almost like she is about to give them a kiss. Seriously, she gets her face inches away. So yeah, I am starting to get part of her appeal. Not that I want to deal with that queue, but the first time I met her she did come across as a fisher, so not totally surprising…

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 4) Finally getting to see Yukachan. However, when I entered the queue she wasn’t there. Instead Fukagawa Maiko was in her lane signing a HUGE stack of autographed resumes for a fan. It took over five minutes from when I arrived. I’m not sure who long they had been there already. I wasn’t worried as I was 6th in line and still had plenty of time for my third ticket. Oh, and I won the prize. It was a choice of selfie or video. This time I chose the video, and I saw a cute little phrase that I thought would be a lot of fun. In fact, when Yuka-chan read it she giggled…

Looks like I have a dinner date! Meanwhile I congratulated her on her preliminary result and told her that I hadn’t yet voted, so she had more votes coming from me. She thanked me as I told her I would be back in a bit.

Kobayashi Ran (Lane 92) <oshi-mashi> I actually planned to use my Mio ticket here, regardless of whether or not Mio was at the event. I waited five minutes for the half-hour mark to pass, and then entered the lane. Actually, quite a few people jumped into her queue at that point, so she is already starting to cultivate a following, Yatta!

She was wearing cute little cat ears, so I came in saying “Neko-Ranchan!!!” She immediately exclaimed, “You came back a second time!” Yes I did, and I told her that I bought some Ranchan tickets for the Teacher Teacher single too, so I would be seeing a lot more of her. Meanwhile, the guards were trying to hastily push me out, and she was desperately holding onto both my hands. Finally she let go. I asked if I get a business card. She said she couldn’t give me one if I was oshi-mashi. Ahhhh? So I guess when I got one last week it was totally by accident. Well, lucky me I guess.

I had an hour until Slot 5. I decided to go back to the goods booth just to see if either Kaotan or Yukachan had sold out of the badges. Neither of them had, and there was barely a queue. I guess I could have waited after all. The same couldn’t be said for the AKB48 Cafe. I was wondering why they had such a huge line, and it was because they were giving away the SSK poster-coasters with drink purchases. In the meantime I ran into my friend Nori, shortly before both of us headed back inside.

Slot 5

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 4) Again I pre-queued since this was my last slot of the day and I wanted to get home early. I was second in line. (There’s a guy who insists on being first in line for every Yukachan slot. In fact he queues up over an hour in advance to claim it) In the meantime I won the resume prize. When it was my turn I noticed I actually had a choice of three different items to be signed. Two were resumes, and the third was a big card. I chose one of the resumes since it looked like she worked hard on it, although to be honest her writing is quite sloppy, LOL.


She also signed the envelope

I had forgotten before, but I wanted to tell her how cute I thought all those “Calcium NOW” tweets were that she made while she was nursing her injured foot. I also called her “Hidarikiki.” Yukachan knows I am also “Hidarikiki” and asked me how to say it in English. At first I rattled off “Left-Handed” quite fast, and I don’t think she got it. But when I said it slowly she still had trouble with the “ed” part at the end. She understood “Left” and “Hand,” but that last part really threw her off, LOL. I got another “I love you so much” at the very end, which always melts my heart, and I said I would see her soon.

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 18) I headed over to Ricopi’s queue, and was immediately greeted by a couple of her fans who saw me at her seitensei booth. When I entered the lane I didn’t notice who was in the next booth over. It was Bibian. She got a good look at me too. She didn’t smile, or wave. Perhaps she was wondering why I haven’t been in her lane to visit lately. To Ricopi’s right was Ogiyuka’s booth, and it was fun watching her be super-genki with everyone. In the meantime, I ran into another Wasamin fan in the queue. It happened to be one of the guys who also won the duet with Wasamin at her Karaoke Party yesterday. (The Temodemo guy) Funny coincidence, especially since I specifically mentioned him in my post about that experience. And we both agreed that it was awesome to sing with Wasamin. Anyway, back to Ricopi…

“Kurisu! Long time-no see!” Actually, I did see her at the 2-shot event, so not that long ago. I told her that I made friends with some of her birthday committee members today. “You did???” And then I told her that I loved her poster, and it was like a cross between E.T. and Die Hard. She immediately laughed. E.T. Yes it is!!! I was halfway out of the lane at that point. I wished her the best and was on my way. And btw, more pics from the Ricopi flyer I was given…

I still had a lot of Japanese homework to do, so I headed home. AND, I found a quicker route home that Hyperdia (an online guide to Japan’s rail system) has never given me. It was slightly cheaper too. What the heck? In the meantime, I don’t think I have any 48-group related stuff on my schedule until July (my last Jabaja event) So this will be a little 48-group vacation, unless I win some theater show. I do have some Wasamin (and Minyo Girls) events coming up in two weeks, so I am looking forward to that.

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events AKB48-Group 51st Single “Jabaja” Individual Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2017/05/26)

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One of the greatest changes they made to the chara-ani handshake system was the addition of the “oshi-mashi” option. Sometimes the application period for these singles is so far in advance that a fan’s tastes and interests may have changed by the time the event finally rolls around. Case in point, one of the handshake dates for the next AKB48 single is in late October. It’s FIVE months from now. I may feel differently about the members I chose in five months. I may have started to like a new member. Moreover, for me it is a lot more fun to be able to choose a member to meet “on the day” than to send the CD and ticket back for a 1000 yen refund when a member is absent. I bring this up because there are a couple of members who have recently come under my radar who I would really like to meet. If you have read my recent posts (hint: read the posts about NGT48 and the AKB48 Theater Stage I posted earlier this week) you will know which members I am talking about. Under the old system I would have to wait for the 53rd single events (in the Fall? Winter?) to properly meet these girls.

So I had the oshi-mashi option at my disposal, and I intended to take full advantage of it. However, this raised a couple of issues. First, which of my existing tickets was I willing to give up? Second, when I reserved these tickets I had scheduled everything for the late afternoon into the evening. The problem was that one of these members was scheduled for the 9am slot only, meaning if I wanted to see her I would have to get to Makuhari Messe 4 1/2 hours earlier, and then have 3 1/2 hours of time to kill until my next ticket. I would let my body decide. So when I woke up at 5:45 this morning, I figured “Well, I’m up. Might as well get down to Makuhari extra early.

It also helped that my last Akiyoshi ticket was cancelled because all of the HKT members had to catch a plane back to Fukuoka to get ready for tomorrow’s big concert. So that was one oshi-mashi ticket. As for the other, I was deciding among my Tani, Maichan, and Zunchan tickets. Tani was an “automatic” win ticket for the prize, so I kept that one. Of the three, Zunchan was the only one who I had multiple tickets for. So it was decided. I caught a 7:45 train out of Itabashi and made it to Makuhari just after the beginning of Slot 1. Here we go…

Slot 1

Kobayashi Ran (Lane 17) This was the girl I came 4 1/2 hours early for. After Wednesday night’s show, where she made a great impression on me, I really wanted to meet her, and I didn’t want to wait until next week when her slot is mid-day. I got to her lane at 9:20, and I thought I read that the 30 minute oshi-mashi rule was waived for the draftees. My friend said it wasn’t, but they let me through. Perhaps it was because her lane was empty, or maybe they didn’t want to deal with the foreigner. But whatever. Ran-chan was waving to me from the moment I walked into her lane. However, when I got within 30 meters her expression completely changed. I hadn’t even entered the booth yet when she exclaimed “You were at the theater show!!!” She handed me her business card (the ‘gift’ given by the draftees to all visitors)

I told her what an awesome time I had at the show, her performance was great, and that I really wanted to meet her. She just kept thanking me over and over. I promised I would come back and see her next week too. The guards were pushing me out almost the entire time, but whatever. I have made contact. It was a good connection, and I will see her next week.

And with that I decided that since I still had time, I might as well do my other oshi-mashi ticket now…

 

Oguma Tsugumi (Lane 81) Technically I met Tsugumin the same day I caught her ball at the NGT event, but that was a brief, 3-second hello. I wanted to “keep the ball rollin,” so to speak and have a proper handshake with her. Her line was only a few people deep, so I only had to wait a minute or two. She greeted me with an English “Oh, hello.” Huh, had she forgotten already? So I told her that before last week I wasn’t really an NGT fan, but after catching her ball she has become my favorite member in NGT48. The cute thing was that she was repeating my Japanese back to me as I said it, as if to be sure she understood every word. Very cute.

My oshi-mashi tickets were done, and it was about 9:45. My next ticket was scheduled almost four hours later. After waving goodbye to Ranchan at the end of her slot, I ended up ‘cafe-hopping’ for 3 1/2 hours having coffee, tea, danishes, lunch. At one point I even dozed off in one of the cafes. Eventually the clock passed 1pm, so I made my way back to Halls 9-11 to begin my original handshake schedule, minus two tickets…

Slot 4

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 40) With the rest of my tickets I was now eligible for the day’s prizes. The big prize of the day were these autographed stickers, which came in different sizes. I didn’t have any tickets for those. In fact, almost all of my tickets, save for one, were for either the 2-shot selfie or the 1-shot video. With Maichan I usually run about a 50/50 chance, and on this day I won the selfie. Her line was very short, so I was in and out fairly quickly.

I asked her about leaving early today to return to Fukuoka, which she confirmed. I wished her the best of luck at the concert tomorrow, and she responded with “Ganbarimasu……oh, I love you” which seems to be the m.o. of every handshake I have with her. We used to have a lot more to talk about. I need to brush up on my Maichan knowledge.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 37) For a moment I thought this was the slot of my Zukky ticket, and almost walked into the wrong lane. Of course Zunchan’s lane was filled with signs and messages to her fans. It is sooooo cute the way she sets her lane up to give fans a different experience. I lost the lottery for a signed card, so it would just be a regular handshake. When I walked into the booth the first thing she said was “You got a haircut???” Wow, I am amazed she noticed. I acknowledged that I did indeed get a haircut, and then I “wowed” her back by saying hello to Gabriel, her stuffed frog. She was like “Yes, Gabriel! You remembered”. I told her that I love her signs because they help me practice Japanese. This made her really happy, and she told me to continue to work hard with my Japanese studying. It was at this point that I sincerely regretted doing osh-mashi with her ticket on someone else. But I have tickets for her next week, so all good.

Slot 5

Yamauchi Mizuki (Lane 36) Zukky’s line was fairly big all day, although it was slightly shorter than usual when I queued up. The good news was that I won the 1-shot video. Which one should I choose? When I was in Zunchan’s lane I noticed that Zukky looked even cuter than usual. So when I saw there was a “fashion show” option to the one-shot video, I picked it. In the meantime one of the members of her SSK committee gave me a flyer, it is very nicely done.

I also had a nice three-way view of Zunchan, Zukky, and Asai Nanami while I waited. Lots of fun watching those three working with their fans. Finally it was my turn and they handed her my video request. She looked taken aback for a quick second, and then went into full “fashion mode”

Isn’t that a cute video? I told her I selected that because I saw her outfit earlier and thought it was extremely cute. I mean Zukky looks cute regardless, but I love the twin-tails, suspenders, and the choker. Such a great combination. Anyway, this was my only Slot 5 ticket, so I had a big break, and spent part of it eating the new chili-cheese fries at one of the event food trucks.

Interestingly, the rest of my tickets were ALL automatic wins, meaning I was assured of getting the bonus prize for each one. Sad, because I want all of these members to be more popular. However, some of us noticed that there were a lot of very short lines throughout the day, and there were a lot of girls with “automatic win” that don’t normally have it. Perhaps it was because people were saving for the SSK?

Slot 6

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 44) Since I won the bonus prize in all of these slots, there was much less time for talking. Yukachan greeted me with “Yaho Kurisu!” We immediately set of for the pose and took it.

I said “You are leaving early?” She affirmed it, so I mentioned that I had tickets for the cancelled slot. I mean I could have oshi-mashi’d the ticket here with her, or even next week. I simply chose not to use it that way. At any rate, I still wished her the best of luck tomorrow, and I would see her next week. Damn, I keep forgetting to mention the “Calcium Now!” thing she keeps doing on twitter.

Sakaki Miyu [Cuca] (Lane 71) When I met with Cuca two weeks ago I lamented that I didn’t have enough to talk to her about, so winning the prize here alleviated that a bit. I actually had a choice between the video or the selfie, but seeing I was going to have four selfies and 2 videos, I chose the video to ‘even things out.’ Moreover, last time I had the video prize with Cuca I cut off the first couple of seconds of the video. I wouldn’t be making that mistake again.

Frankly, most of the video script choices they offered were kinda lame. This was the only other one I really liked. Other people said they kinda liked the Janken one as well. Anyway, after the video I quickly thanked her and was on my way.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 96) It wasn’t even 30-minutes into Slot 6 and I was already on to my 3rd ticket. Once again, this was an automatic win. However, none of these video scripts fit Kaotan’s personality at all. I decided to pick the fashion show again, not that I thought she would do it, but that I thought it would give her a good opportunity to improvise. In fact, when she looked at the sheet she surprisingly said “Fashion?” I told her to just do anything she wants. And keep in mind that the videos are supposed to last at the most 10-15 seconds…

Holy Moly! A 62-second ramble that covered pretty much anything she wanted to talk about, and she DID do a fashion show of sorts. Of course she took an opportunity to hustle me for Sousenkyo votes. And by the way, 62 seconds!!!!! These videos are supposed to be like 10 seconds or so. THIS is just one of the many reasons why Kaotan is an awesome girl to visit and be a fan of. She really takes care of her fans. But that’s not all…


Your choice of video scripts.

As I was leaving, Kaotan just happened to mention to me that she saw photos of me on the Wasamin Bus Tour. Huh??? After I got over my initial shock I laughed and said “Yes, the bus tour was a lot of fun.” And then I mentioned I would see her in the next slot for the selfie. It’s a good thing, since I wanted to clarify which photos she saw.

Slot 7

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 96) After an 90 minute wait, during which time I saw Yuasa and another staff member head out to the food/smoking area to check something out, I came back in a little early and pre-queued for Kaotan. There was nobody there, so I was first in line. When I checked in, for some reason the girl didn’t give me the 2-shot paper. At first I thought this was because everyone won. But when I saw the guy behind me get one, I went back and questioned them. They said they thought I didn’t want it. Funny, they never asked me. Interestingly, most of the queues were extremely short. Kaotan’s lane had just me and one other guy. Obamina’s lane was completely empty. In fact, when she finally came out she looked completely annoyed. It inspired a pow-wow among a bunch of members, Oba, Churi, Mikoto who seemed to be complaining that all the lines seemed oddly short. Oba kept looking down to the outside saying “Aren’t you guys coming in?” But there weren’t very many people outside either. Kaotan eventually came out. They called me into the booth, and she realized she didn’t have her footstool with her, so I had to wait a minute while she went to get it. As I set up for the selfie she kept trying to instruct me. At one point she got a little frustrated and grabbed my phone to show me, but then gave it back. I eventually set it up to her satisfaction and took the shot.


Hey, I’m getting pretty good at these selfies.

I think this is my nicest selfie of the day. Good job Kaotan. I asked her where she saw the Bus Tour photos. She said she saw them on Wasamin’s twitter, and then she saw a couple more in the responses (One fan took a couple of shots of me picking tea, so I think those are the photos she meant, as well as the group shot) She asked why I wanted to know, and I told her because I also posted Bus Tour photos on twitter. She responded with something I didn’t catch, but I said I would see her next week.

Tani Marika (Lane 87) When I got to Tani’s lane it was completely empty, but before I could enter four guys jumped in. I know Tani gets lonely when her line dies down, so this was good. It was just a couple minutes later that I got my turn.

It was very quick, we took the pic, I thanked Tani, and was out of there. Perhaps she wasn’t as talkative as usual, or maybe the short queues were annoying her too. It is Sousenkyo time after all.

Next week I have tickets to the Jabaja event in Yokohama, and I need to decide which ticket I am going to oshi-mash for Ranchan. I have two tickets in particular that I am thinking of, and since Mio has been a bit flakey about events lately, I will probably use hers, but we’ll see. Tomorrow I have a double dose of Nagara Group, first seeing Minyo Girls’ one-man live in Asakusa, then heading to Minowa for Wasamin’s final 4th Concert DVD release event. So no AKB48 Zenkoku event for me, but a lot of fun nonetheless.

CK in Tokyo

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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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