Posts Tagged ‘Matsumura Kaori’

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, SKE48 SKE48 National Handshake Event at Yokohama Arena (2018/03/18)

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I think I look forward to these Zenkoku handshake events even more than the individual events. Granted, you don’t get much time at all to actually talk to the members, but you DO get a chance to shake hands members that you might otherwise never meet. It’s always a crapshoot, but at just about every event there is at least one member that impresses me out of nowhere. This event was no exception.

I kinda waited until the last minute on this event. As of yesterday I had no tickets, although I knew I could purchase CDs at the venue. Ultimately I had a friend with a bunch of tickets, and he wasn’t going. So he tossed me a handful. I bought two more at the event to make seven tickets in total. I was also hoping that they would be doing make-up for Souda Sarina, who missed an individual event last year. I have been holding this ticket for almost eight months, and have not heard about any recourse. So I was somewhat disappointed when they announced they would be holding a special lane for make-ups for Ichino Narumi, and not Souda. But I digress..

I had no intention to get to the venue early, and waited until almost curtain time before I showed up. Since it was assigned seating, there was really no reason whatsoever to queue early. I got a 20th row arena level seat, dead center. It was a really nice view, well…until some tall dude with a huge head sat right in front of me. While we waited for the show to start we were entertained by a bunch of acrobats jumping around on stilts. Anyway, here is the setlist of the mini-live…

Setlist
1. Muishiki no Iro (Senbatsu)
2. Igai ni Mango (3rd gen. draftees)
3. Hanshateki Through (Love Crescendo Senbatsu)
4. Aishiteraburu! (Tani/Kaotan W-Center)
5. Madogiru Lover (I think Ichino centered this)
6. Wagamama na Nagareboshi (Eigo/Ichino)
7. Nakama no Uta (All)

The highlight of the mini-live had to be the 3rd gen. draftees. They are quite the adorable little group. They all did their personal introduction, and then performed Igai ni Mango. I could be wrong, but I don’t think they were singing live. I thought Hirata really shined on stage. And the two petite girls, Otani and Nishi, are both adorable and full of personality. Anyway, that was my first impression.

This is the first time I can think of where they did a ‘mini-live’ event at Yokohama Arena. Minarun commented during the first MC, and I absolutely agree, that it actually felt like a big concert. Granted, the arena wasn’t at capacity, but the stage and seating setup really made it feel that way.

Tani/Kaotan W-center on Aishiteraburu! Obviously that’s heaven for me, although somebody was off-key in the chorus. This one was definitely done live. Also, they didn’t make too big a deal about Ichino’s pending graduation, aside from having her out front for a couple of songs. And finally, they showed a preview of the new SKE TV show, the one where they are in a public bath. Should be interesting. Anyway, the live ended, and we had over an hour before the handshake event started. I bailed, and then returned just before doors. I wanted to use my first ticket on a “heavyweight” before the lines got too long. But who would I choose???

Matsui Jurina (Lane 1) It was between J or Dasu, and I have tickets for both of them next month. I decided to go with Jurina since the person who gave me the tickets is a Jurina fan. The queue was huge, but I was confident it would go relatively quickly. This was also when I ran into @Boma Adhi in the queue. Eventually it was my turn. Jurina started to pull the “wow, a foreigner” thing with me, but I think she remembered that she has met me before on multiple, although sporadic occasions. Anyway, I got out that the tickets I was using belonged to ….-san, and she was like “Ehhh, Uso!!!” Lucky for him, I didn’t have time to tell her that he didn’t come because he was more interested in seeing HKT today, LOL.

One other thing, they had a camera behind the lanes, and they were filming the members coming in and out of the handshake area. The girls were hamming it up for the camera, and there were many funny moments. Play-fighting, pulling faces, and other general silliness

Kamata Natsuki, Matsumoto Ckikako, Matsumura Kaori (Lane 6) Kaotan had some of the shorter queues of the day, but the lines move so fast, you can use a lot of tickets rather quickly. I had no idea what I was going to say to Kamata, so I basically introduced myself. When I got to Chikako, I reminded her of a fun experience I had with her when she was in the booth next to Mikitty a couple years ago, and she seemed to remember it. Finally, Kaotan asked me if I enjoyed the live, and how many times I would be seeing her today. LOL Kaotan, such a detective. I told her I would see her again a little later.

Inoue Ruka, Tani Marika, Goto Rara (Lane 11) I actually went to this lane before Kaotan, but then realized it wasn’t opening until 1:30. By the time I came back it had swelled to three times the size. But I actually had a while until my planned next ticket. Eventually I made it to the front. Wow, Ruka-chan, nice English!!! I expected to hear English in this booth, but not necessarily from her. She spoke quite fluently, and without much accent. It actually reminded me of my first ever encounter with Akiyoshi, which went much the same way. I told Tani that I loved her W-center, and it was the best part of the show. Finally, Rara started speaking to me in Japanese, but then switched to English midway through, LOL. I responded to her in Japanese though.

I took a break, since the lanes I planned to visit next weren’t opening for 30-45 minutes. In addition to the handshake lanes, they had the badminton setup where you could play against members. They also had a poster booth, a perfume booth, and a “costume try-on” booth (ladies only) There also seemed to be some kind of member stage, but I wasn’t interested in any of that stuff. I did go to the goods booth to pick up a Tani ticket holder, since she has been bitching at me for months to buy Tani gear to wear at the events. To my surprise, Mizuno Airi was working the goods booth. They had a special line if you wanted her to serve you. Frankly I wasn’t too interested in meeting her, and I wasn’t going to buy her goods, so I went for the shorter queue. She is cute up close, though. It finally approached 3pm, and I was pretty sure what lanes I would be visiting for the rest of the day…

Sugawara Maya, Nakamoto Izumi, Matsumura Kaori (Lane 6) Back to visit Kaotan, but with a different supporting cast of characters. Tani caught me in this lane as she was passing to go backstage, and gave me a nice wave. Meanwhile, I could see Kaotan and her crew entering since they were on camera. Kaotan was wearing pink Crocs (Tani was too!) Sugawara started introducing herself, but I explained to her that I was friends with …-san, who she knows. “Wow, really?” For Izumi, I had nothing, so I basically introduced myself. And then I asked Kaotan about her shoes. She told me not to tell anyone, but then I asked if they were comfortable. She laughed and said yes as I was pushed out.

3rd Generation Draft Members (Lane 12) I was really impressed with them during the live, so I made a point to save a ticket to meet them. During the live, I had earmarked Hirata Shiina as possibly my favorite, with Nishi Marina a close second. But I also thought Otani Yuuki was really cute. I actually lined up very early for this lane, and it was a good thing, since by the time the lane opened the queue had almost swelled to “Jurina-level.” Not a complete surprise, since it seemed like most everyone has been charmed by the new draftees. Since I had never met any of them before, and they are so new, I spent my time in the queue memorizing their names. It’s nice that they all have a different look, which made it easy. So as I stood in front of all of them, I made a point of saying their names. (Although they were ultimately wearing badges, so my memorizing was kind of pointless) Anyway, saying their names got a lot of good reactions.Kouzuma Honoka was first, and I stumbled on her name, but I knew Otani, who was very genki and cute. Perhaps the best reaction I got though was from Nakano Airi. For some reason they kinda forgot about me for a few seconds, which gave me a bit of time to talk to her. I told her that I enjoyed watching them all perform, and she said my Japanese was very good. Finally I got good reactions from Nishi and Hirata, especially when I told Hirata that she was my favorite new member.

Obata Yuna, Tani Marika, Nomura Miyo (Lane 11) Again Tani had a very big line, although I’m sure sharing a lane with Obata had a lot to do with it. I had removed my Kaotan ticket holder, and replaced it with Tani. I was ready! Obata was first, and I pretty much said the same thing I told her the first time I met her, that I adore her smile. Actually, I do have a lot more I would like to say to her, but it would take a normal handshake ticket to convey it. Perhaps that’s something I will plan for the future. I held up my ticket holder, “I bought it!!!” Tani had already noticed it, and was gesturing toward my chest as I said it, then she raised her hand and gave me a high-five. I had nothing for Miyo, so she just said thank you for coming, basic stuff.

I had one last ticket. I was pretty sure I knew who I was going to use it on, but then I noticed another lane that looked interesting. Lane 8 had Sato Kaho, Furuhata Nao, and Fukushi Nao. I really want to meet Kaho, and have a ticket for her next month. There was also Dasu’s lane, but she had just gone on an extended dinner break. Ultimately I went with the original plan…

Hidaka Yuzuki, Nojima Kano, Aoki Shiori (Lane 4) I always try to meet Yuzuki at the Zenkoku events. Plus, I like Aoki, and I don’t remember ever meeting Nojima before. So it was decided. It was a very short queue, and the three of them were on the big screens as they entered into the handshake area. Yuzuki was making faces at the camera. But we had to wait for Shiori who was late coming out. Yuzuki gave me a big osashiburi!!! I asked her how she was, and told her I enjoyed watching her onstage. I basically introduced myself to Nojima, and said osashiburi to “Shiori-chan” For some reason “Shiori-chan” got a laugh out of her. She then pointed to my ticket holder and asked if I oshi’d Tani. I didn’t have any time to explain it, so I just said yes. [hehe]

And that was it, I made a beeline back to Shin-Yokohama Station and headed back to Tokyo. SKE will be doing an entire weekend of handshake events in Saitama next month. I am going to the Saturday event only, since that Sunday I have the HKT Shamekai event, AND a Wasamin cheki event. So that’s going to be a busy weekend.

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

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

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

Slot 2

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

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

Slot 3

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

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

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

Slot 4

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

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

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

Slot 5

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

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

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

Slot 6/7

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

CK in Tokyo

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

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

SLOT 2

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

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

 

SLOT 3

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

 

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

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

 

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

SLOT 4

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

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

 

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

SLOT 6

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

SLOT 7

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

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

———————————————————————————————–

Prizes

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

Recipe Bonus

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

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

 

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Events, HKT48, New Release, NMB48, SKE48 AKB48-Group 49th Single #Sukinanda Individual Handshake Event @Makuhari Messe. 2017/10/15

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This was the first Tokyo weekend for AKB48’s 49th single handshake events. Since I usually don’t attend both days of a 2 consecutive day event, I chose Sunday, hoping that if Wasamin held an event this weekend, it would be on Saturday. Luckily I was invited to go on a very cool excursion to Kamakura on Saturday, where I got to spend the evening in a famous Japanese Minka and participate in a traditional tea ceremony. So it all worked out…kinda. Wasamin did end up scheduling an event on Sunday. Oh well, can’t win em’ all. I had a lot of tickets for Sunday, so I wasn’t going to bail on this event. Not to mention, Wasamin’s event was for a concert DVD preorder, so one less copy of the DVD/Blu-Ray I have to buy. LOL.

Today’s event was filled with thrills and unexpected surprises, beginning with first thing this morning. I was lounging around my apartment, waiting to get ready to leave, when I decided to check the AKB48 Blog to see what halls the event was in. And since I was checking the site, I might as well see which lanes I will be visiting. This is when I noticed that there was a change in the schedule, and one of the members I had Slot 6 tickets for had been switched to Slot 1. SHIT! I never got an email about this, and I don’t read every single 48-group blog post. I rushed to get ready, and out of the house as fast as I could. It was still early enough that I could make it to Slot 1 if I hurried. I arrived at Kaihimmakuhari Station 28 minutes before the lanes would close. 10 minutes later I was getting my tickets stamped. There was no line, so that went quickly. I was all good. Still had 12 minutes to go, I was even able to loop the line…

SLOT ONE

Sakaki Miyu <CUCA> (Lane 13) So I made it in time for my two CUCA tickets, and per usual she didn’t really have a line. Although the good news was her line was a bit busier than last single. The 49th single has various prizes you can win for each lane and slot. For Cuca the prize was a choice of 2-shot Selfie, or 1-shot video. She was also an “automatic win” lane, which was no surprise. I opted to do one of each. Unfortunately, I was so unraveled from rushing around I screwed up both the selfie and the video. I’m just really bad at taking selfies, and my phone was not registering my slightly sweaty finger. In both cases I asked the lane staff if I could do it over, but they were dicks and said no. Oh well. Here are the remnants of my pics…

There is actually more to that pic, but I look so stupid in it, so I mercifully cut myself out. Oh, and I’m so bummed that I cut off the part of the video where she said my name! Anyway, CUCA was a sweetheart as usual. I did quickly ask her if she was having fun being in STU, and of course she said yes. I would love to see her get more popular, but alas, she seems as if she is destined to be an STU Theater girl. That is, if they ever do get a theater.

SLOT TWO

Between slots I ran into Matto outside the NMB lanes. We briefly chatted about our game plans for the day before we headed to our respective lanes.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 41) I was really excited to see Yuka, since it had probably been at least 2-3 months since I last visited her. She even gave me an ‘osashiburi’ when I came in, which I felt really bad about. By the way, she was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood…

 

The prize for this slot was an autographed photo, which I didn’t win, so I just got a handshake. After we established that she was LRRH, I told her I was the ‘Big Bad Wolf’. Hurr hurr hurr, bad joke, I know. But since this is Japan, I doubt she had heard that too many times. I would have another chance to talk to her later.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 36) I had already seen that Maichan was wearing some sorta gothic nun outfit, which was damn hawt. Her line was pretty short, and whadd’ya know, I won the prize, which was the 2-shot/1-shot choice. Once again, i am really bad at selfies, so I chose the video…

Just a quick handshake and hello, and I told her I would see her later, although that turned out to be a lie.  But it wasn’t entirely my fault. I had over an hour until Slot 3, so I decided to head upstairs and get some lunch.

SLOT THREE

As I was trying to decide which lane to queue up for first, I ran into my friend Wayne, who is a fan from Hong Kong. I was glad to see Wayne made it back to Tokyo, since earlier this year he lost all of his IDs and missed a whole bunch of events while he waited to get new ones. Wayne recommended doing any lanes with Halloween Cards last, since they seem to take the longest. I took his advice and went to meet a member I have not seen in a VERY LONG time…

Ichikawa Miori (Lane 20) I was trying to remember the last time I met with Miorin, and I am pretty sure it was around the time OKL48 came out, since I remember her wearing that outfit at the event. So five years ago, right? Jeez! I wasn’t sure if she would remember me, since I used to see her quite a bit. I didn’t win the prize, which again was the 2-shot/1-shot choice. I would have to come up with something to talk about. Oh, Miorin was dressed as a cat…

 

Suffice it to say, there were many “nyan nyan”‘s being said by the both of us. Since I hadn’t seen her in a while, I mentioned that I think she looks really cute with short hair, to which she gave me a thankful “nyan” We will see if I can re-establish a bit of a connection with her, since I do have tickets for her in November, and I think I won tickets for Miorin for the 50th single too.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 85 72) When I was deciding on which lane to enter, they announced that Zunchan would be moved to a different lane due to the huge line to see Goto Moe. I didn’t know Moe was that popular, but her line was indeed huge when I went over there. In the meantime, Zunchan’s line was pretty huge too. I had lots of time though, so I entered the queue to sign in. The problem was that the line was barely moving. Like my friend said, this was a Halloween Card slot, and the cards were not too difficult to win, so Zunchan was spending a long time with each person. However, that wasn’t too big a problem, for a very interesting reason. You see, Zunchan was in the lane right next to Sato Kaho

First of all, Sato Kaho is soooo cute. I was watching her interact with her fans. She is great! Awesome smile, great energy. And then there was her outfit. She was wearing this cute top, but it was kinda loose. And every time she leaned forward to sign the cards, she was giving pretty much everyone a ‘show’ (if you know what I mean) I’m sure she had something on underneath, I wasn’t close enough to tell. But it was enough to give nosebleeds to pretty much every guy in her queue. I need to get a ticket for her ASAP! But back to Zunchan…

 

The moment Zunchan saw me she exclaimed “KITA!!!” I have seen her so many times at the theater, so it was nice to get to talk to her for a minute. Zunchan was also tasked with explaining to me how the ‘Halloween Trump’ game was played, since I had never played it before. I wasn’t getting it at first, but after her third try, it finally clicked. LOL. And I WON! I apologized to Zunchan and the guard for my denseness, but they were both cool about it. I told her I would see her later.

As I left I noticed Zunchan’s queue was still really big, and the Slot was almost over. This would become a big issue later…

SLOT FOUR

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 41) I queued up for Yukachan a little early, and ended up being 5th in line. Since this was a Halloween Card slot, this was a good tactic. I won the card too, so I would have a little more time to talk with her while she signed it…


And if you are wondering what the back of the card looks like

I told her I had been reading her Twitter, and that her interactions with Sasshi are great! I also mentioned that some of my friends who like Sasshi are also now reading her Twitter. It was good to briefly catch up with Yukachan, and she also drew a cute little Onigiri-chan on the card.

Yamane Suzuha (Lane 85) Zunchan was back in her original lane, which was on the right side of the hall.  This side of the venue was mainly AKB, NGT, and the Special Stages. I went to queue up, except her sign was down. Had she fallen ill? Then I noticed that she was in her booth, and she had a huge queue. It turned out she was still finishing her Slot 3 tickets. Uh oh, this could be a problem. Depending on how late they open this lane for Slot 4, it could really mess with my Slot 5 tickets. I hung around close to the entrance for over 30 minutes, waiting for my chance to jump in since there didn’t seem to be any organized queue. Eventually they opened the gate, and people jammed in from every direction. I made it in around 25th, which wasn’t too bad. With around 15 minutes left in Slot 4, she finally finished Slot 3. She promised she would take a super short break, and ran off. Oh, and she was dressed as a little devil, with all sorts of Halloween decorations and messages all over her booth.

 

True to her word, she was back in less than five minutes. This was a signed photo slot, which I didn’t win, but it promised to be relatively faster. Around 15 minutes into Slot 5, I finally got my turn. Again, she greeted me with “KITA” So I mentioned that I have seen four Kenkyuusei Stages in the past few months. She replied. “Yes, you have come to many!” I even got front row last time! I told her that I love watching the 16th gen, and I enjoy cheering for her. She thanked me, in English, and I was off. I rushed back over to the other side of the hall to hopefully use my Slot 5 tickets, briefly stopping to say hello to my friend Panda, who was also lamenting about the long queues and the amount of tickets he wasn’t getting to use…

SLOT FIVE

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 47) Initially I figured I would be in Kaotan’s lane last, but her line wasn’t too long, and the lane for my other ticket (Maichan again) was HUGE. So I went with Kaotan first. While in the queue, I changed out of my Akiyoshi accoutrement, and into my Kaotan gear. Although her line was short, it was extremely slow since Kaotan ALWAYS takes her sweet time with her fans. Not to mention this was another Halloween Card lane. Eventually it was my turn. Kaotan turned over a Queen. Of course I guessed lower, and she turned over a King. Jeez! Even Kaotan was pissed. Pissed enough to say “Screw it, I’m signing the card for you anyway!!!”

 

I had noticed that while I was in line there were a lot of children in Kaotan’s queue. I had never seen so many kids in a member queue before. Although to be honest, I am rarely in the most popular member lanes. So I had commented to her that she must be really popular with children. At first she was slightly confused by what I was getting at, but I thought I had said it in clear Japanese. So she got it. She was like, OH, you mean all the kids that were here. I had another ticket for Kaotan in the next slot, so I would be right back.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 36) I went back over to Maichan’s lane, and it was even bigger than before. Now this could be a major issue. There was only like 35 minutes until the beginning of Slot 6, and if this lane goes long it could screw up my tickets for that slot. I mentioned to the guy standing next to me that the line was so much longer than earlier, and he told me that her Slot 4 (With the Halloween cards of course) ran really long, and Slot 5 was just starting, which is why the queue was so big. In the meantime, he must have been from her Seitensei committee since he gave me this…

 

So I weighed my options. Of the three tickets I had left, which do I want to use the most. I had a Tani ticket, who I hadn’t seen yet. I also had my second Kaotan ticket. I had already won the video with Maichan earlier, plus I get tickets for her at every event. So I decided to blow this ticket off for now, and instead use it later as an oshi-mashi. Sorry Maichan. :(

SLOT SIX

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 47) They hadn’t opened Kaotan’s queue yet, so I decided to hang around and hopefully be one of the first in line. In the meantime, I struck up a conversation with another Kaotan fan, who was really cool. He was asking me all sorts of questions about how I came to be a a Kaotan fan. I told him my infamous story from five years ago when she, Mikitty, and Makiko all ganged up on me one day, and as a result I instantly became a fan of she and Mikitty. He also kept grilling me on who I liked more between Kaotan and Yukachan, but I kept insisting it was a tie. And in any case, my OSHIMEN is Wasamin. Eventually the gate opened, and I was second in, but the guy in front of me changed his mind, so I ended up being first. Oh, and I won the prize, a signed photo. Kaotan finally finished her Slot 5 people, and went to take a break. While waiting I checked Tani’s lane, which was a few rows down. It wasn’t too long, so I wouldn’t have a problem using my tickets. Kaotan took her sweet time, so my new Kaotan-buddy and I were just commenting the members in nearby lanes, including Suda Akari, who came walking by. Kaotan finally made it back. Kaotan was excited to see that I won the photo, and started to sign it. Just then…

Jurina comes walking by behind Kaotan. She sees me, and stops dead in her tracks. With this huge smile on her face, she begins mouthing “Hello”, just totally flirting. Meanwhile Kaotan was totally oblivious, even though at one point I think I said “Oh, Jurina” She didn’t notice. Kaotan kept asking me questions, but I was half listening. Jurina has to be one of the biggest, and most shameless fishers I have ever encountered in the 48-groups, LOL

 

I eventually asked her about the T-shirt she recently tweeted about. One of her fans had one on. It has baby pictures of her, Dasu, and Goto Risako. The baby picture of Kaotan is really cute too, and you can totally tell its her. As usual, she asked me when she would see me again. I told her November, so she was good to go.

Tani Marika (Lane 44) Finally, a chance to see Tani, and I really wanted to win the 1-shot video. Lo and behold, I did. COOL! I entered the booth, and the first thing Marika notices is the Kaotan gear that I ‘forgot’ to take off. Oops. I had a funny feeling that she might play this into the video, but she played it fairly straight. Well…fairly straight for Tani…

Of course once the video was over, she was back to her jealous rage about me wearing Kaotan gear. I tried to tell her that I love her too, but she wasn’t buying it, basically calling Bullshit on me and telling me that I should be wearing Tani gear next time. I can make that happen, although I generally don’t like being “that guy.” You know, the guy that changes his outfit every time he goes to a different lane. But I can make an exception for Marika, since I know she wants me to.

So now there was this matter of what I would do with my Fuchigami Mai ticket. There weren’t very many “starred” lanes. although Tani and Kaotan were both available. I already felt ‘complete for the day’ with Kaori-chan, although I could go another round with Marika to try to convince her of my love for her. But I would first check to see if any other member caught my eye. I scanned the lanes as I headed back to the other side of the venue. Miichan had a very short queue, but I didn’t really have anything to say to her. Same with Myao, Chiichan, Mogi, and Shinozaki. Then there was Chori, who I do like visiting, although her line was pretty long. I was about to go to that lane, but then I found it. The member I wanted to talk to. I met her for the first time earlier this year, but she was really nice, and I wanted to see her again…

Oomori Miyuu (Lane 100) I met Miyupon for the first time at a National Handshake event this past Summer. She ended up being one of my top handshakes of the day. She was really genki, and fun. So yeah, she was perfect. She did have a semi-long line, but it wasn’t too bad. So i decided to go for it. I wasn’t in line for more than a couple minutes when her Setensei committee gave me a gift.

 

Perfect, it was really hot in this corner of the venue, so I immediately made very good use of the uchiwa. Eventually it was my turn. I wasn’t expecting it, but it seemed like Miyupon did remember me from before right off the bat. As I related the story about meeting her over the Summer, she got this look of satisfaction on her face, and thanked me in English as I was being pushed out. She tossed in an “I LOVE YOU” at the very end too for good measure. I could also hear her talking with the next fan about me as I was gathering my bag. LOL. Here is what she was dressed in. I fished this pic off of twitter.

 

And with that, I called it a day. And if we want to tally the scorecard, I won 8 of the 12 prizes. Well, 7 if you count that I actually did lose the first time with Kaotan, she just vetoed the loss. And technically, I never got a chance to draw for the second Maichan ticket. Interestingly, I had the worst luck with the signed photos, as they accounted for 3 of my 4 non-wins.

1-shot/2-shot: 4 of 5
Halloween card: 3 of 3
Signed Pic: 1 of 4

It had been a while since I had done a marathon handshake event like that, and my feet were really sore. I couldn’t wait to get home a take a good soak. I do have tickets for both of the early November events. Pretty much all of the same members as today, plus a Bibian ticket. I also have a ticket for Takahashi Ayane from Team 8, but I may oshi-mashi that one as I am not as big of fan of her as I thought I might be at the time I bought it. We’ll see.

 

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Iwasa Misaki, SKE48 AKB48 Kuchibiru ni Be My Baby Handshake Event at Makuhari Messe (2016/02/21)

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So this was the first handshake event for the 42nd single, and the only one anywhere near the release date. The rest of the events aren’t going on until the late Spring. This is also the first time we were all going to experience the interview/photo-op event within the handshake event. I had one ticket for that. Well, actually I had two. But I was able to cancel one because of Chara-Ani’s mixup regarding Wasamin’s schedule. About that…

Today was also NagaraPro’s Enka Matsuri’s Tokyo tour date. So my oshimen wasn’t even at the event. I probably wouldn’t have even gone to this event if it wasn’t for the screwup on the part of King Records and Chara-ani. By the time I had figured out that the dates conflicted I had already purchased a bunch of tickets for this handshake event. This is why I ended up going to the Nagoya leg of the Enka Matsuri tour instead. Of course I still had a ticket for Wasamin’s cheki event later in the evening. The question was would I blow off my last three tickets in order to see Wasamin?

I got to Makuhari around 11:50, 10 minutes before slot 3. I had time to slip in my first handshake before the interview/event I had scheduled…

 

tani

Tani Marika (Slot 3)
To be honest I am slightly worried about Tani. It seemed like when she debuted with SKE she was really on a roll. But now it doesn’t seem like they are utilizing her nearly as much anymore. It makes me wonder if she might be getting discouraged. Also her lines at these events are never really that big. Marika was late as usual, but it was probably a three minute wait.

Marika: (Sees me coming in) Whoah, thank you!
Me; You look nice today. Very cute.
Marika: Yes I am genki
Me: Last week I was worried about you.
Marika: I was fine!
Me: But you were coughing. (As I am being pushed out)
Marika: Thank you, mata ne!

Yes, she was much more genki than last week. And she caused much more of a commotion when I entered. In fact she moved all the way across the partition to follow me as I was being pushed out. I had another Marika ticket scheduled a little later…

Interview Slot D-8 (Slot 3) Yakata Miki and Yamada Juna
Okay this was the event that became the source of a bit of controversy a few months ago. To me all of that was complete nonsense, mainly perpetuated by a bunch of troublemakers who probably weren’t even going to the events anyway. Most people got these tickets to see the members they like. The idea of cosplay was a nice bonus, but it is the member that makes the event interesting. What they are wearing is completely secondary. I mean if Wasamin was doing this event would it matter to me what she wore? I just want to see her, right?

Here’s the rundown: 20 minutes before your event starts (after the previous one has ended) they call your group in. As you hand in your ticket you draw a seating ticket that determines your place in line. Each event could accommodate up to 300 people. I drew #67. However there were ultimately only 25 people at this particular event slot. So my #67 was really more like #16. It was good enough to be seated 2nd row just right of center.

The members came in an introduced themselves. Then it was time for the 1-minute photo session. 20 seconds each facing right, center, and then left. You could ask for poses, and I guess you could also record the session. Once the bell rang the photo session was over and it was time for Q&A from the fans.

enoshimamiki 147enoshimamiki 148enoshimamiki 151enoshimamiki 153

It as eight minutes, so there was really only time for 4 questions. I don’t remember the first question. The second one had something to do with good handshake experiences and tips. The third person asked them to describe what they liked about one another. Finally the last question was about their signature items at the SKE Cafe.

Anyway, if you ever saw the Densha Otoko TV Series and remember the interview/photo-op with “Karin-chan”, that was pretty much exactly what this was like. It wasn’t “Oh my god, awesome!”, but it was something fun and different to do. Perhaps they could do it like once a year to change things up.

It was now time for Slot 4. By the way, they really had the lanes set up in an odd configuration. There was not a lot of walking, or queueing room. It made getting around certain parts of the venue extremely difficult. That said, I was very excited about my next handshake…

 

vivian

Murakawa Vivian (Slot 4)
So I had made a commitment to myself to visit with more HKT members. One member I have been really wanting to meet was Tomiyoshi. The other is Akiyoshi Yuka. So it was odd that when it came down to it that I chose the Vivian ticket instead of Akiyoshi. But there was something drawing me to her. Her queue wasn’t too long, and she was right next to Chihiro and Meru. Which reminds me…

****So there was a conversation recently on this forum about Tashima Meru “flopping” at handshakes. It is ironic that I would have a front row seat to her 4th slot. She had a decent sized line. Not the biggest, but it was definitely busy. She looked very energetic, always smiling, listening her fans. The people were leaving with smiles on their faces. So as a result of my “investigation”, those rumors are false. Back to Vivian…

I get to the front of the line. Vivian takes one look at me and completely lights up. Huge smile, mouth wide open.

Vivian: Oh Hello!
Me: Hajimemashite Vivian-chan!
Vivian: Is Japanese OK?
Me: Yes it is ok
(It really didn’t matter because I had prepared what I wanted to say to her anyway…)
Vivian: Ah, hajimemashite…okay
Me: I watched you on Odekake…
Vivian: Really? thank you!
Me: I loved your smile. I really wanted to meet you!
Vivian: Whoah, thank you! (As I am being pushed out)
Me: I will come see you again.

The way she smiled so widely, bounced around and was genuinely excited, it was totally a Kami-handshake experience. I really want to talk to her again. This also put great pressure on Tomiyoshi (unbeknownst to her) since I was also going to meet her for the first time. If my experience isn’t close to this one I may be switching favorite HKT members very quickly…

Yokoyama Yui (Slot 4)
To be honest I really don’t get excited about seeing Yui anymore. It’s one of those things. There are memberI would ratheree, but I have been going to see Yui for so long that I feel bad if I don’t get a ticket for her. Her line was much longer than 2 weeks ago at the Shamekai event. Her lane was also shoved back into one of these two weird corners that were extremely difficult to get in and out of. But I braved the mess. I didn’t know what to say to her, I finally decided at the last minute…

Me: Sokantoko-chan!
Yui: Ah, hello again!
Me: How about Yuihan’s new train station billboard?
Yui: Yes, I have seen them (She also said the name of the product, I forget what it is for but it features Yui laying on some sort of bed or couch)
Me: You look so cute on them
Yui: Thank you.
Me: And they are so big…huge!
Yui: (laughing)
Me: Bye Bye (As I get pushed out)


Medium sized version at Sugamo Station. I have seen a couple that are at least 4x the size of this one.

The jury is out on whether I will get more Yui tickets in the future. Don’t get me wrong, she is very nice and always has been. It’s just that she is too normal for me. I need my idols to be slightly more quirky.

I had an hour to kill before slot 5. I originally intended to go upstairs and have lunch. But I ended up running into Shining Ojisan (an old time fan. I forget who his original oshmen was, but he graduated when Hayano Kaoru left the group) and he introduced me to one of the original AKB fans. He was an older guy, and a huge Kojiharu oshi. We ended up talking for the hour. This was also the first time Shining had purchased a ticket in a very long time (like over 2 years). He had one Honda Hitomi ticket. Apparently he is getting into Team 8.

 

miki

Yakata Miki <4 tickets> (Slot 5)
I had promised Mikitty I would be spending a lot of time with her in this slot. Although I ended up looping the line 4 times, it was like one continuous conversation. Mikitty sees me coming down the lane and immediately the tension starts…

Miki: There you are!
Me: Hello Mikitty-chan, that was fun!
Miki: Did you get some good pictures? (referring to the photo-op event)
Me: Yes, I got many good pictures.
Miki: Yatta!
Me: What is this M.K. burger you were talking about? (once again, referring to the earlier event)
Miki: It is delicious!!
Me: Yes, but what is it?
Miki: Eat it!
(in the meantime I went out and looked up the burger on the cafe website before looping back around)
Miki: Hello Chris!
Me: So ithe M.K. Burger has pineapple on it?
Miki: Yes, pineapple!
Me: So it’s like a Hawaiian burger?
Miki: Yes, Hawaiian burger yes!!!
Me: What kind of sauce
Miki: Hmmm…
Me: Is it teriyaki sauce?
Miki: Ummm…. (as I am getting pushed out)
Me: Okay, I will eat it.
Miki: Thank you Chris!
(switching gears, don’t want to make it all about food…)
Me: Did you have fun at the live concert yesterday?
Miki: Yes, it was a good concert.
Me: I applied, but I didn’t win.
Miki: Oh…
Me: Did you sing Finland Miracle?
Miki: NO! I didn’t get to sing it…
Me: But I LOVE Finland Miracle!
(Looping around for my final Mikitty ticket I was running out of things I wanted to say to her)
Me: So next week SKE is here at Makuhari
Miki: Yes…
Me: Are you coming? (I actually already knew she was)
Miki: To the National Event?
Me: Yes
Miki: I don’t know. I think I might be. Are you coming?
Me: Yes. See you next week!
Miki: Great! Thank you Chris! (As I get pushed out one last time. But before that I get the infamous…)
Miki: Chris Thank you!!! I want you!!! I need you!!!

Good tiems with Mikitty as always…

Tani Marika (Slot 5)
One last Tani ticket for the day and then I really needed to find lunch. Her line was jus emptying out when I got to the lane, so Marika excused herself to take a short break. I stood there waiting for less than five minutes. She saw me before she even got back into the booth…

Tani: Ahh, you are back.
Me: Yes.
Tani: Thank you!
Me: I love Tani’s apartment!
Tani: (laughing)
Me: It is so cute! (I’m laughing)
(at this point Marika started talking very animatedly and quickly so I didn’t get any of what she said. But it was classic Tani)
Me: I want to help Tani. See you next week! (as I get pushed out)

After a quick lunch break I was back for Slot 6. This was going to be my final slot of this event. I would lead off with my other HKT member…

 

asuka

Tomiyoshi Asuka (Slot 6)
Another first time meeting I was excited about. I almost got tickets to see her a year ago, but decided to economize and skipped her, instead going with Goto Izumi. Since Iichan graduated I have sorta considered Asuka my favorite HKT member. Not ever meeting her though, made me less than confident with designating her that way. Tomiyoshi’s queue was hidden behind a speaker, right next to Kojiharu. I could see that cute smile of hers all the way down the lane

Asuka: Konnichiwa
Me: Hajimemashite, I have always wanted to meet you!
Asuka: Arigatou.
Me: I went to the concert in Nagoya, and thought you were great!
Asuka: Oooh, Arigatou!
Me: I will be cheering for you in Tokyo this week. (As I am getting pushed out)

She’s adorable, but I think she was at a loss for words for what to say to me. That happens sometimes, especially in a first time handshake. On the other hand, I mut admit that I am a lot more excited about seeing Vivian again than I am to see Tomiyoshi. I do have another ticket for Asuka in March, so we will see if a little familiarity helps.

As I was walking over for my next ticket I hear my name being called. The Nakky committee is calling me over…

Me: “Hey, Nakky Fever!”
Nakky Fans: Aren’t you supposed to be over at Tokyo International Forum?
Me: Yes, I am leaving after this last handshake with Kaotan.
Nakky Fans: Ah, Kaotan (They all immediately start laughing)
Me: I saw Enka Matsuri in Nagoya.
Nakky Fans: You did?
Me: Hai! I have to get to Tokyo by 7pm. Wasamin event is #1 most important to me! (I show them the Wasamin cheki tickets)
Nakky Fans: Of course!
Me: Where is Frank?
Nakky Fans: He is in the queue.
Me: Minna-san do your best today! (as I point over to Nakky’s lane)

 

kaori

Matsumura Kaori (Slot 6)
I would get this ticket done, then I would head back to Tokyo. It would give me plenty of time to make it to the Wasamin cheki event. Kaotan’s line was huge. It was bigger than I had ever seen it. Usually it is long past the check-in point, but today she even had a queue to check in. No matter, I had plenty of time…

Me: Hey NICE GIRL!
Kaotan: Oh yeah, NICE GUY!
Me: Kaotan Daisuki! Your handshakes are the most fun!
Kaotan: Thank you! (She begins pulling me tightly over to her)
Kaotan: I have autographed my card for you before, right?
Me: Yes, I have one!
Kaotan: Yes. I will see you again?
Me: I will see you next week.
Kaotan: Oh, thank you!!!

Kaotan: I LOVE YOU!!!
Me: I love YOU!!!

I felt slightly sheepish because she didn’t know I was about to blow off a ticket for her in the next slot. However, I have plenty of tickets for her next week and next month. So no biggie. I was also about to eat tickets for Chori and Tanamin. It would have been my first time talking to Chori too. Oh well, will have to be another time. And Tanamin…after she was waving at me so enthusiastically last week when she saw me in the Wasaqueue…:( What can you do?

I ran into @naruse and Pandadash as I was on my way out. They were queueing for the Nako/Miku interview/photo-op slot. :p I caught the express from Makuhari back to Tokyo, and found special exit that takes you directly to the Tokyo International Forum (and allows you to skip that never-ending trek back into Tokyo Station. Anyone who has caught the JR Keiyo Line back to Tokyo from Makuhari (or Disneyland) knows exactly what I am talking about.

Iwasa Misaki (Slot-Tokyo)
I entered the venue and was looking for the washroom when I found the queue. It was a big line, and all of a sudden I am hearing a chorus of “Chris-san!” “Chris-san!” The guy running the queue says please come over and check in. I’m like, yeah but I need use the toilet first! The funny thing was the men’s room was right next to Wasamin’s dressing room. So as I headed in I think Saso-san thought for a second I was going for her room or something. I was like “I just want to use the toilet” I came out a couple minutes later and I here an unfamiliar voice say “Chris-san, this way please” I’m thinking “Jeez, everyone knows me here” As I go to check in the guy is marking my name off before I even put my ID down. Although honestly it is probably easy to figure out which name is mine on the list.

I was about 60th in line. There were at least 100 people there. Eventually it was my turn. Wasamin was wearing the same Kimono she wore for the Cheki event in Nagoya, but her hair accoutrement was quite exquisite.

Wasamin: Kurisuuuu!!!!!
Me: Misaki-chaaaaan! You have bling-bling! (pointing to her hair)
Wasamin: Nani???
(Ichikawa-san, Wasamin’s manager is laughing as she knows exactly what I am talking about)
Me: (pointing directly to the decoration) This! Bling-bling! Kawaii!
Wasamin: Ahh! (laughing) Kawaii!! Chris-san is kawaii!
Me: I just arrived here, I am sorry I missed the concert.
Wasamin: You didn’t see it???
Me: No, I am sorry. :(
Wasamin: What pose do you want to do?
Me: Since I missed the concert, how about Tsundere Wasamin and crying Chris?


(and this is what happens when you miss the Wasamin concert!)

Me: It’s been so long since I have seen you!
Wasamin: What? You are leaving Tokyo?
Me: Not until April. I will see you at AKB Shamekai!
Wasamin: Okay
Me: But I want more solo events. Please have more while I am here!
Ichikawa: Okay okay!
Wasamin: We will do our best! Chris Kawaii!
Me: No, Wasamin Kawaii!

And the long day was over. Time to go have a couple of celebratory brews. I have a busy week to prepare for. Monday I am seeing FES☆TIVE in Akihabara. Tuesday and Wednesday are the HKT Tokyo shows (I got a crappy seat for Tuesday night, but my Wednesday night seat isn’t bad) Then next weekend SKE Individual handshake event AND National Handshake event. So plenty more fun with Mikitty, Tani and Kaotan. And I may try to sneak in visits with Dasu and Shibata as well.

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48 CK in Japan Spring 2015…Time For Another Whirlwind Wasamin Tour

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Hi!  Remember me?  It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?  In part that’s because I haven’t been in Japan for almost a year.  Not that I haven’t been involved in the idol world at all.  Of course there were many idol events in California over the past year like Itano Tomomi and Tokyo Girls Style in San Francisco, as well as Babymetal and Perfume in LA.  I went to all of those events.  Got all sorts of cool swag too, including a nice “5-shot” from TGS.  But this blog is mainly about my experiences traveling to Japan.  AND, these days it is primarily about supporting my oshimen Iwasa Misaki.  Or as many call her, Wasamin!
That’s why it has been so long since I have been in Japan.  I was waiting for Wasamin’s next release.  It was finally announced a couple of months ago.  Later they finally they announced her promotional tour schedule, and it’s a doozy!  Two weeks long!  In fact I had already booked my flight before the dates were announced so I missed the first two days.  But that’s okay.  There would be plenty of Wasafun once I arrive.  BTW, the single releases this Wednesday.  Check out the PV preview!
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
But before I get into Wasamin I did schedule two other AKB-related events for this trip.  The first one being the AKB48 Green Flash handshake event at Pacifico Yokohama.  I didn;t go too overboard on the tickets because…well, this was more of a bonus event for me rather than the reason I came.  But even with just 15 tickets it was a blast.  Read it and see!
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Green Flash Individual Handshake Event @ Pacifico Yokohama 2015/04/25
I can’t believe it has been almost two years since I have been to an individual handshake event. These days I usually come mainly for Wasamin’s releases, which is why I am in Japan now. I also had Labrador Retriever tickets last year, but…well, we all know what happened with that. So it was time to take a short break in the middle of two straight weeks of Wasamin solo events and see some AKB48 Group members I haven’t interacted with in quite a while.I wanted to be prepared for this event in order to minimize any awkward moments with my poor Japanese, so I stayed up all night planning the things I wanted to talk about. Took notes, made sure I had the proper verb conjugations, that kind of stuff. I headed to Yokohama early in order to avoid any hassle with the infamous “foreigner ticket stamp procedures” as well as the security. But all that proved to be much ado about nothing as the venue was relatively empty. At least in the morning. Anyway, got my tickets stamped. I was ready to go. I had a bunch of Wasamin tickets in the early slots, but I wanted to get my first handshake out of the way before she saw me. That way she wouldn’t wonder who else I was going to see…By the way, I would say about 80% of these conversations were in Japanese. I actually surprised myself that I was able to pull it off as well as I did. I was even able to comprehend questons and answer them. So perhaps my Japanese is getting a little better. Now it’s just “kinda shitty”. It did help that I “crammed for the test” the night before.

Goto Izumi (Slot 1):

 bloggotooo
 
Surprisingly, I haven’t met very many HKT members that haven’t once been in AKB. There’s Tani. Then there’s…well Tani. That’s it. And she isn’t even in HKT anymore. The only two HKT members that I am really drawn to these days are Tomiyoshi and Iichan. Since I was limiting my tickets for this event, I chose Izumi. As I approached her I got the requisite “A foreigner!” look, her smile is as beautiful as I have seen on TV. And that’s basically what I said to her. I wanted to meet her because I think she has the most wonderful smile. She was sweet, and genki, just a nice experience. I am glad I finally got to meet her.

Iwasa Misaki (Slots 1-2):

 blogwasa
 
Now I have already seen Wasamin a whole bunch this week while she is doing her preorder tour. But I actually hadn’t talked to her in person for over a year. To be honest, her personality has subtly changed since she turned 20. In fact, she has been slightly salty for the first few days. Not just to me personally, but in general. I will talk about that more when I do a Wasamin solo writeup.Wasamin seemed more genki on this day. We mainly talked about her new single, which we got to listen to in its entirety last night in Saitama. I told her last night I love all of the songs, but I said my favorite is Hatachi no Meguriai. I asked which was her favorite, figuring she would say “all of them” But she said Hatsuzake is definitely her favorite of the four. That makes sense, since that is “her” song while the others are covers. Speaking of Hatsuzake, Wasamin asked me if I drink alcohol, and which kind of drinks I like best. She guessed beer (wonder why [hehe]) But I told her I also liked Sake, and Hiballs. I also complimented her recent performances of Obayo and Koi no Hallelujah, and suggested a Request Covers 2 Album. I will need to mention that again when her manager is around. You know, plant the seed. It turns out Wasamin was actually really tired as she reported on Twitter after the event that she accidentally got on the wrong train, then fell asleep endng up way out in Zushi. I still have 14 more Wasamin events to go between now and May 2nd, so plenty more Wasa-conversation to be had. We may need to have one about not burning herself out.

Oh, and a little aside. Wasamin was next to Miichan and Kojimako. During one of my Wasamin handshakes Mako’s queue was empty, and she was watching my interaction with Wasamin. It was cute.

Tsuchiasu Mizuki (Slot 3):

 blogmizuk
 
Yes, redemption. Two years ago I went to the 15th gen debut at the theater and got to sit front row center. I had the most awesome interations with Mizuki for the entire show. It was an amazing experience. A few months later I finally got to meet her at a National Handshake Event in Iwate. I was hoping she would remember me from her first show. But I fumbled the words and completely confused her which lead to a completely awkward experience. It is NEVER good when an idol frustratedly exclaims “Nani???” at you. This time I was ready. I knew exactly what i wanted to say to her. When I got to the front of the queue Mizuki was completely excited and genki, which was a great sign! I reminded her about that fateful first show. I don’t know if she remembered or not, but she seemed to really like the story as she gave me an excited reaction. Later I told her that her that she does the best version of Kuchi Utsushi no Chocolate. Mizuki is just sooo sexy. I didn’t tell her that, but that was the underlying meaning to my compliment.

Anyway, I can finally put to bed my long frustration over a bad handshake experience with Mizuki last year. This totally made up for it.

Yokoyama Yui (Slot 4):

blogyui
 
I used to go see Yui all the time. She had even given me the nickname “California-san”, which these days she also calls @Tensai . But it had been a very long time since I had seen her. Not sure if she remembered me or not, but I quickly congratulated her on her promotion and told her I bought her new photobook. She asked what I thought if it, which I responded that I thought it was beautifully done. But There was no “California-san”, so it looks like Tensai has taken that moniker from me. :asdfgh:

The rest of my tickets were for SKE48 members. And let me tell you, these were among some of the craziest moments I have ever had at handshake events. And as usual it involved many of the same cast of characters that were involved in my last insane handshake experience back in 2013.

Yakata Miki (Slot 4):

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Mikitty and Tani are my two favorite SKE members. If you read the above spoiler I think you might understand my feelings for Miki. Not to mention this experience from last year…

Lane 9: Isohara Kyoka/Kinoshita Yukiko/Yakata Miki (x3) Saving the best for “almost” last, I have made a new best friend in SKE, and that is Mikitty! I posted about my insane experience with her back in June. http://stage48.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=113&start=5625#p716892 The moment she reacted after seeing me in the exit lane I knew I was in for a great time with her. The only problem was that for some reason I don’t really connect with Yukiko…
But it was pretty clear who I was in that queue to see. I reminded her of our exchange at Makuhari, which she remembered. She then asked me to come back through their lane. I got a big “I LOVE YOU” the 2nd time around, and the last time she asked me my name. When I answered she loudly repeated it back “Chris! Chris!” I have obviously connected with her in a major way, evidenced by her Google+ entry after the event. I didn’t even think to look, but one of her local fans found me on twitter and told me about it.https://plus.google.com/102565671074822095382/posts/VxoUmmvtJEp So yeah, Lane 9 was a huge WIN!

So I see Mikitty’s empty queue, along with every other SKE girls’ empty queue in the immediate vicinity. Such a shame. I enter the lane. Immediately Matsumoto Chikako, who was to Mikitty’s right pops up and runs into Mikitty’s lane. I can venture a guess as to what she said to her, and Miki immediately begins craning her neck around the guard to see who is coming. The moment she sees me she waves and loudly yells. “HEY! I REMEMBER YOU!!! MISTER CHRIS!!!” Now this catches Tsuzuki Rika’s attention who is next to Chikako. So now I am having a threeway experience as the two other girls are partcipating. I apologized for not seeing her in so long and that her little white hat was adorable. She thanked me as the other two girls were squeeing away. As I walked away I hear Mikitty again shouting “MISTER CHRIS!! I LOVE YOU MISTER CHRIS!! I NEED YOU MISTER CHRIS!!!” Total win, right? But it gets even better…

With a smile still firmly attached to my face, I notice the three girls’ queues are still empty. I figure I am going to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. So I head back into Miki’s queue. The first one who sees me is Rikachu, who begins jumping up and down in delight and frantically waving to me. I begin pointing back to her which resulted in the most indescribable reaction of joy. This is already hilarious. Chikako is eyeing me with this huge grin on her face. Then Mikkitty gives me a quote for the ages…

“MISTER CHRIS…YOU COME TWICE!!!”

I’m sure I don’t have to tell most of you why I found that hysterically funny. And might I add sexy. But lets keep it clean, since for Miki it was an innocent comment. And I was impressed with how much English she was actually speaking. I told her that I loved her SKE baito episode. She thanked me for watching it. Once again as I walked out the exit I can hear her still exclaiming “THANK YOU MISTER CHRIS! COME SEE ME AGAIN MISTER CHRIS”

I left wishing I had another 10 tickets for Mikitty.  Althou I’m not sure I would be able to contain myself if Mikitty said “Mister Chris, you come five times!!!”  And wait…this was not the only crazy experience I had with the SKE girls. But first…

Tani Marika (Slot 3)

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Now I have met Tani before, but it was only once and a long time ago. That said, I absolutely adore her. If it wasn’t for Wasamin, Tani would quite possibly be my oshimen right now. I get the surpised look and Tani immediately goes into her random English. I immediately chime in “Hello cute face Tani Marika, busu ja nai!” She responds. “You think I’m cute? I think you’re cute! Am I your oshimen?” Now this is a question I do not like lying over. As much as I love Marika, I cannot call her my oshimen. So instead I told her she was my favorite member in SKE. I think that satisfied her. She asked me to come see her again. not a problem as I had a ticket for her in Slot 5. As I walked away down the long exit Tani resumed the random English, filled with “Thank You” and “I love you” and what not. The nice thing was that Marika was much more interactive than before. She was actually listening to me as opposed to the old days when she would just talk at me…

Finally, Slot 5. Oh boy…

I had two tickets for my last slot of the day. One for Tani, and one for Kaotan. And they were right next to each other. This had disaster written all over it. How was I going to navigate this? Especially after my previous experiences with the both of them.

Tani Marika (Slot 5) As I walked down the lane Kaotan is with another fan, but I can see her spying me out of the corner of her eye. I head straight in for Marika and get the same excited reaction as before. I decide to tell her that I bought the AKB49 DVD. She asked if I had seen it (which I had). I told her that she and Kaotan were the best part of the show, and I purposefully said it loudly in hope that Kaotan would hear it. Anyway, Tani was happy with my response. Again, the random English. I shot backwith an obnoxious “Tani Marika…Tani Marika!” which got giggles from the people in Kaotan’s queue. I finally turned and waved at her. I had one ticket left, and I had to go prep.

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Matsumura Kaori (Slot 5) It was Kaotan. And as much as I love her, she can be intimidating as hell. But I was ready. The last time I saw her she asked “Why Why Why! do I like her?” I would begin the handshake by answering that question. The moment I walked in, Kaotan gave me her infamous crossed-arm handshake and I immediately said “Kaotan is so cool!”“Eehhh? Thank you I love you!” was her response. I then told her that I was able to buy her Matsumurabu CD and that the PV is the best. The guard begins pushing me out…

“Chotto Matte!” she says, and she tugs me back over to her. She stubbornly tells the guard that she isn’t finished with me yet. He lets go. She then grabs a pen and asks me to spell my name. I’m thinking “what the hell is this about?”. “Chris?” she asks. All of a sudden I hear my name being chirped from the right over and over.“Chris! Chris!” Tani is now part of this. The guards again begin pushing me out and Kaotan again yells at them to stop. I apologize to the guards and they both say it’s okay, and step back. It was then I knew what Kaotan was up to as I have heard about it before. She was going to give me a present. I said “Oh! Kaotan no famous business caado?” “Hai!”

Just then I hear a third voice chime in “Hello!” from the other booth next to Kaotan. I respond “Hajimemashite Narumi-chan!” Ichino responds “Oh, you know?!?!?”and smiles. By now Kaotan is done and I get my present…

 

To the guard’s relief Kaori finally lets me leave. I thank her profusely and she asks me to see her again, which reminds me I have a ticket for Kaotan at the SKE event this week too. So I tell her I will see her on Wednesday. And I leave to a chorus of “Bye Chris!” from both Tani and Kaotan.

Yeah…I love SKE48. Such awesome members!

Aside from those interaction I did have a few other interesting experiences. First with Motomura Aoi’s Seitensai committee who ambushed me to sign a birthday card for her. We had an interesting conversation about DD while I signed it. But this is already too long. They also gave me a 12Byou theater version for my troubles.

Additionally I got swept into the middle of Ikoma Rina’s farewell speech since this was her last event for AKB. I just accidentally happened to be in a good spot when she came out. But the fans were so desperate to get closer As a result I ended up getting pushed further and further away. I finally bailed when I couldn’t even see her anymore.

Oh, and they played he full PV of the new AKB single at the event on Saturday. It was excellent!

That’s all for now. It was a tiring day and afterward I had dinner with a couple of Stage48 users who shall remain nameless :D I need to do some Wasamin solo tour writeups. But first I need sleep.

 
CK in Tokyo
 
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