Posts Tagged ‘SKE48’

Events, SKE48 SKE48 22nd Single Individual Handshake Event at MetLife (Seibu) Dome, Saitama (2018/04/14)

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When they announced the handshake dates for this single, I was slightly disappointed that they jammed two Tokyo events into one weekend, instead of two different weekends. But the decision of which date to attend was easy since I had already purchased HKT48 shamekai tickets for Sunday (not to mention Wasamin’s special cheki event tomorrow, but that’s another issue) So at least I wouldn’t have to worry about filling two days of handshake tickets, and doubling up on buying theater versions. I might’ve had a couple of drinks when I applied for these handshake tickets too. I don’t remember, but I ended up with an interesting set of tickets, and not nearly the usual lineup I go for. Oh sure, I got Kaotan and Tani, as well as a ticket for Yuzuki. But then I also grabbed a few tickets for members I have never purchased tickets for, or haven’t for a long time. So it promised to be an interesting day.

Getting to Seibu Dome is a bit of a ride. I live near Saitama, but not on the side where the stadium is. As a result, I need to go down to Central Tokyo to catch the Seibu Ikebukuro Line back up to the other side of Saitama. Not to mention the stadium is on this separate line that spokes off of the main Seibu train, so it takes four transfers. The nice thing is that the train drops you right at the stadium entrance. Anyway, I made it before Slot 2 started, grabbed a quick lunch, and then headed inside.

It was neat, we were on the field. The handshake booths were set up in the middle of the field, with nothing really behind them, so you got a pretty clear view of what goes on behind the scenes, unlike at Makuhari or Pacifico. I will talk about that as we go. I had a total of nine tickets for seven members…

Slot 2

Suda Akari (Lane 3) I took a chance on getting this ticket, since my experience is that Dasu’s line is always crazy. To my surprise, it wasn’t very long at all. When I bought the tickets, I isolated my Slot 2 and 3 tickets because I thought the lines would be really long. This meant I was going to have A LOT of downtime in-between tickets. Anyway, I spent my time in the queue watching Jurina and Obamina in nearby lanes. Kumazaki Haruka was in the next lane over, and in her downtime, I caught her eye. She gave me a big smile and wave. It was finally my turn. After the hisashiburi, I asked Dasu if she was cold, and then I complimented her cool leather jacket. Dasu was her usual genki self, so it was a good experience. In fact, I have never had a bad experience with Dasu, but I only see her once in a while.


Lanes are empty since I took the pic in-between slots.

I had around 90 minutes until I needed to use my next ticket, so I went back outside. They had opened up the stands, and all of the concessions on the third base side of the field, so it ended up being the perfect place to eat, drink, and relax in between handshakes. You also had an overhead view of the entire event, which was really fun to watch, especially with the games and stuff they were offering. I ended up going over there three separate times during the day.

Lunch Slot

Ego Yuna (Lane 12) This really puzzled me. Why the heck did I get an Ego ticket? Don’t get me wrong, I like her, but I can’t say I like her enough to want to get handshake tickets for her. The only thing I can think of is a) I did enjoy her performance in that SKE48/New World Order MV, which I think I was watching around the time I applied, and 2) this was the lunch slot, when most of the popular members go on break. So I think of all the members who were available in the slot, she was the only one I had any desire whatsoever to meet. I didn’t go in until the slot was almost over, and there were two people in front of me, so not much of a wait. She immediately grabbed my ticket holder, “Kaotan!” Yes, Kaotan. I basically told her that I enjoyed her performance when I won a Team KII show last year, and that she is a very good dancer. She smiled and thanked me. Overall, Egochan is not an overly demonstrative handshake. She smiles, and listens, and is generally very nice. But I don’t know that I will be making her part of my regular rotation.

Slot 3

Matsui Jurina (Lane 1) I finally pulled the trigger and bought Jurina ticket. I make it a point to meet her at pretty much every National Event I attend, but this was the first time I reserved a ticket for her. I went to queue up early, the plan being that I would get it done quickly, and then have a big break until the next slot. I was 4th in line, great! It was just after the Slot opened that management came over and announced that Jurina would be considerably late for the slot, and offered to let people “uncheck-in” if they wanted. This was my only ticket for the slot, so I had no choice but to ride it out…

I played with my phone for a while, and watched Kumazaki again. Kumazaki was great, she was engaging with all of us during her downtime. Smiling, waving, talking, she’s really cool. Also, and this was really neat. I saw the woman who makes all the PA announcements. You know, the one with that really generic, almost inhuman voice? She’s basically standing back there with a wireless microphone, making announcements as needed. She was standing by the Jurina lane since she needed to keep announcing updates on the Lane status. Oh, and she is really cute too. I am guessing she is probably in her 40’s, but she’s tiny, and really pretty. She had on tight jeans, and a white leather jacket. Now that I knew who she was, I was kinda watching for her throughout the day when I was up in the stands, LOL. Anyway, back to Jurina…

Yeah, 50 minutes later Diva Matsui made it out to the lane, and she had all sorts of handlers around her too. But she was like “enough of the coddling, let’s go!” She got excited when she saw me, and I told her that I have fun meeting her, and I want to see her more often. She latched onto my Kaotan necklance. “Kaotan, she is your oshi?” Yeah. “What about Jurina?” Ni-oshi (I lied, LOL) She gave me a crying face as I left the queue. I didn’t want to make her cry, but she would cry harder if she knew the truth, LOL.

 

I took another break. Part of the fun was watching all the extracurricular activities going on in the venue. They had a badminton court to play against members. You could also throw pitches in the bullpen, or throw off the main pitcher’s mound, with select members cheering you on. And of course they had the SKE staple of costumes to try on (If you are a female) These two were on display outside; The 22nd single uniform and Masanya’s graduation dress.

Slot 4

Sato Kaho (Lane 10) Another first time meeting. A few months ago I was queued up for Yamane Suzuha, who was in the lane next to Kaho. I was just fascinated watching her interact with her fans. Not only was she a big flirt, but she was wearing a very loose top, and really giving all the fans a show (if you know what I mean) Needless to say, I wanted to meet her, so I grabbed a ticket the first chance I got. Unfortunately, it was cold in the venue, so she was kinda bundled up, but she got excited when I entered the booth, and leaned in really close to me. I basically told her the story of watching her from another queue, that I thought she was really cute and genki, and I wanted to meet her. She definitely has a bit of a “twinkle in her eye, and I would love to meet her again. Perhaps in the Summer when its warmer. XD By the way, of all the queues I saw or experienced today, hers was the longest. My guess is she will be a senbatsu member soon.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 14) <2 tickets> Finally I’m getting to my regulars. I pre-queued, and was ultimately 5th in line. Kaotan’s lane was right in the middle, so we had a perfect view of all the girls coming and going, plus the pitching event. I pretty much saw most of the members come out. Kaotan was talking with Obamina when she walked over. Since it was her first slot of the day, Kaotan sets the ground rules with the staff. “Don’t push them out, I do it a certain way.” I love it! I showed her my Kaotan-JK badge that I bought at the concert, but she didn’t really react. I mentioned that I had been watching the pitching behind her, and that I used to be a pitcher. She asked when, and I told her High School. And of course she asked how many tickets I had. When I mentioned three, she asked if I would be looping. Yep…

So I immediately looped. It didn’t take very long. I asked her about the “talk show” she did yesterday. (Yuasa mentioned it on his blog) She said it was in Osaka, and when she does it in Tokyo that I should come, so I should keep track on her blog. I promised her I would, and that I would see her next slot,

90 minutes later, it was next slot. I passed the time relaxing in the stands, and had some takoyaki from Gindaco…

Slot 5

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 14) There was nobody pre-queued for her when I came back into the stadium, so this meant I would be first in line. Now the last time I was first in line for Kaotan I kinda got a special treat since she talked to me the whole time while setting up. This time was even better…

Once again, I was watching the people pitch (most of them are awful) and watching the members walk around behind the lanes. Shirai Kotono was in the next lane, and before she started waved to me and smiled. Eventually I see Kaotan walking over with Oba Mina again. Oba is eyeing me while they are talking, although I can’t hear what they are talking about since they are too far away. All of a sudden Oba turns in my direction and yells “Hey Kurisu!” and starts waving. I laughed and waved back. Mind you, I have never met Oba before. My guess is that she said something to Kaotan about her having a foreigner waiting for her, and then Kaotan gave her the scoop, LOL.

Kaotan made it into the booth, and immediately started screaming. Apparently there was a bug crawling across the counter. It was then I noticed they had bug traps and repellents around the lanes, so that must be an issue. I asked her if she killed the bug. She said no, she just brushed it away. She then asked me why I wasn’t wearing a jacket. When I told her I forgot to bring one, she got worried that I was going to catch a cold. I told her I would be fine, although to be honest, I really was cold. And then a few minutes later my nose started running.

Tani Marika (Lane 17) I quickly switched to my new Tani ticket holder and queued up. It wasn’t a very long line. Tani was wearing side braids, which look cute on her, so I immediately commented about it. She kinda turned and showed them to me. Tani was also bundled up. I asked if she had a heater, and she said no and she was cold. I said I’m cold too. At the end she asked when she would see me again. I wasn’t sure, so I just said the AKB event.

I checked, I don’t have a ticket for her until the AKB Jabaja event at the end of May, so it will be a while.

Hidaka Yuzuki (Lane 8) My final ticket of the night. Ya know, I really don’t see Yuzuki as often as I should. She is a really great handshake experience, and she is always excited to see me. Not to mention, she is a senbatsu member, so there is always stuff to talk about. She was really happy to see me again. I asked if she was excited to do the event at a baseball stadium, and she emphatically said yes. I know she’s a big baseball fan (Maichan in HKT is too) She said she had never seen a game at this venue, but would like to one day. I said I wanted to see one there too, as I finally got pushed out. I bid my farewell, and headed toward the exit.

Luckily, I was able to use my three tickets more quickly then expected, and was able to catch an earlier train home. I have a somewhat long day tomorrow, with the HKT48 shamekai event at Tokyo Ryutsu Center, followed by the Wasamin cheki event a couple of stops away. It’s lucky that I only have four tickets for HKT, so I have time to make it to Wasamin’s last cheki ‘slot’, if all goes well.

And here’s one last cardboard poster pic, because Obata is cute.

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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Events, HKT48, SKE48 The SKE/NMB/HKT Makuhari Messe Extravaganza (2017/11/23)

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(SKE 21st Single Akushukai, NMB 3rd Album Shamekai, HKT 10th Single Akushukai)

It was a ‘perfect storm’ of events at Makuhari Messe on Thursday, which happened to be Japan’s Labor Thanksgiving Holiday. SKE, NMB, and HKT all had major events to support their latest releases. For HKT, it also served as sort of a kickoff for their 6th Anniversary Celebration. For the most daring of wota, this could be an exercise of how you can handle going to three group events at the same time. This was compounded by the fact that while SKE and NMB were in neighboring halls, HKT was in a different building entirely, on the other side of the property. As for me, I had meticulously planned my day far in advance, scheduling all of my HKT tickets for the morning and early afternoon, and all of my SKE tickets for the evening. (I didn’t have any NMB tickets) So I didn’t need to worry about going back and forth from event to event. I basically stayed at HKT all day, and moved over to the main halls after 4pm.

The was the first Tokyo event celebrating HKT’s 10th single, Kiss wo Matsushikanai no Deshouka?. The have a second Tokyo event in early January. I had 14 tickets for today, ranging from the first slot through slot five (including the lunch slot) However, it was announced a couple of days earlier that Rikopi would not be attending the January event, so her tickets could be used on this day instead. Since I had one January ticket for her, that made 15 tickets to use today. I know I have said this before, but I HATE going to Slot 1 at these events. It requires me to get on a very early train, something I don’t love doing on a weekend or holiday. But when you favorite member is scheduled early, you tend to want to go early. In any case, I got there on time, and got my tickets stamped. (The girl initially questioned the absence of my middle name, but the supervisor said no problem) With nine minutes to go before the gate closed, I had two tickets for the same lane…

Slot One

‘Group Lane’ Akiyoshi Yuka/Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 23) With less than nine minutes, I wasn’t sure if I would have time to loop this line, so I decided just to use both tickets at once. When I was five away from the front, both Rikopi and Yuka had already spotted me and started waving, since the guard was creating this weird delay between fan visits. When I finally got to the front, it was an English buffet from the girls. Of course the first thing I noticed was that Yuka-chan had cut her hair short, so I went on and on about how cute it was, at which point Rikopi began playing with her hair. Oh, and I might note that Rikopi was wearing a Jack Daniels T-shirt, which I found quite humorous. Since the guard was delaying the next fan after I was pushed out, they kept taking and flirting with me until I was a good 30 meters away. In the meantime, I met up with one of the heads of Yuka-chan’s birthday committee (who is REALLY cute!) since she wanted to give me a copy of the birthday scrapbook. It is a really nice book, professionally done. Eight pages total, with photos, trivia, and an Akiyoshi quiz/crossword on the back.

There were two long queues in the back of the venue, one for goods, the other for pics. I wanted to see what kind of goods they had, but couldn’t get anywhere near the sign. I would check it out later. I also met up with my friend Yukikaze, who is a Rikopi fan, but also a member of the Wasamin fan club. I wanted to confirm with him what I had read on the message board about Rikopi’s January tickets.

Slot Two

 

Yamamoto Mao (lane 2) I bought this ticket since I had such great time meeting Mao last Summer at the HKT National Event. But it had been quite a few months since I had that ‘kami’ experience. I wondered if the same ‘electricity’ would still exist. Her queue wasn’t very big, so I lined up right at the beginning of the slot. While I waited, I noticed Ui Mashiro was staring at me from over in the first lane. She wasn’t smiling, or waving, she was just staring at me. I got a weird vibe from her, so I avoided her gaze. In the meantime, the moment Mao saw me she began jumping up and down in excitement. Yes!!! This is precisely the attitude that inspired me to get a ticket for her in the first place. So I explained to her that she made such an impression on me last Summer, that I wanted to see her again. She was genki, and thankful, and at the end I was very happy I got that ticket. And yes, I do want to see her again.

Murakawa Bibian (Lane 9) I always go into Bibian’s lane not knowing what to say, and then coming up with something at the last second. Imamura was in the lane next to her, with nobody in her queue. Poor Maria, she was wrapped in a blanket looking cold and lonely. As I got closer to the front I noticed Bibian was fascinated the the cosplay (I guess you could call it cosplay) the guy in front of me was wearing. So I commented to Bibian that he was wearing very interesting clothes, and that he looked like Sherlock Holmes. Just then, Bibian lit up; Yes! Holmes-san!!! So I used my ten seconds to gossip about another fan. Sounds good.

Slot Three

 

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 8) I had two tickets for third slot, and they were in neighboring lanes. I have been kinda taxed to come up with things to talk with Maichan about as well, although last event I was saved by the Hawks winning the Japan Series. In any case, struggling with what to say, I just blurted out that her hat was cute. She was like “really, you like it?” “Maichan always wears cute clothes!” I had another ticket for Maichan next slot. Could I come up with more to say?

By the way, while I was waiting in line for Mai, I had a good view of Sakura working with her fans. I admit that I am not the biggest Sakura fan by a longshot, but Sakura DOES try very hard to be genki and connect with her fans. I almost didn’t recognize her, since I am not used to seeing her interact with fans. She is much different than how she comes across on stage on on television.

 

Tomonaga Mio (Lane 7) I was really excited to see Mio since I saw her perform recently at the AKB theater. I wanted to tell her how much I liked her performance. I actually did. It was my first time seeing her perform in the theater live, and I thought she was adorable. When my turn came, Mio was smiling, hardly reacting. Hmm, I thought she would remember seeing me at the theater. “I saw you perform with Team 4!” Still not much of a reaction. “I wrote to the ticket center that you were the show MVP!” THAT got the reaction. “Yatta!” as she lifted her hand for a high-five. I broke through, so I was happy. I know Mio sorta has a rep for not being the most exciting handshake experience, but do really like her. So I will go the extra mile in order to make a connection.

Slot Four

 

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) <2 tickets> Including those morning group tickets, I would have seven meetings wi Yuka-chan today, so I better have a lot to talk about. Of course I could always help her with her English. So for the first ticket I told her that the group slot was a lot of fun, and that I do really like her hair. The short hair, coupled with the sexy outfit she had on, really made her look more mature. Of course, she still has that babyface of hers. I also mentioned that I really liked Rikopi’s Jack Daniel’s T-shirt, and explained that it is a famous American whiskey. I quickly looped around, since her line was pretty short. It was at this time I told her that I would be going to California for Winter vacation. She aid that she didn’t know that was where I was from, which kind of surprised me, so she asked when I was coming back, and I told her before New Year’s.

Fuchigami Mai (Lane 8) For my second ticket, not sure what to talk about with Maichan, I decided to expand on the last conversation. I mentioned that I oftem look at her social media, since she is always wearing ‘cute’ outfits. This is actually true…well, partially true. The truth is that I often look at her social media since I think Mai is extremely sexy, and I think she picks out clothes that emphasize her body very well. But couldn’t say it to her that way, could I? Could I? I got pushed out rather quickly this time, so it hardly mattered.

It was around this time that I ran into my friend Panda, who had his usual stack of Mikurin tickets. He was also going back and forth from the HKT and SKE events. The queue for goods had gotten considerably smaller, so we decided to check out what they had for sale….

At first glance, it a lot of senbatsu stuff, and a bunch of T-shirts, which I usually ignore since that rarely have my size. They did have new 6th Anniversary keychains for all of the members, so I decided I would get one for Yuka-chan. They also had gacha balls, where you could win a small member pin, and a guitar pick. But it was random, and I was only interested in getting Yuka-chan. As we exited the goods area, I noticed that the T-shirts all came in XL size. Wait a second! I took a better look at the 6th Anniversary T-shirts. Oh my god, they are all modeled after famous Hard Rock logos! One of them was even tie-dyed. This changes everything! The ‘Nirvana’ shirt was cool, but I have never really liked them. The main logo was an AC/DC version, but I didn’t like that it prominently said “ROCK”, and not HKT48. Since the last shirt was based on the logo of a band I used to really like a long time ago, the choice became clear.

I got the ‘Metallica’ version. It is the least colorful, but it ticked every other box of what I like in a shirt. I really would have liked to have gotten them all, but I didn’t want to overspend. Perhaps if I get another opportunity, I will pick up another one.

Lunch Slot

 

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) I wanted to show off my new Yuka-chan keychain. She was like “Oh, you got it!” Yuka grabbed on to it to get a better look. It is small, but she looks really cute on it. I also mentioned that I got the T-shirt.

By the way, Toyonaga Aki was in the next lane over. Not only did she look really cute, she was really outgoing with her fans. I have met her before, but it was back when she was a relatively new kenkyuusei. My, how she has blossomed. Just a mental note; I may want to meet her again in the future


‘Rikopi Challenge’ Posters were hung all around her lane

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 15) <2 tickets> I had decided that I would use that ‘extra’ ticket that I was suddenly tasked with using in this slot. However, I think a lot of people had the same idea, as it was pretty much the longest queue I had ever seen for Rikopi. My friend Yukikaze informed me that Rikopi would also be holding the “Rikopi Challenge” with the fans in her lane. What the hell is that? He tried to explain it to me, and I got the gist, but I couldn’t understand just enough to make me apprehensive about it. I decided to start out by using only one ticket. Since the Lunch Slot is short, I ran the risk of not being able to use the other ticket, but oh well. When I got to the front, it was basically another handshake. Of course this was Rikopi, so there was lots of English, and goofing around. I told her that her T-shirt was awesome, and asked if she had ever tried Jack Daniels before. She said that one time she had a little bit. Hmmm, not sure I’m entirely believing her. I told her that I drink it all the time, LOL. The good news was that there was still time left in the slot, so i was able to requeue and use my January ticket. It was at this time that I asked her about the Rikopi Challenge. So she stretched her hand and said “Let’s play Janken” After three ties, she won, which meant I had to play a batsu game. The punishment was basically her slapping my wrist with her fingers. If I had won, she would have given me a special message, or blow me a kiss.

Slot Five

This would be my final slot before switching over to SKE. While waiting I watched some of the special stages the members do at the event. People were queuing for these very early, and the viewing area was always packed. So while I walked by during a few of the events, i only watched one for an extended period since Bibian was on stage, along with Imamura Maria, Yamauchi Yuna, Ui Mashiro, and another member I couldn’t recognize since I was pretty far back. They had a contest on who was most skilled at playing the recorder. Amazingly, Bibian was actually quite good at it.

A short time later I had a random fan walk up to me and ask me if Akiyoshi was my oshimen. I said yes. He reached into his bag and pulled out an Akiyoshi gacha pin to give me. SCORE! And I didn’t even have to try to win one. Unfortunately, he only gave me the pin, and not the guitar pick, but who am I to complain? I had three tickets for the last slot, two for Yuka-chan, and my fifth Rikopi ticket of the day. Sheesh! That was kind of an anomaly, I didn’t plan to see her so much.

Akiyoshi Yuka (Lane 19) <2 tickets> My last two tickets for Yuka-chan, for the first one I showed her my gacha pin. She asked if I actually won it at the machine, but I explained to her that I got it as a gift. For my last ticket, I told her that I really liked her sweater, and that she is a very nice dresser. She thanked me, and asked when I would see her again. I told her I would see her at the January event.

Sakaguchi Riko (Lane 15) Running out of stuff to say, I told Rikopi about my Winter Vacation plans. Her initial reaction was almost like a panic. She was like “You are coming back, right???” I said, don’t worry, I am coming back to Japan. For some reason she laughed at the way I said it, but I’m not sure why.

I was finally done with all of my HKT tickets, and I had 90 minutes until I needed to be at SKE, so I hing around in the HKT venue for a while, running into BigC and Panda. I also waited until the end of the slot so I could wave goodbye to Yuka-chan with the rest of her fans. After that I slowly made my way across the bridge to the main halls, grabbing a snack at the conbini along the way, and quickly meeting up with my friend Nori, who was exclusively at the NMB event.


From the SKE48 costume display area

This was the second Tokyo event promoting the Igai ni Mango single. The first event was all the way back in July. I got most of my tickets for the first event, and only got these tickets after I reserved my HKT stuff, so I knew there wouldn’t be any overlap. I had four tickets total, but there was a dinner break between the slots. So it would basically be two tickets, then a long wait, then the last two tickets. Instead of by slot, I will report these by member.

Oh, and it was around slot A4 and into the dinner break that Yuasa was announcing the next single senbatsu via twitter, so I hoped (in vain) that I would be congratulating the girls at some point. Oh, and one other interesting note. I forgot to get my tickets stamped, and had no problem whatsoever using them in the lanes. However, it should be noted that I do have a Japanese identification, and almost everything on it matches the info on my tickets.

Slots A4-A5

Tani Marika (Lane 17) When I got toward the front of the queue, I noticed there was a cameraman near her, occasionally filming. In any case, I decided to play with her a little bit. Marika immediately noted that she has seen a lot of me lately. So I told her that last week I tried her Cup Ramen recipe (from the AKB recipe event a couple of weeks ago) She asked how it came out. “Oishii!!” I got a big thumbs up. Nice.

When I was waiting for her in the last slot, once again she was being followed around my a cameraman. So I asked her what the filming was about. She initially played dumb with me. I said that I saw the camera, and asked if they were making a movie about her. She still played dumb, so I basically said that I want to see a “Documentary of Tani” That she liked. LOL.

In-between slots I did check out the goods line, although it was the exact same stuff I saw in July. 90% of it was sold out too. I could have picked up a Kaotan oshi towel if I wanted, but I have enough oshi towels in my life already, so bail.

Matsumura Kaori (Lane 13) For the first ticket I asked her which song I should vote for at Request Hour. Personally, I would vote for Matsumurabu in a second if it was eligible, but it isn’t. So she recommended Koko de Ippatsu. Interestingly, she didn’t recommend Koi Yori mo Dream. I wonder why? Per usual, Kaotan immediately asked me how many tickets I have, and if I would be seeing her in both slots. This time, I could answer affirmatively. So she was happy. BTW, Kaotan’s lane was right next to Oya Masana. This would be Masanya’s final handshake event. I was bummed that I didn’t get a ticket for her today, but I did see her couple of times recently. And she did spot me in Kaotan’s queue. Anyway…

After a long and tiring 10-hour day, I was finally on my last ticket. Since I am sure Detective Kaotan would want to know, I told her my Holiday plans. Interestingly, she immediately responded “You are spending Christmas with family?” Yep. “When are you coming back to Japan? January?” No, December, the 29th. I will see you in January. “Good, enjoy California!

I contemplated sticking around for Masanya’s farewell, but it meant sticking around for at least another 90 minutes. Normally I wouldn’t really care, but I DO have a history with Masanya that goes back to the early days of SKE, and in that respect I really wanted to be there. However, I was exhausted, hungry, and I had Japanese studying that I needed to get done. So I decided not to wait around. I did see the ceremony on Kaotan’s Periscope, so that was a nice consolation.

So that’s it for me and the 48-groups in 2017. It was been an extremely exciting year. And the next events kick off in the first week of January. In the meantime, I do have a few Wasamin events coming up before I head to Cali, including her ‘Love Live’ acoustic concert this weekend.

CK in Tokyo

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New Release, SKE48 CK in Japan Part 6…A Quick Visit To Makuhari to Play With SKE48

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There were a lot of AKB-related events happening on Wednesday the 29th.  But I was going to be busy with Wasamin all day, so I couldn’t go to any other event.  Or could I?  The Hatsuzake release events didn’t start until 2:30pm.  Even though I wanted to be in the early queue for the seat lottery, it still gave me time to head over to Chiba for SKE48’s handshake event…

 

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SKE48 Coquettish Juutai Chuu Individual Handshake event 2015/04/29 at Makuhari Messe

For me this was really just a mini-event. The 29th also happened to be Wasamin’s big release event in Shibuya. As a result I could only stay for The first two handshake slots. I suppose I could have snuck in a handshake in Slot 3 but I didn’t want to chance it. The nice thing is that mumo.net keeps the application page open even after the initial lottery is done. That was if someone later decides they want to get tickets for the event they can provided the member they want isn’t sold out. Luckily everyone I like in SKE wasn’t sold out. On the other hand, most everyone I like was scheduled in the afternoon and evening. The only member in my “must see” list that had an early handshake time was Kaotan. No matter, I would take advantage of this situation and check out members I have had an interest in, but have never met…

I got to the venue around 8:15, which should give me plenty of time for the ole’ “foreigner ticket stamp” procedure. However, the place wasn’t open yet. Huh??? They usually open at least an hour early. Furthermore, there were only 9 people queued up to get in, and maybe another 30 milling around the hallway. Jeex, this is pretty pathetic. Then I realized that the first slot is a short slot, and pretty much every member scheduled that early could be classified as “not popular”. No wonder! Anyway, they finally opened the doors at 8:50. I went straight to the information booth….

Now let’s put that unfounded rumor about SKE events and foreigners to bed right now. This was even more painless than the Green Flash event. The guy running the booth completely understood the foreigner address issue. He took the time to explain it to the entire staff using my tickets and passport as an example. He stamped my tickets and I was on my way. So to answer the recently repeated concerns about foreigners being able to use tickets with SKE. It’s not a problem…at all!

Anyway, there were 13 lanes available, and not a line in any of them. Even in the 40 minute window before last call in Slot one I could have easily visited EVERY SINGLE open lane with time to spare. But I had only two tickets.

blogyuma

 

My first visit was to Takagi Yumana (Team KII), who I have actually met before on a few occasions. However, it had been a while so I’m not sure if she remembered me. She looked kinda tired, just sitting there by herself wearing a sweatshirt. She pepped up a bit when she saw me coming down the lane. The problem is that I have no idea what to say to her since she barely participates in anything. I essentially told her that she was my favorite member of Team KII (not completely true she is my 3rd favorite behind Kaotan and Anna) and that I was rooting for her. She thanked me, and I was on my way. I immediately went down to the last lane to use my other Slot 1 ticket on a girl I have heard good things about. And she is good on TV…

blogkoish

 

Koishi Kumiko (Team E): Slot 1? No line? I thought there was a buzz going on for Kumichan. She’s every bit as genki as you would think. Completely appreciated that I came to see her, exclaiming “HAPPY!”. I asked her if she speaks English well, since I heard around this forum that she was fluent. Let’s put that rumor to bed too. She might know a little English. But she is not the least bit fluent. I would say Mikitty AND Tani have a better grasp of the English language. But hey, don’t let that stop you from meeting her since she’s a sweetheart.

Okay, so it is now 9:07 and I have finished my tickets in slot 1. What to do? I noticed a tiny area with three tables set up for six Seitansei committees. Three of them were open. I was hoping someone I like was represented over there, aside from Ishida Anna whose card I signed at the Green Flash event. Luckily Yakata Miki’s committee was there. Just what I was hoping for! I wrote a nice little message and was sure to sign it from MISTER CHRIS. If you read my Green Flash report you will understand why I did that. After that I decided to queue up for goods while the line was still short…

It was a good strategy. I was 11th in line. By 10AM the line was pretty big. Unfortunately the goods selection was really lame. A few senbatsu member towels and t-shirts. Oshi-badges, and photo packs. Oh well, I will grab a few photopacks. Maybe I will get some Tani, Mikitty or Kaotan pics. While waiting in line I was watching the goods staff going though this painstaking and IMO completely unecessary procedure with the oshi badges. They would take them out of boxes, they would put them back into the boxes, they would write something on the bag and put them back into the box. Someone else would come along, take them out of the box and put others in the box. This went on for over 45 minutes, and it made the booth open late. Meanwhile, I had a great idea. I’m going to buy a Kaotan badge. After all, I am seeing her in Slot 2. Oh, and I got a great photo draw. No Kaotan, but I got Tani, Mikiity, Anna, Masanya, Churi, Dasu, Rena. I was happy. Meanwhile, Slot 2 already started…

blogyukar

 

Yamashita Yukari (Team KII) Of course I wanted to meet Neymar. I actually find Yukapi to be strangely attractive. Anyway, I played up the Neymar angle. Told her her Portuguese was great. (Not sure how good it really was, just trying to make conversation and be complimentary) She was trying to talk to me in English. It was cute. I had one more ticket. As always with Kaotan, it was time to prepare…

blogkao

 

Matsumura Kaori (Team KII) I put on my Kaotan badge. Planned what to say and headed in. She had a humidifier on full blast right next to her. She saw me coming and immediately recognized me from the weekend. She pulled my hands into her cross-armed handshake. I immediately thanked her for the autograph, it meant so much to me. At this point she notices the badge, says “hey!”, and….

She rips the badge off of my shirt! Points to it and says “Where is your name???” I then noticed there is a spot where you are supposed to write your name. She repeats “Your name here!” “Write Chris here!”. For a minute I thought I wasn’t getting the badge back. :yikes: As I get pushed out she thanks me, then exclaims “Ikemen!” (liar!), and then “Nice Guy!” which she repeated twice. Never a dull moment with Kaotan!

It was 10:15AM, great! I would have plenty of time to get to Shibuya for Wasamin’s events. But first I had to meet @ShiningOjisan who I hadn’t seen in quite a long time. The nice thing was he drove me back to Tokyo so we could at least have time to catch up in the car.

And off I went to Shibuya!

 

CK in Tokyo

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SKE48 CK in Japan Fall 2013 Part 1…Leading Off With SKE48 On Their Home Turf

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Landed at Narita Friday afternoon. I made this trip with one series of events in mind, and I’ll give you one guess which events they are.   But there will plenty of other fun to be had!  After having a nice sushi dinner with the gang from Selective Hearing and New School Kaidan in Akihabara UDX, I went back to my hotel for some sleep. I had to be up super early on Saturday to catch the Shinkansen, and I knew the jetlag would be kicking my ass all day…

 

SKE48 Utsukushii Inazuma National Handshake Event @ Port Messe Nagoya 2013/11/02

So I woke up an hour late, scrambled to clear my head and get ready before I jammed for the train station. If I had caught the earliest train I would have made it to Port Messe around 8:30am. Now my ETA was closer to 9:30 am. I figured I would get a crappy spot since I was so late. But when I finally got there I noticed hardly anyone was inside the venue. They were all outside photo trading. The goods line was short, so I grabbed a few photo packs before I went in.

I lucked out and got a Section A ticket. That is the closest area to the stage. It wasn’t even 1/3 full yet, so I was standing around 5 people from the front rail. This is one of the reasons I love going to sister group events in places other than Tokyo. The crowd is a bit lighter, so you don’t have to wait in as many gargantuan queues. That said, there were plenty of people there. Even more than attended the Kiss Datte Hidarikiki event I went to last year.

Mini-live started, Kage-Ana was done by multiple members doing silly voices. I wasn’t sure who was who, but I am fairly certain I heard Jurina and Akarin. Show opened with 1,2,3,4 Yoroshiku. This was my first live look at idols in 6 months, so it felt great when I first spotted Masanya. She looked gorgeous of course.

For some reason I am blanking on the rest of the song order, but I know they performed Choco no Dorei, Banzai Venus and Kataomoi Finally before finally doing Utsukushii Inazuma. They ended the show with SKE48.

For the MCs they first did the bit where they grab props from a table and use them for joke impressions. Mikitty was great! She kept grabbing an old broom, and doing Harry Potter Quidditch bits. A couple of the girls also did puns with Kato Rumi’s name. For the 2nd MC they had a mini-skit battle referee’d by Dasu and Jurina. Yuria played the guy in all of the scenarios. They battled by team, and Masanya won for Team S in the first round. Team KII was very funny. Every time they lost they would “beat up” the girl who got beaten. First Churi, then Matsumoto Rina. That bit was a lot of fun, and everyone was surprised at how well Ego Yuna did. (However, she still lost to Furukawa) The hour flew by quickly, now I had lunch break to figure out how I would use my 13 tickets!

Since I was in A block, I got to go to the handshake area relatively early. I figured I would go visit Akarin first before her line got too huge. But they had screwed up her sign and placed it where the handicapped queue was. I asked the staff and they pointed me to Lane Three. I thought it was wrong, but he insisted that was Dasu’s lane. It wasn’t an extremely long line either. I looked over and saw Jurina’s huge queue, and what I figured must be Yuria’s huge queue. It wasn’t until I got to the front that I confirmed what I had suspected.

Lane 3: Takayanagi Akane (1x) This is Churi’s line!!! I was caught completely off-guard. So I said my quick hello to Churi. As always, she asks me if I am genki, then I get pushed out as I respond. As I headed back outside I passed the rear of all the booths. Mikitty spotted me and started screaming. Hahaha, she remembered our exchange back in June for sure!

The wait for everyone to queue for their first handshake wasn’t long at all, maybe 10-15 minutes. There were 13 lanes, and I managed to visit 9 of them at least once. Originally there was a 14th lane but Rena called in sick. I think that is a general law. You can pretty much always expect one sick Matsui for any SKE handshake event. Almost all of my favorite SKE girls were there, except for Kaotan. Yumana was originally scheduled, but she got replaced. So that was a slight bummer too. In addition to Churi’s solo lane, these were the other lanes I visited…

skevent

Lane 7: Oya Masana/Deguchi Aki/Umemoto Madoka (2x) It is great to be able to see multiple girls in one shot, except that it forces you to have conversations with girls you don’t really follow. That is often quite awkward. I visited this queue twice. Masanya was excited to see me again. I told her she was great during the MC. I had no idea what to say to Deguchi, but she took care of that and began flirting with me. I pretty much just introduced myself to Madoka. The second time around I told Masanya that I was rooting for her in Ebi-Friday Night, and gave her a “Komanechi!” Aki thought that was cute and started laughing at me. So this lane was an overall success.

Lane 6: Ishida Anna/Nakanishi Yuka/Miyamae Ami (2x) Anna is another girl I visit often, so I always get a good reaction. This surprised Yuka, who then began playing matchmaker with me and Anna. She kept asking if I loved Anna, and if Anna was my oshimen. Of course I lied. This continued the second time I went through her queue, so I just played along. Unfortunately I had no idea who Miyamae Ami was, so all I could really do was say hello and where I was from and pray for a quick staff push out!

Lane 4: Suda Akari (1x) I really wanted to say hi to Dasu, and I was burning through tickets rather quickly, so I braved her queue for the 30-40 minute wait. The funniest part was that the staff was literally pushing people out as soon as she grabbed their hand, so the interaction was 3-4 seconds at the most. But she never fails at a great handshake. So much fun!

Lane 5: Kizaki Yuria (1x) I hadn’t planned on visiting Yuria’s solo queue. But her line wasn’t long at all, and I had never spoken to her before. So I had decided to give her a shot, even though I had heard that she isn’t the most exciting to meet. To my surprise, she was extremely nice. She even ga me a “Yuria-chan Peace!” pose. A very pleasant surprise. Another great lesson, while it is great to get advice from people on certain girls handshake experiences, sometimes you need to just see for yourself.

Lane 13: Suga Nanako/Kato Rumi/Kaneko Shiori (1x) I have always liked Rumi, but I was really in this line to meet Kinchan after her character fished me so hard in the AKB 1/149 game! There was no line. As I came up Kinchan looked up and gave me this huge surprising smile. She was even more surprised when I told her I came to that queue especially to see her.

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Lane 14: Furuhata Nao/Ichino Narumi/Tsuzuki Rika/Iguchi Shiori (1x) I felt really bad for these girls as their queue was almost always empty. You could see them repeatedly poking their heads out to see if anyone was coming. I don’t follow any of them, but I had never met any of them either. So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to introduce myself and say hello. I basically jumped in and rattled off the usual cliche’s. “SKE48 is great”, “Keep fighting”, that kind of stuff. But I stopped at Iguchi and exclaimed “Shiori-san sugoi!” in reference to her height which might have caught her off-guard a little bit. Although I am sure she gets that all the time.

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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.  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. However, I did discover that Yukiko does know a little Spanish. That should be good news for a few people. I really didn’t have much to say to Kyoka either. 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.  So yeah, Lane 9 was a huge WIN!

I had one ticket left, and I had noticed that one normally huge line had gotten pretty short. So I decided to jump in…

Lane 2: Matsui Jurina (1x) It was pretty quick, but she was super genki and gave me the often-seen “OMG, it’s a foreigner!” look. I congratulated her on the Janken win before getting quickly pushed out. I had used all of my tickets, and it wasn’t even 4pm yet! Oh, and the four lanes I unfortunately didn’t visit were…

Lane 8: Mukaida Manatsu/Ego Yuna/Matsumoto Rina
Lane 10: Shibata Aya/Uchiyama Mikoto/Niidoi Sayaka
Lane 11: Furukawa Airi/Sakai Mei/Saito Makiko
Lane 12: Takeuchi Mai/Goto Risako/Kimoto Kanon

It was a great day. Given that I am not going to any individual handshake events this trip, I was so happy I got the chance to interact with SKE. Hopefully some of my favorite AKB members will be at the National Event I plan on attending in a couple weeks. But HKT…and Tani. I have nothing planned for them, I am going down to Hakata next week. Maybe I will get lucky and win a show.

Also, a HUGE Thank You to everyone who sent me their extra SKE handshake tickets. As you can see, they were all put to good use. You guys are awesome!

CK in Nagoya

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AKB48, SKE48 CK in Japan Fall 2012, Pt. 3…Handshaking SKE and a Chance Encounter with a Fresh Lemon

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So there wasn’t much rest between the AKB48 handshake event I posted about previously and the SKE event the very next day. So I was off for more idol interaction 12 hours later. But before that…

These reports are completely out of order anyway, so why not throw this little chance encounter. Petelechem, Memorybreak (friends from Nihongogo/Stage48)  and I spent the better part of Monday cruising the shops for various pics, magazines and whatnot. This was all in preparation for the NOTTV lottery later in the afternoon. Memorybreak was our sole winner, the lucky bastard…

Running into idols in public…

Anyway, Petelechem and I headed back to the Donki from the cafe to handle a few errands. When we were about to cross the street in front of UDX a taxi pulled up. I grabbed Pete and told him to stop as I saw  Ichikawa Miori, and then Takeuchi Miyu jump out of the car. It is theater taboo to bother the girls when they are entering/leaving the theater, so I made sure we kept our distance until the girls got inside safely. That is the fifth time I have run into an idol in public. So to those of you who have asked if it happens…indeed it does! But it is always best to give them their space!

SKE “Kiss Date Hidarikiki” Individual Handshake Event at Pacifico Yokohama 2012/11/11

This was my third handshaking event of the trip. I was going to see a few old friends, and a few new girls too. Funny thing, of all the girls I had tickets for the one I was most excited about was a lower tier Team E member. The forecast was for heavy rain, so it was a great day to be spending inside a venue for 8-10 hours! Leading off…

Matsui Rena: This was my first time actually getting to talk to Rena. I was wondering, did I make the right choice? (Choosing Rena over J) But in the end Rena was very sweet, and a good experience overall. When I told her where I was from she exclaimed something to the effect of “You came from San Francisco? Sugoi” BTW, all of the SKE senbatsu were dressed in the outfits from the single. Kind of a royal blue seifuku.

Matsumoto Rina: Another first time meeting. But it was strange. Rina looked much different from when I have seen her before. I’ll say no more. But when I got to her she said “Oh, Hello!” I told her I was from the US. She said “I am Japanese”, to which I responded that I was not Japanese. (hehe)

Takayanagi Akane: As much as I like Churi I always seem to be at a loss for what to talk to her about So I just asked my standard Churi fallback question. “Genki desu ka? Papitan genki?” Any time you can steer your Churi convo into a bird convo becomes instant success.

Oya Masana: I had two tickets. On the first one she exclaimed ” Aitakatta!!!” That’s so neat, she wanted to see me! But by the second ticket she looked tired (sick?). I asked if she was okay, and she said she was cold. I told her I would see her in 2013. she repeated it back…oh hai hai!

Matsumura Kaori: Kaotan’s line reminds me of Nachu’s line when SDN was around. A lot of manic and comedic action going on. But this time Kaotan took it a little bit easier with me compared to the previous day in Tokyo. “Push Push? Watashi? Push Push?” She is great! Later on I made sure to sign a birthday card for her.

Hiramatsu Kanako: I haven’t done a handshake with her for a while. I did the “Myuku Myuku” catchphrase with her, and asked if her leg was better. She was standing, which is a good indication. She pointed to her leg and gave me the “OK” sign. Good to know. She looked so sad the last time I saw her.

Takagi Yumana: Okay, this was great! On my last trip she was positioned next to Wasamin during the GM5 event. She had nobody in her line, and every time I looped Wasamin’s line I would wave to her. She waved back to me every time. So I waited for her queue to empty, then I went for it. Was there a possibility she would remember that exchange 7 months ago? She did, and she laughed so hard when I told her that! Anyway, it was a great official first time meeting. I will surely go back to her next time I have a chance!

Ishida Anna: Is always so sweet and cute. I told her I loved the Shirogumi song, which she was wearing the outfit of. She had a few more people in her queue than before. So perhaps her popularity is getting a small rebound after her promotion to Team B. I hope so. Anyway, I wished her luck in AKB

Yagami Kumi: Like last week in Nagoya, I wished her luck after graduation and told her that I hoped to see her again.

Suda Akari: First of all, this was the last slot. Normally the most popular members are getting pretty tired by now (see Masanya) But not Akarin. No way! She had made these little towel dogs., which she had lined up in front of her. I asked “Kore wa?”, and she started barking. “Arf Arf!” Typical Akarin…on fire! I told her she was cool, and cute. She is such a blast to talk to!

Hata Sawako: My last ticket of the event, Shawako is always going to be a fun experience. I congratulated her on the new theater and told her I wanted to see KII3, she tried to say something in English but got tongue tied, while holding me back from the guard. Eventually the guard won out and Sawako didn’t get to tell me what she wanted to say.

Oh, and…

Kato Rumi: called in sick to the event, so I didn’t get a chance to say hello

And that was it. My handshaking events were completed for the trip!

CK in Tokyo

(Note:  I never made a proper report on my Momoclo experience.  I may do that in the very near future, so watch for it!)

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Concerts, SKE48 CK in Japan, Fall 2012…The Highlights Pt. 1 / SKE48 on their Home Turf

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Yeah, I know I haven’t been blogging much at all lately.  Frankly, I think I lost my enthusiasm for it.  Not to mention there are so many great forums to use as an outlet for the fandom.  So what have I been up to?

I am still as much of an AKB fan (and Momoclo) as ever.  But I was preoccupied this past Summer with the purchase of a house.  It is a major commitment, both monetarily and time-wise.  But I love my new place, which I have dubbed the “Casa de Wasa”  The entire upstairs is decorated with AKB and Wasamin paraphernalia.

I also appeared on both of the Fuji television specials that focused on foreign fans.  I wasn’t invited to Japan, but they filmed segments from my house.  One of them featuring Fuji TV talent Fukuzawa Akira.  That was so much fun!!!

Finally I did appear in a web radio show the day after AKB48 announced their latest Team Shuffles.  Old news, I know.  But I thought we did a good job.  You can check it out at the link below if you like…

Stage48 Link to the radio show

So there ya go.  And in the meantime the next few posts will feature reports from the various events I went to on my current trip…

11/4/2012 SKE48 “Kiss Datte Hidarikiki” National Handshake Event at Port Messe Nagoya

When this event was announced I debated making the trip. I don’t have a Railpass this time around, and it is my first full day in Japan. But two things compelled my to go to this event…

1) Kuumin’s sudden graduation announcement. I really wanted to be there so I could see her announcement in person.

2) The fact that AKB’s stages are brand new will make it even harder to win a show, so I better jump on any event I have access to!

Anyway, grabbed the 6am Shinkansen out of Tokyo, which would get me to the exhibition hall around 8:15 if all went well. The queue was pretty big, around 2/3 of the way around the venue, and as I queued up I heard someone talking to me in English. After a brief conversation I found out it was someone who was friends with a member of the forums. So cool! I have someone to pal around with for the event!

As I entered we drew tickets to see which section we would get to stand in. Luckily I got section A which was the closest to the stage. It was half-full when I got there, but most everyone was right down the middle, so I got a spot on the left side right behind the women’s section. Perfect view! Nobody of significant height in front of me! Now it was time for the two hour wait for the show to start while sitting on a concrete floor. PAIN!!! These standing-only shows on a concrete floor are just murder on my ankles!!! Each section began to pack up, and eventually it was time for the show to begin…

Kuumin did the Kage-ana, which drew a lot of reaction from the crowd. First two songs were Banzai Venus and Chime wa Love Song, great songs to begin the show. Banzai Venus is my favorite SKE single, and it drew memories of going to that release event in Tokyo a year and a half ago! It took me a minute, but I finally found Masanya dancing in the back. Churi and Kuumin were right in front.

After the first two songs Yuasa came out and made the announcement about the new theater, then it was time for Kuumin’s oficial announcement…

She didn’t really cry, but she seemed to be at a loss for words. Very long pauses and she kept looking at Yuasa-san with a sort of “Help Me!” look. But eventually with the help of the fans she got through it.

We were then treated to two unit songs. First was Namida no Shounan, which I don’t believe I had ever seen performed live before. I love that song. It was tight quarters, so it was tough for me to do the hand movements. BTW, Yuria was center, and Shawako seemed to be second lead. Aside from Kato Rumi, I don’t remember who else participated. After that was Ookami to Pride performed by the two birthday girls, Ogiso and Kanon! Masanya’s birthday is on Tuesday, but I think it is bad luck to prematurely celebrate?

The birthday girls got flowers, and notes read to them. Yukiko read a note for Shiori, and Rena (!?!) for Kanon. The crowd seemed surprised by that. Airi pretty much lead the MC, which I thought was pretty neat. Oh, and when they read the prize winners, I almost thought I had won the 2-shot. I was one digit off, too bad!

The girls finished with the Akagumi song, and Kiss Datte. Too bad Anna was in Tokyo, the Shirogumi song is my favorite on the single!

Everyone took a one hour break. Then it was time for handshakes. I had four tickets, which was probably perfect since I needed to get back to Tokyo before 7pm (or so I thought) Evreryone got one handshake to start, then when everyone was done you could go back as often as you had tickets. There was also a goods line, with some really cool stuff. But the line seemed insanely long. So I skipped it for the time being (going to another SKE event next week)

Handshake #1: Kuumin and Yukiko. I just knew Kuumin’s line would be insane, and it totally was. Even more than staff expected. They had to redesign the queue to accomodate the fans. These handshakes are so quick that you basically can say one little thing and move on. I congratulated Kuumin on her graduation, and for Yukiko I simply told her where I was from since I had never talked to her before.

#2: Masanya and Shiitan. Oya’s line was pretty small, I got greeted by the ole’ “long time no see” Masanya asked me how I have been. Kinda chummy, I like it! Shiori was a first time meeting, so I basically told her that Team S is great!

#3: Shawako and Seira. Last time I met Sawako she made a big deal out of the line “Nice to Meet You” So I came in and sang it with her. She sang too and laughed. That was fun! Aas for Seira. I couldn’t just come out nd tell her she looks sensational in a bikini, could I? My friend thought I should, but I didn’t want to get slapped! So I went with “Seira-san no solo PV sugoi!” She really liked that I said that. I think I need to make Seira part of my regular handshake rotation!

#4: Churi. I had plenty of time, and one more ticket. Since my new friend was a Rena fan I decided to queue with her over there. After all, the line was moving pretty well. However, they closed it for Rena to take what seemed like a never-ending break! So we bailed and went for Kaotan, but her line was really long too. I wanted to go to Akarin, but I think her line was longest of all. So I went for Churi who had a very short queue all day.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say to Churi, so I basically said that her Solo PV was cool too. I am not sure if she remembered me or not (Masanya and Kuumin did, Sawako may have) But she was very sweet and focused on what I was trying to say.

The only bummer of the day was that I ended up not needing to get back to Tokyo so soon after all. So I could have stayed for goods and more handshakes. But that’s okay. I am going to SKE’s event in Yokohama next week.

Anyway, I am still dead tired from the jetlag so it was probably for the best. Hopefully I will have more fun stuff to talk about in the next couple of weeks!

CK in Tokyo

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New Release, SKE48 CK in Japan Spring 2012…Back to Osaka For SKE???

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Funny how things work out.  I have really started to like SKE48 a lot more in the last year.  I have always liked them, but ever since they released Banzai Venus I have really taken notice.  This is the second consecutive trip that they have held an exusive handshake event while I was in Japan.  It’s just funny that both times the event was going on all the way down in Osaka…

SKE48 Kataomoi Finally Handshake Event at Intex Osaka 4/1

I will keep this one relatively brief, for it is a strikingly similar experience to my Oki Doki handshake event last fall. In fact, it should only be a few pages back in this thread. (Late November) Once again, I woke up at 5am to catch the first train out of Tokyo to Shin-Osaka. After that, plus 40 minutes of local train travel in Osaka, I arrived at Intex about midway through the first slot. I had two tickets for Slot 1, I would go to the shortest line first, then queue up for the other ticket after that. Luckily, both of my first slot girls had short lines. Lucky for me I guess, not really lucky for them…

I had 14 tickets for seven members. Pretty much my Top 7 in SKE. I keep saying that I want to meet more girls in the group…Maybe next time I will try for some of the other girls. But I didn’t want to overdo it since I bought so many handshake tickets for AKB next week. So here are the highlights…

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Anna Ishida: I am so close to naming her my SKE oshi. It pains me so much to see her line almost empty for the entire event. She is so adorable, I just love her! I don’t remember what I said on the first ticket, but on the second I told her that I was stupid because I didn’t realize that she was wearing the outfit from Hanikami Lollipop. She responded. “I am stupid?”. I said NO!!! I am stupid, you are cute!!! She got a kick out of that. I also told her I had tickets for her in Tokyo next week.

Kanako: Sitting down beause of her injured foot. She seemed a bit down. I asked her how her foot was doing. She said it was getting better.

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Akari: Spoke English to me the entire time. LOLWAT? She is adorable. They were basic English sentences, but she said them fluidly and without having to think about it. I was impressed! I need to get more than one ticket for her next time.

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Churi: I told her that her Bird performance at Saitama looked great. She made her little flying motion, flittering her arms. So cute! Later I asked about her bird, Papitan. She said Papitan was genki, and Papitan was cute!

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Masanya: Told her how cool the Kataomoi outfits are, and that I loved the performance with the bells on the bonus DVD.

Shawako: “Nice to Meet You”??? What, she didn’t remember me??? She remembered me last time I was in town. What’s up with that? I had an entire routine planned where I was going to imitate her during the handshake, but she threw me off.  She was a fun experience anyway. She started jumping up and down when I told her that KII 3rd Stage was great. The funny thing was, the one member that I didn’t think would remember me totally did, and made a big deal about it…

Kuumin: I was almost ready to give up on Kuumin. I wasn’t sure if I was connecting with her or not. This was basically a last chance handshake. But to my surprise, she got really excited. Totally remembered me from before. We talked about the sexy PV from the song, and I showed her my Yabakune pin that I got from Nihongogo’s Jet. She was really surprised I had one. I think she asked where I got it from.

As a small bonus, other girls I got a good look at because they were in close proximity to the girls I had handshakes with: Rena, Kinoshita Yukiko, Kuwabara Mizuki, Kato Rumi and Matsumoto Rina who looked absolutely adorable! I really need to make her part of my SKE rotation!

And since Jurina was out sick, as a consolation any fan who had Jurina tickets was allowed to 1) sign a life-sized cutout of her for her birthday, and 2) take a 2-shot with their choice of said cutouts. Too funny!

As for the event overall, it is a lot more low-key than the AKB events. Not as many people. Lines are never really too long. Then again, this was Osaka. It is probably quite different in Tokyo or Nagoya. Even more surprising, the goods line was practically empty all day! Overall it seemed like a smaller turnout than last November. I wonder why?

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I ended up buying two keychains, one for Masanya and one for Churi. I also got five packs for trading pics. What a horrible lot! Out of 25 pics, I got no Masanya, no Anna, no Akari, no Mieko. Just one Churi, one Kuumin, and one Kanako. I didn’t even get any Rena or Jurina!

But I had fun. I just hope next time I can go to an SKE event a bit closer to Tokyo. The day trip to Osaka takes a lot out of you. Even if I did enjoy a wonderful Bento and a nice nap on the ride back!

CK in Tokyo

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SKE48 CK in Japan Fall 2011…The SKE Handshake Event

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By the way, Last Friday I took a side-trip and visited the Capital of Japan from about 1000 years ago, Kamakura.  It is an adorable little town with all sorts of neat shrines, not to mention the giant Buddha statue a couple of stops away…

But my favorite part of the trip was visiting a nearby island off the coast called Enoshima.  This place was so cute, with amazing seafood.  They specialize in Shirasu-don, which is like baby sardine sushi.  The restaurants all looked so tempting, but one was recommended.  And along with the meal I had one of their other local specialties…a stout beer with fish extract.

It was actually really good!

Anway, back to the action…This was going to be one serious day.  In order for me to pull this off I was going to need to wake up extra early, travel three hours to Shin-Osaka (plus another 45 minutes of local train travel), and do it all over again once this marathon event was over.  That is almost 8 hours of travel time.  But I was up for the adventure.  Good thing the Shinkansen is a super-comfortable ride.  Here we go!

SKE48 Okie Dokie Handshake Event @ Intex Osaka 11/20

I almost blew it when I partied a little too hard the previous evening after meeting Erika Yazawa from Idoling!!!  But a minor headache rousted me awake at about 4am.  Great!  Plenty of time to medicate, wash up, and get to the train.  Catching a 6:20am Shinkansen, I made it to Intex Osaka just 15 minutes after the event started.  Perfect!  I had plenty of time to make it to my first-slot handshakes.

I had two tickets for Slot 1.  I would go to the shortest line first, then jam over to the second one.  It looked as if Akarin’s line was the shortest of the two, so I went for it.  As I stood in line I noticed she was right next to Rena.  So I got a good closeup look at her while I waited for Akari.  Rena looked beautiful, so I was quite surprised when she went out sick for the event less than an hour later.  I got up to the front of the queue.  Oh shit!  This isn’t Akarin’s line at all.  It was Kuumin….

Yagami Kumi: I had about 30 seconds to figure out what I was going to say to her.  As panic set in I fnally came up with my “brilliant” plan.  I stammered that she was funny on Bimyo this week.  But it worked out as she responded “Hontoni?  Arigato!”  I don’t think Kuumin remembered me from before.  But I got a good reaction from her, so all was good!

Suda Akari: This was my first time ever talking to Akarin (aside from the “high wave” after I saw Team S last June.  I basically told her that I really wanted to meet her, she had an adorable smile and she was cute in the Senbatsu Undergirls PV.  It was a good first-time meeting so I will definitely try to see her again!

After this I had an more than an hour before slot 2.  It is nice the way SKE does handshakes.  The breaks between slots are much longer, giving the girls more time to rest.  Although it kind of drags out the day for fans.  The queue for goods was huge.  But given the amount of time I had, I went for it.

They had shirts, a hoodie, phone straps and charms, clear files.  But the big item of the day were the event trading photos.  There was a limit of 5 packs per person, so people were looping the line before they sold out.  The queue took more than an hour (unnecessarily I might add)  I decided I didn’t care for the shirt, so I bought a Masanya phone charm (which I immediately affixed to my backpack) and my limit of photos.  Of my favorite members, I got one Masanya and two Shawako, although those two Shawako were exactly the same.

Anyway, time for slot #2, which contained one of my three Masanya tickets for the event.  But I will talk about that later on…

Takayanagi Akane: I tried to win more Churi tickets, but only ended up with one.  Oh well.  Her queue was obviously long, but it moved quickly.  I don’t have as much history with the SKE girls as I do with AKB, so sometimes I have trouble coming up with things to talk about.  But for this event I brought my English-Japanese dictionary which helped trememdously when I struggled for something to say.  I could prepare my little speech while I was in queue.  I decided to tell her how much I enjoyed her bonus scene on the new single DVD.  She thanked me, of course.  So is sooo cute.

Hiramatsu Kanako:  Just like when I met her at Yomiuriland, she immediately exclaimed “Yayyyy” as I came in and gave me a double high-touch/handshake.  I told her how cute she was in the Pareo no Emerald PV, she responded with her “Mokyuu Mokyuu” catchphrase, and asked me to do it with her.  I did, and she was happy.  Gave me another high-five and I was on my way.  Adorable session!

After slot 2 was the lunch break.  I decided to try some Takoyaki, since the only other time I had it was in Tokyo…and I hated it.  But I wanted to give Osaka a chance to change my mind.  But that’s for another thread.  On to Slot #3.  I had four tickets for this slot, so I would need to keep moving.

Ishida Anna: I had two tickets for Anna.  I had noticed that like last week in Chiba, her line was almost empty during the morning sessions.  This makes me sad.  She is so cute!  She greeted me with an excited double wave like she is beckoning me to come closer.  I always tell her how adorable I think she is, so I needed to switch to a different tactic.  So for her I also went with the compliment on her part in the Okie Dokie DVD bonus.  In the second session I apologized for my bad Japanese, to her insistence that it was okay  I then told her how nice I think she is, and that I am always excited to do handshakes with her.  I have definitely made a connection with Anna.

Hata Sawako:  I never really paid attention to Shawako until Yomiuriland last Summer.  And that was totally by accident.  The only reason I met her was because she was paired with Masanya.  But it was a memorable session, and it made me want to see her again.  She exceeded my expectations…again.  When she shakes your hand, so actually holds your entire arm with both hands.  I told her that meeting her last Summer made me want to come back to her.  When I said that she immediately remembered and got really excited!  Like last time, as the staff tried to push me out, she tried to pull me back!  Hahaha.  Shawako is awesome!  She also tried to talk to me in English, but fumbled it a bit.  So cute.  Shawako is now firmly positioned as one of my Top SKE members!

Furukawa Airi:  Like with Shawako, I reminded her that we met last Summer, and I also reminded her that we share a birthday (well, we almost do!  She is the closest idol to my birthday that I know of).

Slot four was my “Masanya Time”, but I also had another first time meeting…

Kato Rumi:  I forst started paying attention to Rumi when she did the promotional event for “Paranormal Activity”  I thought she was so cute at that event, and I prepared to tell her that.  But when I got to the front of her queue (her line was really short) she had on a beautiful white furry coat and cute silver shoes.  So I switched tactics and told her how cute she looked.  I then told her I was happy to meet her and really love S3.  Another cool first-time meeting.

Oya Masana:  At the AKB event last week I had told her I was coming to see her in Osaka.  So I got a cool, excited greeting when I got to her for my first of three tickets.  I told her I liked Osaka because it wasn’t cold (I had momentarily forgotten how to say “warm”  It took her a few moment to figure out what I was trying to say, but she eventually got it.  Funny thing was it got really cold later in the day. (LOL)  Later on I told her how much I loved her twin-tails in the Okie Dokie PV.  Surprisingly, on my last ticket Masanya decided to try a little English with me.  This was great!  The greeted me with “Third timu!”  I apologized for my bad Japanese and reminded her that she was my SKE oshi.  I also told her that I am rooting for her.  In summary, all of the work I have done on Masanya has paid off.  She definitely gets that I am a big fan, and is always a great handshaking experience.

I had one ticket for Slot 5, and then I would have to run back to Shin-Osaka to catch one of the last trains back to Tokyo.  In fact, I considered leaving early.  But I had met a friend, and wanted to hang out a little bit.  I also picked up one more pack of photos.  Glad to see that unlike AKB, SKE brings plenty of photos so everyone gets a chance to get some, instead of selling out before the event even starts!  This is why the hour-long queue was unnecessary.  I don’t believe they ran out of anything all day!   My friend and I had the same member for Slot 5 (her Oshi), so we immediately queued up since I was in a mild time crunch.

Sato Mieko:  The line wasn’t very long.  And to be honest I was getting tired.  So I basically said the same thing that I had said to Shawako.  That she was so nice at Yomiuriland th I wanted to meet her again.  She excitedly thanked me, and that was it.  My handshaking was done!

I made it back to the Shinkansen and fell asleep on my ride back.  Finally some rest!  It was an awesome event, so glad I went to Osaka.  Even if I barely got a chance to experience the city.  That will have to be for another time.  I don’t know if I will have anything else to report, but I am still here for a few more days.  We’ll see

CK in Tokyo

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