7th June: Jakarta – JKT48 & Countdown Asia Festival Day 2

January 14, 2016 by

The plan today was JKT48 theater then head back to Countdown Asia Festival! Mindmix won the same ticket as mine so I plan to meet up with him at FX for Team KIII’s “Boku no Taiyou“!

WinAnggy offered to give me a ride to FX but she’s not joining since she has class right after. I’m more of a car-person and this is basically my 2nd motorcycle ride ever in my life so yeah, I was hanging for my life here. A motorcycle ride through Jakarta’s traffic, bucket list checked.

JKT_AnggryI met up with Mindmix to redeem our tickets. Bingo starts at 11.30 so we head upstairs to the foodcourt for our own tiny Jakarta brunch.

JKT_TicketWe both had Sate Padang (I think), and talked about JKT48 while we fill up our tummies. I wasn’t familiar with Team KIII as I was more familiar with Team J. But I had watched Team KIII’s “Boku no Taiyou” 2 years ago and I remember being impressed with Yona and Sinka. I think that this setlist is a revival? I wasn’t sure. But it was interesting that I get to see the same setlist I saw 2 years ago.


Right before we went in, a group of guys stopped us and asked us to support JKT48 Team T later at Countdown Asia Festival. They gave us this free invitation so me and Mindmix just looked at each other. Score! We were planning to go there anyway but now we got free tickets for it, haha.

JKT_2nd_TicketBoku no Taiyou” was fun! I could clearly see the improvement they had since 2 years ago and Mix was thrilled that he got a live half-assed translation on-the-go for him. The first MC was easy to follow when they were talking about their favorite cookings and the second MC and after I was just as lost as him. I was impressed with Sisil, who I never noticed before. I thought she was funny and engaging, noticing me and Mix in the theater and tried talking in English (and failing). I remember I went out of the theater thinking that I might just found my Team KIII oshi.

JKT_TheaterWe head back to Countdown Asia Festival with our free tickets. Anggy, Ixa and Mocil weren’t free on that day so it was just me and Mix. We head to the Dempa booth where they had some merchandise sold.

JKT_EntranceSince the only light stick that I brought was a red JKT48 one, I thought of buying a Dempa light stick. After making sure I have enough money to get a taxi to the airport, I bought their CD and their badges as well.

JKT_GoodsBadly for me, the only Dempa song I was familiar about was W.W.D and W.W.D II. So I was following the lead of the Japanese wota that were there as well. They didn’t sing W.W.D but I really enjoyed “Neo Japanism” and they also sang their latest single, “Otsukaresama~” or rather “Otsukare Summer”. Towel waving songs are always fun. (Yes, I waved a HKT48 towel. Sue me.)

JKT_DempaI waited around till JKT48 Team T appearances. I was risking it as I was actually late for my taxi to the airport. But they were singing “Wink wa Sankai” and a song or two wouldn’t hurt me, right? After bidding Mix farewell I left him and rushed to grab a taxi. Turns out I was wrong and the prospect of me missing my flight might be real. Good thing I had a taxi driver who drives like a madman when I told him the time of my flight. Although, in his defense, all taxi drivers in Jakarta are madmen.

JKT_TeamTI managed to grab my flight with 8 minutes to spare thanks to my taxi driver. It was a close call as I had work the very next morning. It was a rushed yet awesome 2 days.

I was glad to meet Mindmix, after chatting with him for almost 2 years. And was so happy to finally meet Anggy, who I couldn’t meet the last time I went to Jakarta. It was always a fun time to meet the crazies that is Ixa and Mocil as well. It’s fun to able to watch Sousenkyo with friends, even though by “watching” it was actually just reading the ranking through Twitter and us reacting to it. And of course, to be able to see Kamen Joshi again, not to mention Dempagumi and also watch Team T’s performance and a theater show by Team KIII? I thought I made really good use of my 2 days and there was no regret whatsoever.

I went home, tired but happy. It was crazy to think that I traveled to two different countries in a span of 1 week just to see idols. From Home > Tokyo > Home > Jakarta > Home. But Tokyo and Jakarta felt like home to me in some kind of a weird way. When you have online friends from all over the world, even though you’re traveling by yourself, you’re never alone. And that what makes it feel home to me.

6th June: Jakarta – Countdown Asia Festival Day 1

January 13, 2016 by

A day after I got back I started thinking about the things I did in Japan. Of course, by now the rest of the AIDOL gang are heading to Fukuoka for the Sousenkyo, while I’m back to work and stuck in office. The one thing that I have been hammering myself about is my promise with Anna. I said yes to her when she asked me to come to Jakarta but the question is am I really going to Jakarta? Just to see Kamen Joshi again? I don’t really like them that much do I?

Turns out I kinda do. I basically finished all my money in Japan so I was lucky that the miles point I got from my Japan trip could cover up my Jakarta flight. Since I used up all my leave from work as well, I had to fly off Saturday morning and come back on Sunday night. Plus, I also asked for help from one of UKN48 staff, Anggy to stay near her place so I would save on accommodation. It was crazy but I was doing it.FlightSo on Saturday morning, there I was, with little to no money and heading to Jakarta for Kamen Joshi. I looked up the time table and Kamen Joshi has 2 performances on the 1st day. Yay! Plus, Dempagumi will also make an appearance on 2nd Day at 4.30pm, leaving my morning free. So, I decided to apply for JKT48’s theater in the morning.

JKT_TTI reached the airport and straightaway head to FX Sudirman, the shopping mall that JKT48’s theater is located at, to meet up with Mindmix from my Half48 irc chat. We head to Lapangan D Senayan together and was just in time for Kamen Joshi.

JKT_!stTicketI also met up with Anggy, a timer from UKN48. Ixarus and Mocil couldn’t make it to the morning show as they had other plans so it was just me, Mindmix and Anggy.

KamenJoshiSince this was literally my second time watching them live, I didn’t know the calls or even who the other members are. The ones appearing was Alice Juban, of whom I only recognized the center, Tachibana Anna and Sawada Risa, Wayne’s oshimen. There were a lot of Mori Kanon fans in attendance, which later I found out are called Kanon’s Children. And I find that interesting.

JKT_KAmenKamen Gaijin subbed a few of Kamen Joshi’s Jakarta adventures which is of course translated by yours truly. I thought this was a good indication that I truly like the group. I wouldn’t translate something I don’t have an interest in and I was definitely interested in this group.

It was 2pm when Kamen Joshi’s performance was over and it was unbearably HOT in Jakarta. Me, Mindmix and Anggy head back to FX to enjoy the air-conditioned building since we have almost 4 hours till the next Kamen Joshi performance. We open up our phones and watch a streaming of Sousenkyo in a tiny cafe in Jakarta. It wasn’t ideal, I sure wished I was in Fukuoka watching it with my own two eyes but it was better than nothing. Plus, I love watching Anggy’s reaction every time someone from SKE ranks.

JKT_SousenkyoI saw Anna tweeted that there will be an impromptu handshake session. Since the sousenkyo stream was being wonky, I rushed Mindmix and Anggy to go to the handshake session with me. Knowing my luck, when we arrived the session ended but the girls were distributing flyers instead so I had to go see Anna and say something.

I yelled out “Anna!” to grab her attention. She saw me and immediately recognized me. “Half-chan, you really came!”. Not only did she recognized me but she remembered my name as well. No wonder people told me that she has a good memory. Their performance was up next and I couldn’t talk anymore. I was already being rude enough for taking her time when she should be heading to the stage to get ready. She gestured to me that she has to go to the stage while I nod understandingly that she needs to leave. She signaled me asking if I’ll be watching the live and I signaled back OK. It was a short interaction, but enough to make me feel happy.

By the evening performance, Ixa and Mocil came over to join us. We had so much fun headbanging to Kamen Joshi.

JKT_1stNightAfter Kamen Joshi, we sat around and continue struggling to stream Sousenkyo but ended up watching the twitter timeline instead. They were about to announce the Top 10, and every single announcement seemed to be taking such a long time.

JKT_ResultOnce Sasshi was announced as Number 1 again I laughed in all their faces and followed Anggy back. Kamen Joshi and Sousenkyo streaming with friends, it wasn’t what I had in mind a year before but it seemed perfect. I ended the day with an email from JKT48 saying I won the theater application for tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I would be seeing JKT48 and Dempagumi. I can’t wait.

2nd June: The last night

January 12, 2016 by

After our dinner in Shibuya, we head back to Ryogoku to meet up with Souchan, Momo and Toki. Wayne and Brad heads to the apartment first to drop some stuff while the rest of us waited by the train station. I even suggested to Souchan that tonight was the night. We had planned to bust in the other guy’s room early in the morning to get some wake up prank footage. It was perfect. I had to get up early for my flight back home and it was my last night here. We had it planned, go to Karaoke, then when everyone is tired and goes to bed, we’ll surprise them with a camera.

Wayne and Brad arrives with Hayate and all 10 of us, along with Rick and Renz that tagged along since Fuji-Q, heads up to one of the Karaoke spots in Ryogoku. We found a good one that is super cheap and has unlimited refills on drinks. (of course, I drank Melon Juice the whole night)

7thNight_KaraokeIt was a happy night filled with laughters and singing non-stop Japanese songs. I mean, just listen to our out of pitch rendition of “Heavy Rotation“.

Karaoke1It was one song after another. From AKB to SKE to HKT to NMB. We sang anime songs. J-pop, J-Rock and any other J-genres. Until we realized that it was already 2am.

KaraokeWe exhausted all the Japanese song we know and moved on to English songs. And what English song is the most stapled Karaoke song ever, if not “Bohemian Rhapsody”.


We sang a romaji version of “Saakuru Obu Raifu” (Circle of Life) and even messed up and adlibs on songs. We were all being silly and having fun all night long.

Hayate was the one to leave first, leaving us scavenging the song list and are now singing Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Eminem & Linkin Park. Then, Souchan, Momo, Toki and Gert left, leaving me, Brad, Wayne, Rick & Renz still singing any song we could find.

Karaoke2It was almost 5am when we left, as I had to rush back to grab the 6am train to get to the airport. It was kind of euphoric to stay up all night with your friends. I wanted to get the most out of my last day in Japan and I felt like I did. Me, Brad and Wayne rode up the elevator together and we parted ways and said our goodbyes while I try to hold back my tears. Going into my room I was hoping the Germans would be asleep but Souchan and Momo was up.

They watched me hurriedly pack my bags (should have done that earlier to be honest) and I told them if I have left anything here just take it with them. I remember joking around about the wake up prank idea, thinking it’s probably late to do it now. I probably choked on my goodbye since I didn’t want to say it. Told them I was late to catch my train and left them right after I zip up my last bag, crying on my way down the elevator.

It was probably the tiredness of having spend the whole day at Fuji-Q and spending the whole night singing, I haven’t bathe, haven’t slept for 25 hours and was overwhelmed with emotions. I didn’t want to leave. But I had to.


I had so much fun this past week it felt like a dream. To be meeting friends from across the miles, idols that I have been watching or hear about, new friends and new idols, the places I went, the things I did… if this was a dream, I did not want to wake up. I must have looked like a crazy person trying to hold back my tears at the airport and failing to do so.8thDay_FlightI was so happy I’m surrounded by friends who shares a similar interest, even when we come from all over the world. A week flies by so fast and it’s hard to believe that I have to come in to work the next day. I couldn’t have ask for a more perfect group of people to accompany me on my first trip to Japan. Out of all the weirdos I could have met on the internet, I was glad it was them.


1st June: Fuji Q Highland

January 11, 2016 by

After 2 super fun days with idols, I didn’t want the fun to stop. Ricky wanted to go to Fuji-Q so he asked if anyone else was interested. Me, Brad, Wayne & Gert are up for it, along with other fans we found during the 2-shot event. We bought the Q-Pack that includes the bus tickets and the entrance ticket.

7thDay_TicketsNow, I’m not really good with roller coasters. But I’m not that terrified of them. So, I’m not really looking forward to roller coasters, just a fun day to hang out with my friends.

7thDay_QPackIt was a Monday on 1st June but there was quite a lot of people in Fuji-Q that day. All of us rode the same bus and we head on inside.

7thDay_FujiQWe’re join by Rick (Indonesia), Mai-chan (Malaysia), SHaihh (Germany), Kou (Australia) and Renz (Philippines) along with the AIDOL crew Gert (Netherlands), Wayne (England) and Brad (America). That’s 8 different countries coming together as friends. Pretty cool, huh.

I love how we all made Kou to check if he pass the requirement height for roller coasters. He did. Barely.

7thDay_ColinThe first roller coaster we saw was FUJIYAMA. All big and high in all its glory. I was starting to dread it.

7thDay_Fujiyama7thDay_RCSHaihh and Renz didn’t join us so we head on to ride FUJIYAMA. I love how Gert is so into it and it was the happiest I’ve ever seen him.

7thDay_GertFUJIYAMA is one of the highest roller coaster and at the peak you can actually see Mt. Fuji (which I didn’t because they took my glasses away, also because my eyes were closed). The thing about FUJIYAMA is they go so high and the first drop is so fast. Then, there was a second drop. And a third drop. A forth. Fifth. I don’t know, but by the 11th drop or so I was done. The ride felt so long. Everyone had a thrilled and happy face after the ride but I was coming down with a fever and shaky legs.

Fujiyama POV ride I grabbed from youtube.

The next roller coaster we rode was Dodonpa.7thDay_Dodonpa2Now, on the map, Dodonpa looked okay. There was only one drop which I thought I could handle after the massive FUJIYAMA that I rode. We even took note of the camera point, where Wayne suggested we do “Mentaiko” pose for it. I was game. Dodonpa and Mentaiko pose. Got it.

7thDay_DodonpaWell, let me tell you first that Dodonpa is WORSE than FUJIYAMA. Sure, there is only one drop that IS STEEP AS HELL. And the super speedy acceleration at the beginning? I think I left my heart back there at the starting point. Anyway, just look at this video that is giving me PTSD just by watching it again.

And the camera point? Wayne was shouting, “Mentaiko! Mentaiko!” and everybody got their hands up and did Mentaiko poses in time. Well, everyone except me. I was still screaming/yelling from the speed and well…

7thDay_MeI’m not even hiding my face because of privacy, I just looked really bad in it. And Wayne, the sadistic bastard that he is, bought the picture to commemorate it forever. The guys lined up for Takabisha next, which has a very steep 90 degrees drop. I NOPE the hell out of there. I was done.

We walked around to the haunted house but it was closed which saddens Renz as he was looking forward to it. But on the way there, we finally saw Mt. Fuji, shyly appearing behind the clouds.

7thDay_FujiSanWe decided to get up the ferris wheel to get a better look at Mt. Fuji.

7thDay_MtFujiIt was still a bit cloudy but the Ferris Wheel was a good ride to rest from all the crazy ones. My legs were still shaking from Dodonpa to this very day.

The boys decided to ride Panic Clock, which later turned into Panic Cock for Brad when his balls was stuck in the straps when they were high up in the air. I didn’t ride it (still traumatized from Dodonpa) but all I could see is them laughing themselves silly while still up in the air because Brad is screaming, “OW!! MY NUTS!”.

7thDay_PanicClockIt was a long day, and after a quick bite we head for the bus stop. I had a lot of fun and was being melancholy about it. Tonight would be my last night in Japan as tomorrow morning is my flight. I only have 15 hours left in Japan, and I did not want to go back home.

7thDay_OverWe waited by the bus stop for our bus and a bus heading to Hakata was there. Tomorrow, I would be leaving Japan and they would be leaving Tokyo to head to Hakata, where the Sousenkyo will be held. I really wanted to join them but I can’t. It took everything I had in me to stop myself from riding this bus to Hakata.

7thDay_HakataWe got on our bus as scheduled and Mt. Fuji finally showed up to bid goodbye to us.

7thDay_ByeIt was a long, fun and tiring day. But I didn’t want it to end. So we made plans with Souchan, Momo, Toki & Hayate to join us for Karaoke later near our apartment.

One last night in Japan and I wanted to make full use of it.

31st May: Live PLUS Festival

January 10, 2016 by

I woke up on 31st May with my legs being so sore from the 2-shot the day before, I could barely move. I promised Wayne and Brad that I would go with them for the Live PLUS Festival but I was on the verge of cancelling. There was no idol group there that I know and almost every group is an underground idol group, something I wasn’t familiar about. I remember I texted a friend back home jokingly said that I was thinking of resting the whole day because my legs were so sore. She got really mad saying it was not everyday I’m in Japan so I have to go out and enjoy every single day. She was right, so I fought through the pain and got up.

I thought nothing could beat the whole day of happiness and enjoyment I felt during the 2-shot event. I was about to be proven wrong.

We got every single thing we planned to go wrong for this day to happen. Me and Wayne initially wanted to go to Hokkaido today for HKT48’s concert but we missed the lottery deadline. Then we wanted to go to Passpo’s concert and we didn’t get that either. Brad suggested to go to Live PLUS Festival, but we couldn’t order the tickets online. Even after arriving in Japan, buying the tickets from Lawson seemed like the only possible way to do and we couldn’t even get that. With no hope, we decided to wing it and just go to the event, hoping they still had tickets left.

6thDay_TrainClad in their Kamen Joshi shirts and Akiba sandals, I got on the train with them (along with Souchan and Toki who is heading to SKE48’s handshake event) and we head back to Odaiba. It was almost 1pm when we reached the place and it was HOT.

6thDay_LivePlusWe asked around the ticket counter and lo and behold, we could still buy the tickets! I paid my 5,000 yen ticket and when the guy gave me my tickets he asked me which group that I wanted to see most. I hesitated in my answer as I don’t have any and he proceeded to show me a list of groups that will perform later. My first impression was “Holy smokes, that’s a lot of groups!” and my eyes immediately fell on Kamen Joshi as this was the group that Wayne and Brad was yammering about. I told him I’m here for Kamen Joshi and the ticket guy seemed happy about it.

6thDay_TicketThe stage was split into 4 areas, Clover Stage, Diamond Stage, Spade Stage and Heart Stage.

20150531_mapSince we arrived at 1pm, we missed all the morning performances. The timetable was posted everywhere so we could see which idol groups are at which stage.

20150531_ttWe went to Diamond stage first and my first exposure to underground idols was Musubizm. I didn’t develop any particular thoughts on the idol groups I was seeing really, I was just watching for the sake of watching. Musubizm ended and followed by sora tob sakana and TAKENOYAMA24. Around 2pm I started seeing a lot of wotas gathered at the Diamond stage for Shibuya Dominion. Me, Brad and Wayne joked around each performance and choose our oshis for each group that was performing.  I remember I enjoyed Shibuya Dominion very much but I can’t remember the songs they sang. Next, we kept staying at Diamond stage and watched AngeLip, Maria and loop.

6thDay_LiveRight around loop’s performances we decided to head to Spade stage where CLEARS was performing. Just listening closely to the lyrics I leaned in to Brad and asked him, “Are they… singing about cleaning?” which was answered by “No idea.”. Turns out, I asked the wrong guy and should have asked Wayne about it because they actually are. CLEARS was an idol group that aims to clean Japan and I thought that was an amazing concept. I was intrigued.

CLEARS’ performance ended at 3.30pm and we headed into the air-conditioned building to have a drink before we head to Heart Stage at 4pm for Kamen Joshi.

6thDay_2BeersAndaCokeAt 4pm, when we arrived at the stage and it seemed small. I followed the guys and headed to the front of the stage where we realized that only Wayne and Brad was fully clad in Kamen Joshi T-shirts and Akiba Sandals. It was then we realized we were not at Heart Stage but at Spade Stage instead! We rushed back to Heart Stage and caught Kamen Joshi in time.

The energy was amazing and I was quite impressed. The only song I was familiar with was “Genkidane” because Wayne asked me for help on it when Kamen Gaijin was subbing the video. But I thoroughly enjoyed all other performances as well. I really grew fond of “Alice in Underground” and “CLAP” quickly. Even their MC session was fun.

After their performances I followed them to Kamen Joshi’s buppan, where the cheki session will be held. I lined up with them without knowing any of the members, but their center was the one stood out for me, so I asked Wayne for her full name. When I reached the cheki counter, I asked for Tachibana Anna.

“Wide 2-shot with Tachibana Anna!”

Anna looked towards me and had the biggest smile. I smiled back nervously.

[Conversation in Japanese]
Anna: You know my name, I’m so happy!
Me: Actually my friend is a fan, he told me your name. That was the first time I watched a Kamen Joshi performance.
Anna: Well, thank you for wanting to take a cheki with me! Did you enjoy the performance?
Me: Very! I had so much fun.
Anna: What pose?
Me: What do you like?
Anna: Let’s do hearts!
Me: Okay!

*Takes cheki shot*

6thDay_AnnaAnna: What is your name? *while signing the photo*
Me: Half.
Anna: Ah, Half-chan. What a cute name! Where are you from?
Me: I’m from Malaysia.
Anna: Oh, we’re having a live in Jakarta next week!! Please come!

In short, Anna’s enthusiasm took over and I made a promise to fly to Jakarta to see her. Before, I only know about underground idols through reading or watching or Wayne hammering about them to me. But after experiencing them for real, watching their live and having a cheki taken together, I get it now. My 1 cheki shot with Anna was more time than I had with all my 2-shot with the 48 girls combine. And not just the issue with time too, the fact that I could converse more with her than I did with any idols I ever had was huge.  I was smitten, and I was hooked.

We headed back into the hall to meet Souchan and Toki who had just finished their SKE48 handshake event. Since we still had time before Petit Pas, a group Wayne has an interest in, we stayed at Heart Stage and watched a performance by Stella☆Beats. There was a girl that grabbed my attention but I didn’t know her name then. I never really believe in fate but looking back it was probably destiny that I ended up enjoying Stella☆Beats as much as I do now. But that’s another story for another time.

LivePlusAfter Stella☆Beats it was Candy GO GO. There were a lot of fans around and we had 15 minutes before we have to leave to head out to Spade Stage for Petit Pas performance. All the members came out, in leather-clad outfit and I whispered to Wayne, “We can still watch them for a bit, right?”. Wayne points me out to one of the members (who we later found out is called Ai Ai), he leaned in and said, “Nice arse”. I laughed. This is such a stupid moment to even write about but I’ve been harrowing myself that I never did blend with them as well as I did as Half-san. But that comment, as stupid as it is, just reassured me that I was worrying about nothing. That maybe I’m putting “Half” on a higher pedestal than myself. When in actuality, I am Half. And Half is me. I know I don’t really reveal my photos or my personal details much online, but everything that Half does, that’s me. Everything Half says, I say the same thing. Despite how I look in real life. In fact, these people know me better than half of my real life friends know me. None of my real life friends would ever comment to me, “Nice arse” about some underage Japanese girl in tight leather clothes (turns out she wasn’t underage but you never know with these Japanese idols). But Wayne did. Because he knows me. It was something I would find amusing and I really did. He doesn’t know this but those two words reassured me more about our friendship than our adventure this whole week ever did. It was silly, but that was how I felt at that time.

As we shake off our attention from the mesmerizing performance, we head to Spade Stage just in time for Petit Pas. Wayne’s oshi was Kokoro, someone who he has been supporting quite a while in the Cheerz app. And this was the first time meeting her. After Petit Pas, we head back in to Clover Stage for Takenoko, a group that Brad has an interest in. Takenoko was fun and cheerful and I remember liking one of the members, Mai really hard. She was funny and a bit tomboyish, and was really cheerful throughout the performance.

After their performance we head back to Clover Stage and lined up for Petit Pas’ buppan. At first I didn’t feel like getting a cheki but after Wayne and Brad called me over to help them translate something, I found myself in line with them as well.

Wayne was up first to see Kokoro and just watching from the sideline, it was truly an amazing sight to behold. Wayne pointed out to Kokoro that he is Ponchan (his online name that he used in cheerz) and Kokoro just has the biggest smile and basically screamed, “Ponchan???” and hugged Wayne so hard I think he must have felt like dreaming. I remember me and Brad was so happy for Wayne. Kokoro even went to the other members and introduced Wayne to them, “It’s Ponchan! Ponchan is here!” and the other members looked surprised as well. I felt so lucky to witness such an amazing idol-fan interaction right in front of me. Wayne has been supporting her for quite a while now and the fact that she knows who Wayne is, I find that amazing.

KokoroBrad was up next and he took a cheki with Kokoro as well. Wayne was off at the side just having a glazed look of disbelief on his eyes, I don’t think he even remembered that we were lined up behind him. I looked over at Brad and he was pointing his middle finger to Kokoro and I was like, “WTF are you doing, Brad. Oh my God.” and keep signalling to Wayne to look at Brad and see what he was doing.  Kokoro had a very concern look on her face and keep signaling “No, No.” with her hands until finally they took a cheki, with Kokoro flipping her middle finger to Brad and Brad acting sorry.

My turn was up and I used Wayne’s name and told Kokoro that I was Ponchan’s friend. She seemed so happy and I got a hug as well for using Wayne’s name. It was not a bad day to be Ponchan’s friend.

6thDay_KokoroBrad then heads back into the building for Takenoko’s buppan. I wanted to follow Brad inside but didn’t know why I didn’t. It was such a regret because the group disbanded right after I came back from Japan. At least Brad got a last cheki with them, and also that epic cheki from Kokoro.

6thDay_BradAfter all those performance, I was pretty hungry. Okay, I’m under-selling it, I was feeling ravenous really. We head to the food area and dashed to the Kebab food truck.

6thDay_KebabI haven’t really eaten properly that day and the Halal kebabs were tempting. Not to mention the guys keeping making fun of me yelling, “Look! It’s HALAL!!” out of pure excitement that I could eat the kebabs. The kebab was magical, it was huge and delicious and probably the best kebab that I have eaten in my life thus far.

But then, something even more magical happen.

Remember when I said I was watching Stella☆Beats earlier? I remember I really enjoyed their performance and jotted down a few notes in my phone to check them out after this event is over. So, while we were eating kebabs, one of the members, Aya, approached us to distribute flyers for their one-man live in Shibuya. She was cheerful, and greeted us when anyone else would avoid a group of foreigners like us.

[Conversation in Japanese, Italics is English]

Aya: Hello~
Us: Hello~
Aya: I am from Stella Beats… (shows us flyers)
Me: Sorry my hands are full. (Pointing to the kebabs)
Aya: This is a flyer for our one-man live, please come.
Me: When is it?
Aya: It’s on 14th June.
Me: Ah, I don’t think I could make it.
Aya: It’s okay, you can still take our flyers, here.
Me: Sorry. (points to kebab)
Aya: Then, don’t mind me.

She leaned in, slid her hand over my messenger bag, and slip the flyers in. I don’t know her, but that sudden close contact could make anyone’s heart beat a little faster. I almost chocked on my kebab. It was a subtle fishing, but I was hooked. She kept talking to us after.

Aya: Is it delicious?
Me: So delicious! But then I’m hungry too, haha. By the way, I watched your live earlier.
Aya: Really? Thank you!
Me: Yes, it was really fun. We really enjoyed it.
Souchan: Really fun!
Aya: Thank you.

By this time the other girls starts joining our conversation. Including the girl that I noticed before. But I still didn’t know her name. Brad and Wayne went somewhere else I think to either finish their Kebab or looked at something else.

Aya: Ne, they watched our performance earlier!
Other members: Ehhh, really?? Thank you!!
Aya: Where are you from?
Me: Well, I’m from Malaysia, and these two are from Germany.
Stella☆Beats: WOW!
Me: And those two over there is from England and America.
Stella☆Beats: WOWWW!!
Me: We’re from all over the world, haha.
Aya: And you’re friends?
Me: Yeah, I met them online.
Aya: Your kebab looks so delicious.
Me: Sorry if I’m rude, haha.

I went away to finish my kebab because it felt rude to kept eating while talking to her. While I was disposing my kebab wrappings, I saw Souchan signalling me to come help him. Seems like he approached Aya for something.

Me: What is it?
Souchan: I was just asking for their twitter.
Aya: I don’t know if he could search for it, his twitter is in English (it was actually in German).
Souchan: This one?
Stella☆Beats: Yes!
Souchan: Okay! Follow!
Stella☆Beats: Thank you! Thank you!

They were really grateful that Souchan followed them on twitter. Even their manager thank us (he was there to pay for their kebabs since the girls all craved kebabs after watching us eat lol). I remember turning to Souchan after all the conversation and said, “Did that just happen? We didn’t have to pay anything, right?”. They were so nice even though we were foreigners, who cant even attend their one-man live. Not to mention we didn’t even pay anything, we were just getting kebabs! I’m rambling but that Kebab-StellaBeats invasion earned them a fan in me. That interaction really made me interested in them. It was such a priceless experience, to have an idol coming up to you and start a conversation. Then to have all members of the idol group coming over and being in awe in everything you say. If I have to describe that experience in one word, it was magical. Truly is.

6thDay_KebabsIn hindsight, it was great that I get to go to Live Plus after the 2-shot event. Not only could I compare both events and feel the difference but also I had so much more confidence in my Japanese after 2-shot. To be able to carry a conversation with Anna or with Aya, I feel proud of myself. All this while, it’s been pretty one-sided. I could get away with translating half-assedly about my idols or their variety shows, but I never really had the chance to use Japanese myself. I don’t have anyone to practice with and my sentence structure was shit. It still is. But the fact that they could find me understandable, I find it reassuring. There’s still a lot for me to learn, it’s never ending for me. But after that day, with all the interaction I made, I was feeling pretty satisfied.

I came back with a new confidence in my Japanese, and a new-found love for underground idols. And I have never looked back since.

10 tips for the 2-shot event

January 9, 2016 by

After actually experiencing 2-shot event itself, I could finally help or give some tips to people who are planning to go to 2-shots event in the future. Basically, these are all things I learn from going to the 2-shot event.

1. Give yourself time to rest.

If I could redo my day I would probably not have gone for 2 girls in each slot. Going for all the slots meaning I didn’t have enough time for rest. I didn’t have enough time to sit down or eat. And by the 6th slot I was already feeling the tiredness.

I spend most if not all of my day just queuing up and standing so my legs were giving out by the end of the day. If you think you could handle standing the whole day then go for it. If you know your own body, then give it a time to rest. Skip a slot or two.

Some info on slots for guide:
Slot 1: 09:00 – 10:30 (You must be in line by 10:00)
Slot 2: 10:30 – 12:00 (You must be in line by 11:30)
Slot 3: 12:00 – 13:30 (You must be in line by 13:00)
Slot 4: 13:30 – 15:00 (You must be in line by 14:30)
Slot 5: 15:00 – 16:30 (You must be in line by 16:00)
Slot 6: 16:30 – 18:00 (You must be in line by 17:30)
Slot 7: 18:30 – 20:00 (You must be in line by 19:30)
Slot 8: 20:00 – 21:30 (You must be in line by 21:00)

2. Pair popular members with unpopular members

Popular members will have more people lining up for them. I remember for Slot 6 Sayanee, I started lining up at around 6.45pm (I went to Kanon first) and it was almost 7.40pm when I actually got to her. That’s an hour to spend in line for a popular member. With only 1 and a half hours in each slot, imagine having Sayanee and Mayuyu in 1 slot. You might make it to both if you hurry, but I won’t take the chance.


3. 2 members max, 3 in a slot is cutting it close

Conversely, you could try having 3 semi-popular members in one slot. I tried doing Murashige, Nako, Murashige in slot 4 and was cutting it close with 5 minutes left in Murashige’s second round. That said, if you want to have as many members for 2-shot like me, don’t risk it. Stick it to 2-3 members per slot. And for a popular Kami-member, pair it with someone less popular.

4. Bid for popular members first

This is during the round applications. The rounds are open with first round you can only apply for 5 names. You want to go for the popular ones first because everyone else is doing that as well. I had 2-shots with Sasshi, Shimada, Yukachan, Tomiyoshi, Emili, Murashige, Nako, Sakura, Boss, Mio, Miku, Sayanee, Kanon, Tano and Chori. For the first round I applied for Sasshi twice, Sayanee, Sakura and Mio. I got all 5.

When the list of the girls appear, jot down the girls you want to have 2-shot with. Then, arrange them by popularity and apply for the most popular members first. If you don’t know how popular your favorite members are, Sousenkyo rankings are a good gauge of that. You don’t want to apply for your favorite members too late only to found out they have sold out their slot.

5. Bring food/water

Well, they have food and water but if you’re me and you have 2 girls in each slot, you won’t have time to queue up to buy food & water. I had a couple of onigiri and a bottle of water in my bag. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to get me going through the day.

And if you have friends who doesn’t have as many slots as you, you can always message them to line up for food for you. Muahaha.

6. Take note of the lanes

When you get into the hall, they have this huge list of names and a map in the middle of the hall. You want to take note, jot down in your book or even snap a picture so you can know which lane your members are at. It’s easy, and you don’t have to come back to the middle of the hall every time you want to see which next lane you should go to.


7. Before 2-shot

Get your tickets stamped! Bring your passport and your tickets and get it verified. The counter is located beside the entrance when I went. You also need the passport and tickets every time you go for a 2-shot. The flow is queue up for verification at each lane, show your passport & tickets, queue up again for the 2-shot, before you reach the member open the camera on your phone and remember to leave your belongings before you enter the booth. Once you show your ticket and your phone to the staff near the booth, you’re ready.

8. Powerbank

I can’t stressed how important this is. 2-shot is taken using your own phone so the last thing you want to happen is your phone running out of battery. Also, no powerbanks are allowed to still be attached to your phone during the 2-shot, I learned it the hard way. So make sure your phone is always charged and ready.

9. Plan your pose

I mostly just wing it on most of my poses but there were a few poses that I knew I wanted to do. Because they will 100% ask “What pose?” during the 2-shot. This is your chance to get the girl to do any pose that you desire (obviously not indecent poses). You can ask back the member what is THEIR favorite pose if you like as well if you don’t have any. Or you can continue the running joke and ask Mio to do a peace pose to compare with mine, Wayne’s and Souchan’s Mio peace pose.

Mio_Peace10. Plan on what to say

Yeah, I wasn’t exactly sure if I would use advice this since I didn’t follow it at all. Or rather, when I did follow and planned what I wanted to say usually the reply was nothing I expected and the conversation strayed away from what I imagined.

But if you don’t know any Japanese, plan on a phrase that you want to say. For me my go-to phrase was, “Nice to meet you! I came from Malaysia!” (Hajimemashite, Mareshia kara kimashita!). It’s always nice to see the girl’s reaction and surprise especially if you’re a foreigner who came from faraway place.

In short, you don’t have to plan every single conversation. Stick to a phrase and let the conversation flow naturally from there. It’s not just a 2-shot. It’s also your chance to interact with your oshimen. Imagine that you only have 2 seconds to say the things you want to say, be clear. Be concise. Be flexible. And most importantly, enjoy the time.

30th May: 2-shot event – Earthquake & the aftermath

January 8, 2016 by

Still reeling in the shock from the quake, I gathered myself to meet up with the other AIDOL gang. It seems like everyone else had the same idea because soon enough, most of the people are gathered in the same area. I was surprised by the calmness of the Japanese people, probably because they are more used to this. Everyone started to gather very quietly, like they already know what to do. If this were back in my country, people would be running around here and there, riots everywhere, probably.

Staff were announcing that the 2-shot event is in halt until further notice. Initial report was a 8.5 magnitude earthquake, almost double what I felt last night. I can’t remember but everyone seems to be finished with their slot, except for Brad who is still lining up for either Nishino Miki or Komiyama Haruka. I remember Souchan folding up the banner, they just planned to get a picture with it but dismissed the idea after the panic. I wasn’t there but apparently Gert was so shocked he looked like a scared kitten. 2-shot event resumes after half an hour or so, after no more quakes were felt. It was the last slot anyway, and there were not many people around.

After everyone has finished we followed the crowd out from the building, stopping for a few minutes to grab a group photo, something that had slipped our mind because of the earthquake.  All 8 of us with various AIDOL fans and new friends we met at 2-shot.

5thDay_AIDOLFunny story about the banner. I was in charged of it and I just ordered the size randomly never knowing it would resulted in that size, hahaha. Wayne and Souchan vowed that I would not be in charge of banner duties ever again.

ChatReaching the train station was of no use as well, as all the trains were delayed. We were stranded. And hungry.


After going back into the building and failing to find a restaurant, we settled for food from the conbini nearby. And again, it seems everyone was feeling hungry as well because we ate a lot. I think we almost cleared out all the food in the conbini. Feeling full, we head back to the train station. Train started to move but not all the lines and stations are. After transferring and changing lines here and there, we managed to find a route that will actually take us home. After a few train transfers, we parted ways with the new friends we made at the 2-shot event until finally it was just the 8 of us left.

Now, bear with me. And with my words, use it to paint your imagination for the scenario.

It was the last train change we need to make before we reach home. Since we rarely take this line, we were not familiar with the train as well. We didn’t want to miss the last train since it was late. The train platform was upstairs and while walking up the stairs, we heard the train coming. Wayne, Brad, Momo, and Toki ran up to catch the train while me, Hayate, Souchan & Gert trailed behind. Wayne just rushed into the train, followed by Brad, Momo and Toki, while me and Hayate was looking around to see if we are on the right train. So there we were, with Wayne, Brad, Momo and Toki in the train and the rest of us still on the platform. When suddenly, Gert decides to rush into the train anyway. And the unthinkable happens.

The train door SLAMMED on Gert! Hard. It closed on him but opens back up again. Wayne, Brad, Momo & Toki in the train looked terrified. So did Souchan, me and Hayate on the platform. Gert quickly gets into the train anyway and me, Hayate and Souchan looked at each other without saying anything and thinking in our heads, “Holy shit! Should we get in?”. At the time it was scary. And terrifying. Especially after watching the door slams on Gert.

Souchan, bless him, jumps onto the train less than a second after Gert and AGAIN the door slams on him. But this time, it didn’t open back up. And Souchan was stuck in the train doors and the lights and sounds were beeping indicating it’s about to leave the station.

Okay, now from the platform side (me and Hayate’s), all I could see is his bag and the banner stuck between the door, while Souchan struggling to get into the train. So I yelled, “LEAVE THE BANNER! LEAVE THE BANNER!” in sheer panic, thinking the train was about to move. What I didn’t notice, one of Souchan’s leg was also stuck outside. So Wayne, Brad, Momo & Toki in the train could see the sheer panic on Souchan’s face while he whimpers, “My leg…” with me shouting in the background “LEAVE THE BANNER!” from the platform.

Suddenly the door opens back up and Souchan hurriedly got into the train. Me and Hayate didn’t even communicate, we looked at each other and jumped into the train in less than a second, and breath a sigh of relief when the door slowly closes after we jumped. Then the train started moving again.


Bear in mind, all of that (from the moment Gert jumped) probably happened in a span of 20-30 seconds. It all happened so quickly but we had a million things rushing through our mind. We were all silenced in total shock. But after a minute or so, after everyone had gathered their thoughts, we laughed like crazy. Laugh-out-loud crazy! Which was really rude considering the train etiquette in Japan.

I remember Wayne mentioning that was the one time he wished he had a go-pro constantly filming that expression of pure horror on Souchan’s face. To quote Wayne, “Seriously though, you couldn’t see his face, it was like in those horror movies, when the bad guy finally catches someone, like just slightly catches their leg? That realization of getting caught… the pure fear… just looking at you like “PLEASE. HELP ME. PLEASE!!!”

I’m happy no one got hurt (Although Souchan’s ankle was a bit sore) but looking back, it was really funny. And is my go-to story to tell my friends and family after I got back home.

The lesson here kids, don’t rush into trains.

It was a long and happy and tiring day. And we ended in true AIDOL style, with pure panic and a burst of laughter. Otsukaresama, Souchan.



30th May: 2-shot event – The big day

January 7, 2016 by

We were suppose to get ready by 6.30am to head out to the train station so we can arrive at Tokyo Big Sight in time. However, due to nervousness I was up since 4am. I decided to walk around the park a bit to calm down this nervous ache I have in my gut. It’s the same nervous ache I would get before a very big exam or a very important interview. Every time there’s something life changing about to happen I get this painful bouts of stomach aches and my nerves gets all tingly. This 2-shot is the big reason why I made this trip, and the day was finally here.

By 5.30am, everyone was up and getting ready, while I double and triple check my tickets, my passport and my electronics.  I think this was when I found out that yesterday night we were hit by a 4.8 magnitude earthquake. Which felt quite apt since we’re heading out to see the 48G girls today. By 6.30am, everyone was ready and we left our house.

5thDay_TouristAt the train station we were approached by 2 foreigners asking questions about directions. It felt nice to be helping out people so early in the morning so we were feeling good.


My phone was being an idiot at this time as the battery kept depleting and it didn’t want to open the camera. While everybody was relaxed, I was struggling with my power banks, trying to keep the battery above 15%.

5thDay_BigSightWe reached the place right before 8am. Just in time to be in queue and one of the few first to get our tickets verified, something that is safe to do if you’re a foreigner.They will validate and compare each of your tickets and stamp it. Once stamped, you would find little problems to enter each lane, as I did. My name on the passport and the tickets was quite different, but since everything was stamped, I had no problems in each lane.

5thDay_TicketsI walked around after validating my tickets, jotting down the number of the girls lane that I would be seeing and also looking around the sousenkyo posters.

5thDay_PostersMy first member was Sasshi, and Souchan was with me. I followed his lead and in about a few minutes, I’m about to meet Sashihara Rino. Nervous was an understatement, and the fact that while we were lining up, the little girl in front of us kept staring at me didn’t help. I look different, I know that much. With Souchan or Wayne or the rest, they look like your typical gaijin (foreigner). I don’t look Japanese, nor do I look like your average gaijin. In fact, during the whole day, I didn’t think I met anyone who resembled me at all. So with the little girl giving me curious looks, I was scared I would be getting the same looks from the members as well.

Sasshi was a member who I meant to see for the longest time. We both have the same oshi in Morning Musume, Kamei Eri. And Eri has a famous pose she does in a skit, which is “Gazen Tsuyome”.

gazentsuyomeMost of the members I would just go with whatever poses they wanted, but Sasshi was one of the few that I knew what I wanted. I wanted to talk to her about Eririn. I wanted to tell her thanks about all the things she did with HKT48. I wanted to tell her I appreciate her. What I didn’t anticipated was how short the timing of the 2-shot would be. And how tongue tied I would become.

2Shot_Sasshi[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you.
Sasshi: Hello, ah nice to meet you. What pose?
Me: Because I’m a fan of Eririn… *points to shirt*
Sasshi: Ah, nice!
Me: Eric Kamezou’s pose..
Sasshi: Gazen tsuyome!
Me: YES!

I couldn’t even finish my sentence but I was glad that Sasshi knew what I wanted. For her to recognize what shirt I was wearing (which was Eririn’s grad t-shirt) and for her to know the pose before I actually showed it was something that proved to me that she is truly a fan of Eririn. It was nice to actually get a few words in even though it was a short time. I went out of the booth with tears in my eyes because I was too happy. I was glad Souchan was there, I really needed a friend at that time. My next girl was Shimada Haruka, my AKB oshi.

I wanted to say a lot with Shimada. A LOT. I imagined our conversations in my head, going with I saw her in Jakarta, or just telling her I’m a huge fan from Malaysia, or I voted for her in Sousenkyo, or telling her I’m anticipating a Team K with her as captain, or even to say the gaijins behind me are my friends (Brad & Momo also applied to have a 2-shot with Shimada because of me). Let me tell you first, that none of that happened. Instead…

2Shot_Shimada[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you.
Shimada: Wow, you’re so fluent!
Me: No…(In my heart: NO WAY)
Shimada: What pose?
Me: Err…(In my heart: SAY SOMETHING)
Shimada: Heart?
Me: Ahh..err…(In my heart: SAY ANYTHING)
Shimada: *smiles while extend her hand in a half heart*
Me: *mumbles thank you*

2shot_Shimada2[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: *gets up from sit*
Staff: Actually, you have 2 tickets.
Me: Ah… (In the panic, I actually forgot)
Shimada: Really? Thank you!!
Me: … (In my heart: OH MY GOD)
Shimada: What pose?
Shimada: Team K pose?
Me: *starts doing Team K hand sign*
Shimada: Oh, you know! *smiles sweetly*
Me: *smiles like an idiot*


That was the worse tongue tied situation I had ever been. Ever. Queuing up for Shimada’s lane after Sasshi’s was a shock. I’ve always known or read about how a popular member could have you queue up for hours and nobody would be lining up for an unpopular member but to see it first hand, it just saddened me that there was no one in Shimada’s lane. I had 2 tickets for Shimada and used both at once but looking back, I wished I had done a loop and did it one at a time. I was so tongue tied I couldn’t get to say what I wanted to say. She was so kind, and beautiful, and when she praised my Japanese even though I’ve only uttered a sentence, I just lost all my train of thought. If I could have a do-over on my 2-shot session, I pick this one. As the day got by, I got so much better at conversing and managing my time during 2-shots, I wished I had met Shimada later during the day and not after I was overwhelmed after meeting Sasshi. She was the only one I regretted how our session went by. I was nervous, speechless and didn’t get to convey what I wanted to say originally.

2nd slot was up next and I got Sasshi again. I wanted to go with a funny pose this time and was thinking of explaining to Sasshi about a flip-the-table pose but got cut halfway in my sentence by her.

2shot_Sasshi2[※All conversation in Japanese]
Sasshi: Hi!
Me: Hi again!
Sasshi: What pose?
Me: I was thinking if we could do…
Sasshi: You want to do a “he” (In Japanese the word he looks like this: へ) pose?
Me: A what?
Sasshi: Do this. *does the “he” pose*
Me: Okay… *follows along*

Dammit Sasshi! Hahaha! She couldn’t even let me finish my sentence and I had to follow her flow. But the best part was after the photo was taken, we had a little handshake and this conversation happened.

[※All conversation in Japanese]
Sasshi: Actually, who do you like?
Me: Murashige!
Sasshi: AHHH!!!! *points at me*
Me: *laughs like crazy*

It was funny that she figured out that she wasn’t my oshi. I had so much fun going into Sasshi’s lane and I know why people go to her lane as well. She makes you feel comfortable, like you’re talking to a friend rather than an idol. My conversations with Sasshi was pleasant, and I felt at ease. It’s probably the reason why she has so many fans as well. She can make you feel that she’s close to you, and she does it well . It’s no wonder she’s at the top, she knows how to pander to the wota community and she gets the vote of the casual fanbase as well because of her likability. And in the voting race of popularity, likability can get you very far.

My next member is Akiyoshi Yuka from HKT48, and I waited for Wayne & Brad as we have the same slot as well. Brad was lining up for Mayuyu and is taking such a long time so we ditched him as we feared we couldn’t be in time for Yukachan. I was undecided between a funny or a cute pose from Yukachan but I went with funny in the end.

2shot_Yukachan[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you, I came from Malaysia.
Yuka: Wow! Thank you! What pose?
Me: I really like your Chori bird imitation.
Yuka: Haha, it’s been a while since I did it.
Me: *starts doing the bird pose*
Yuka: *looks at me and laugh*
Me: No good?
Yuka: No, it’s perfect. I won’t lose. *Starts doing the bird pose*

I wanted a funny pose but I got a cute one. It’s such a win-win. My bird pose was ridiculous and I’m glad I don’t have to show it. I love that Yukachan was so into it and she looks cheerful, just how I imagined how she would be. It’s quite a while before Slot 3 starts so I meet up with the gang at the seats near the food corner. My next slot is Yamashita Emiri and Tomiyoshi Asuka from HKT48. Both are not popular members so I imagined the queue won’t be long. I made a pact with Souchan to meet up during Tomiyoshi’s slot as we had the same tickets.

Just as I figured there was little to no line at Emiri’s lane. In fact, I was the first one there and her first 2-shot of the day. After a while, a few more people started to line up after me and even though the line is short, it’s still longer than Shimada’s. Let me just start off that Emiri is the Kenkyuusei that got my attention from the start and I was excited to see her. I wished she had felt the same.

2shot_Emiri[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you, I came from Malaysia!
Emiri: Thank you.
Staff: Excuse me, sorry your phone just turned off.
Me: Sorry about that. *Takes phone from staff and tries to open the camera again*
Me: *looks at Emiri* Sorry, my phone is giving problems. Haha.
Staff: Okay, are you ready?
Me: What pose do you recommend?
Emiri: *starts silently holds up peace sign*
Me: *starts silently doing peace sign as well*

Uh… that was awkward. I don’t know if she was scared of me (she even looks scared in the photo) or it was because I was her first 2-shot and she needed to warm up first… but I felt awkward after her 2-shot. Even the handshake after the 2-shot, she was unenthusiastic and her hand felt limp. I really want to give her the benefit of the doubt, justifying it on the fact that I was her first 2-shot, or she is new at this. But in the back of my head I can’t help to feel that she judged me on how I looked. So she felt scared or threatened, and I hate myself for making her feel that way. Nevertheless, I was so high on her before our 2-shot, but I left with a sour feeling in my mouth. Maybe it was best if I didn’t went to her lane at all.

I met up with Souchan and we got ready for Tomiyoshi. Souchan went first and I could overhear all their conversations since Tomiyoshi is so loud.

[※All conversation in Japanese]
Tomiyoshi: Ah, you’re the Amina oshi!!
Souchan: Yes!
Tomiyoshi: Why did YOU come to Japan!
Souchan: Yes! Yes!

I just stood there, amazed. I knew that Tomiyoshi was Amina oshi, hence why Souchan went to her lane. But to recognized Souchan from a TV show that aired a year before? I was deeply impressed. My turn was next and I got excited.

2shot_Tomiyoshi[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you, I came from Malaysia!
Tomiyoshi: Oh my god!! Thank you!!! What pose do you like?
Me: Tomiyoshi revolution!
Tomiyoshi: Ehhhh, even in Malaysia you know about Tomiyoshi revolution?
Me: Of course! *starts doing the pose*
Tomiyoshi: Thank you!!!

Tomiyoshi revolution really doesn’t translate well in 2-shot with tables, haha. This was the only 2-shot that I wished the stupid table wasn’t there. But she was so cheerful and happy I felt nice going to her lane after Emiri. Me and Souchan even gushed about how she remembered Souchan as Amina oshi and needless to say we were both very satisfied with her. Since Emiri & Tomiyoshi’s lane was so quick, me and Souchan decided to look around, and see if we spot Shinobu or any of the theater managers. We’ve always planned to make AIDOL more of a legit translator for AKB shows but after many unanswered emails, perhaps meeting the managers one-on-one would speed up the process. Alas, the managers were nowhere to be found so we head back to the seatings in the food area, where AIDOL people seem to have set up camp there.

5thDay_YOUNot just Tomiyoshi recognized Souchan, even more Japanese people and foreign fans alike recognized Wayne & Souchan. “Why did YOU come to Japan?” had more impact that I thought it had and the line to have a 2-shot with them was longer than Shimada’s. Either that’s a testament to their popularity or a testament to Shimada’s unpopularity. They were also giving out Sousenkyo coasters for every food you buy and I was buying a few but couldn’t seem to get the girls that I like. Until Momo suddenly called out my name and waving a coaster to me.

5thDay_ShigeCoasterShe didn’t even offered but I just straightaway hugged her and grabbed the Shige coaster from her hand. It was the exact coaster I needed as Shige’s slot is up next. And I was nervous. I was about to meet my Oshimen.

5thDay_ShigeTicketI queued up with Wayne and SHaihh from AIDOL’s chatroom. Learning from Shimada’s slot, I decided to use only 1 of my ticket then line up again to get another one. Wayne was up first and I could hear her excitement! She recognized Wayne from YOU and thanked him for coming to see her again. I was happy for Wayne and was excited for my turn.

2shot_Shige[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you, I came from Malaysia!
Murashige: Thank you!!!
Me: That guy before me was on TV, right?
Murashige: Yes!! What pose do you like?
Me: How about Murashige pose?
Murashige: Okay!

*Shake hands*
Murashige: Thank you for coming!!
Me: I’ll come again, I have another ticket.
Murashige: I’LL BE WAITING!!!

I just came out grinning from ear to ear. She was all I imagined her to be. I tried to bait her to talk more by pointing out Wayne but I guess the script for the 2-shot is always, “Hi!” and “What pose?” for the girls because of the time constraint. As the day goes by, I got better and better at playing the conversation limit according to the time constraint but I felt good with Shige. She was also overjoyed when I said I was coming again and it makes me so happy to see her so cheerful. She was also the first one to make me think, “Damn. I wished this is a handshake event so I could talk to her longer.”

My next member was Nako. I was hesitating on either to line up for Shige again or go to Nako first, but I decided to go for Nako. Which felt like a huge mistake because her line was so long, I was scared that I would miss the time cut out for Shige’s lane. Since I was already lining up, I just stayed in Nako’s lane, just praying that the lane moves faster.

2shot_Nako[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you, I came from Malaysia!
Nako: Ohh…
Me: Let’s do “Obake wo taosu guntai da!
Nako: Okay. *smiles*

*Shake hands*
Me: Do you know where Malaysia is?
Nako: *thinks* Err… I do.
Me: Don’t lie!
Nako: Ahahaha.

First of all, let me explain “Obake wo taosu guntai da!” which is a phrase made famous when Nako appeared on Ariyosi AKB Kyowakoku. She was telling a story of how she met a ghost and promptly yelled “Watashitachi wa obake wo taosu guntai da!” (We are the army that defeat ghosts)

Nako It was a pose I wanted to try with Nako but poor girl was tired. She was exhausted. Just look at how tired she is in the 2-shot photo! She was there right beside Sasshi’s lane since morning and I remember watching her while lining up for Sasshi at 9am, she was so energetic then. It was 2pm when I saw her, she’s been doing nothing but 2-shots after 2-shots and her line has been relentlessly long, I felt it was too much for a 13-year old. She’s still a kid, which makes it funny when she pretended to know where Malaysia is when it was apparent on her face that she didn’t. If it was up to me I would order the rest of the people behind me to just go home and let the poor girl rest. But I was also part of the problem, as I was one of the ticket holder. I was happy that I got to meet Nako, but I felt bad at the same time. No kid should be subjected to this.

As I continue to mumble alone about the vicious idol world to myself, I ran back to Shige’s lane, with 10 minutes to spare before the lane closes. I got in just in the nick of time and was the second last person to see her for the slot.

2shot_Shige2[※All conversation in Japanese]
Murashige: You really came back!
Me: Haha, of course.
Murashige: What pose?
Me: Comeback! (I asked for 復活 pose which means comeback, also her theme for Sousenkyo this year)

*Shake hands*
Me: I’m voting for you this year.
Murashige: Thank you!! Coming again?
Me: Ah, no… that was my last ticket.
Murashige: Well, thank you for coming!!
Me: I had fun!
Murashige: Me too!

Hee. 🙂

That was all I felt after meeting her. I was glad that I split up the tickets as I got to get more conversations with her. She kept her cheerfulness till the end of the session and both times meeting her was so great. Maybe it was because she was my oshi and I’m being biased, but I really enjoyed my time. It was only Slot 4, the day was only half over and I still have 4 more slots left but I was over the moon.

8 more girls to go and the tiredness begins to step in. I’ve been doing nothing but queuing up the whole day. When Kou bought food, we all acted like polite savages, politely decline the first time but devours the food once we got a bite. Water was the most crucial for me as I felt more thirsty than I was hungry. And I hate to go out to get water because my schedule was packed with girls and missing it would be a no-no. So there I went, queuing up again in thirst, hoping the day moves on quickly. Next up, HKT48’s Miyawaki Sakura.

2shot_Sakura[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia.
Sakura: Wow, thank you! What pose?
Me: This one, from “Sakura minna de tabeta“.
Sakura: Okay.

Okay, that might seem boring but we had a running joke in the Half48 chatroom that the pose of the song looks like someone is smoking weed. I was hoping she would be holding it much closer to her mouth tho. Dammit Sakura, you can’t even smoke pretend weed right. She was so cute in her Alice costume and it would have been a much funnier and ridiculous photo if she had gotten the pose right, hahaha. Oh well. Next up was HKT48’s Tanaka Natsumi aka Boss.

2shot_Boss[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: BOSS!! *salutes*
Boss: (In English) WooOoWW FUROMMU WHEEARRE?
Me: Huh?
Boss: (In English) Furommu wheaaaree?
Me: Oh, I came from Malaysia.
Boss: What, so you know how to speak Japanese.
Me: Hahaha.
Boss: What pose?
Me: Let’s do doyagao (smug face).
Boss: Okay.

First of all, her “From where?” is so hilarious and thick that I didn’t even understand what she was saying. I thought she was saying some Japanese I didn’t know until it clicked to me that she was trying to converse in English with me. Second, I was imagining a much more smug doyagao from her but all I got was a Murashige pose instead, haha. She was funny and engaging. I love how instead of feeling embarrassed that I replied in Japanese, she sounded pissed instead, which I felt was so Boss of her. I expect nothing less.

Next up was HKT48’s Tomonaga Mio. I met up with Wayne since we both have the same slot. We decided to troll Mio and speak nothing but English with her since we know how salty she gets with foreigners, based on the variety shows that we watched of her. English was not her favourite subject, and I can’t wait to get me some salty and confused Mio.

2shot_Mio[※All conversation in English]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia!
Mio: Thank you! What pose?
Me: What pose do you like?
Mio: Peace!
Me: Okay!

*Shake hands*
Mio: Thank you! I’m happy!
Me: I’m happy as well! Good luck in Sousenkyo!

Well, that was unexpected. I went in expecting salty and confused Mio but she got me confused instead. She was nothing but lovely, even though I spoke nothing but English. And she tried her best speaking English as well. She went above and beyond from what I expected of her. I met up with Wayne and we compared shots and noticed that she did the peace sign with Wayne’s shot as well. Since Souchan’s Mio slot was up next we asked Souchan to do peace sign with Mio as well. After comparing our three shots, we concluded that Mio is a robot.

Mio_PeaceThis was from 3 different photos. Such a cute robot, hahaha.

HKT48’s Tanaka Miku was up next.2shot_Miku[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia!
Miku: Thank you so much! What pose?
Me: Let’s do Nako-chan’s “Obake wo taosu guntai da!
Miku: That pose sure is popular today.
Me: Really? Haha.

Again, I felt the same thing that I felt with Nako’s session. The poor girls are tired. And it shows. However, after having 2-shots with both Nako and Miku, it was apparent that Miku is the more professional of the two. While Nako embraces her child side more and acted playful and really show her tiredness, Miku was sitting up-straight, properly thanking me and gave a proper handshake on the way out. But she was still a kid.

2shot_NakoMikuI hate that I was part of the problem as well, and I vowed to get the girls in an earlier slot next time as the evening slot is too much. But would be getting the morning slot better? I was still contributing to their sales, and as long as they are the popular members, they are going to be subjected to long hours and more slots. As I talked myself through it, I concluded that subjecting these kids to long hours of 2-shots is just not right, but I didn’t come up with any proper solutions. It was a long standing tradition in idol world, and one gaijin is not going to be heard. Maybe my brain was also tired at this point onwards but even though I was feeling happy, something just felt wrong about this whole 2-shot thing.

I decided to shake the feeling off and meet up with the Ago Brothers, Rick & Brad, aka the Kimoto Kanon oshis.

5thDay_AGOBrosMy next 2 girls was SKE48’s Kimoto Kanon and NMB48’s Yamamoto Sayaka. I lined up early for Kanon because I know Sayanee’s lane is gonna be loooooong.

2shot_Kanon[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia!
Kanon: Wow! Thank you!
Me: I’m actually HKT48 oshi, so I want to thank you for being a concurrent in HKT48.
Kanon: Thank you for your support, what pose do you like?
Me: Any poses you recommend?
Kanon: Let’s do “Gao“!
Me: Okay.

Kanon was a pleasure to talk with. Being the only SKE48 member that I took a 2-shot with today, it was typical of me to get the member that is also HKT48’s member as well, haha. I was glad that I got to say what I wanted to say and my Japanese is getting better as the day goes by as well. I always knew what to say but at this time I have the confidence to actually say it. My next girl was Sayanee. I remember asking Wayne what poses he wanted me to have with Sayanee, because we applied for the same slot for Sayanee but I won her and he lost. I was glad that he wanted me to take hengao (weird faces) with Sayanee because that is exactly what I wanted to do as well.

2shot_Sayanee[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia!
Sayanee: Wow! Thank you! What pose?
Me: Will hengao be okay?
Sayanee: *smiles* Sure.
Me: *does my hengao*
Sayanee: *looks at me and laughs* Nice hengao.

Oh but the 2-shot didn’t end there. As I got up, Sayanee got up as well, shook my hands and proceeded to walk with me throughout my exit.

*Shake hands*
Sayanee: Thank you so much for coming. All the way from Malaysia too!
Me: I had so much fun. I watched your Another Sky episode yesterday!
Sayanee: Really? Thank you for watching! How was it?
Me: When you thought that expensive noodle was only 950 yen…
Sayanee: Hahaha.
Me: It was really funny.
Sayanee: Thank you for coming.
Me: I’ll be voting for you! Do your best in Sousenkyo!
Sayanee: Thank you!

HANDS DOWN my favourite 2-shot of the day. Hands. Down. She was amazing from the moment I sat down and looked into my eyes asking for a pose. “Will hengao be okay?” and the kind smile she had when she said yes (probably because I was stumbling with my Japanese). Then stood up after the 2-shot and accompanied me to the exit while handshaking and chitchatting with me. It was really a Kami-level treatment of 2-shots. I hate to talk about it in terms of money but she really made me feel I had my money’s worth. It was easy to see why so many people were lining up for her since morning. Not only is she talented, funny and have the leadership skill to boot but she’s engaging and friendly to her fans as well. I had the second last slot of the day and I couldn’t even sense a hint of tiredness from Sayanee. She blew me away. I was feeling tired at the end of the day but was rejuvenated after meeting Sayanee. My next and last slot was AKB48’s Tano Yuka & Nakanishi Chiyori.

2shot_TanoI’ve always had the IDGAF-vibe from Tano and it couldn’t be more apparent on that day. Her lane was quite far and she came in on a bicycle like a boss. I haven’t met her but I was already chuckling at the idea that she rode a bicycle just to come to her lane.

[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia!
Tano: Thanks. What pose?
Me: Doyagao?
Tano: Sure!

*Shake hands*
Tano: Thanks for coming.
Me: That was hilarious coming in here with a bicycle.
Tano: This lane is too far!
Me: I know right? Hahaha.
Tano: Hahaha!

She seemed cold during the 2-shot but opened up when I joked about her bicycle. She acted the way how I expected her to be, cool with that hint of IDGAF. I was now getting a bit sad. The last girl is next, and that means my day was ending. I could have met up with Chori first but I decided to meet Tano first and end my day with Chori. I hung around the lane for quite a while, waiting for the people to disappear. I had the idea to be last person that she sees, as she’s my last person of the day. 20 minutes after the lane is open it seemed there was no one else queuing up for Chori so I head to her lane. (Right after I queued up, a group of 5 people started queuing up after me orz)

2shot_Chori[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia!
Chori: Wow! Malaysia? Wow!
Me: I like your bird imitation.
Chori: *laughs* Bird pose?
Me: Yeah.
Chori: Okay!

*Shake hands*
Chori: Thank you for coming.
Me: I’m HKT Oshi but I’ll support you in AKB as well.
Chori: Thank you!

Ah, I don’t know what happen in the picture but I remember that she was very cheerful and energetic, haha. Seems it didn’t translate well in the picture. Maybe she was tired, as was I. I also wanted to ask her if she plans to come back to HKT but the staff was already pushing me away. As I walk away from the lane and towards the food area where all the AIDOL gang have set up camp, I felt a huge sense of relief. It was a very tiring day, but a happy one. I was glad that I set out to actually do this, to actually meet up with the idols that I like. I was walking along happily until I heard a girl scream.

I looked back, worried. A girl screaming during a 2-shot or handshake event was the last thing you want to hear. Right after, I realized what was going on. If it wasn’t because I was speechless I would be screaming as well. I was walking but now I found myself couldn’t even stand still. It was as if a titan had his hand all over Tokyo Big Sight and started shaking the whole building.

We were hit with a 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

29th May: Half-assed tourist part 2

January 6, 2016 by

Woke up early as planned and was already on the train by 5am. My phone is starting to act crazy since a few days ago and the battery just starts depleting fast for no reason. So for the Tsukiji photos I don’t even have photos of when the sushi arrived. (But it was gooooood)4thDay_Tsukiji2There were a few shops there so I just started lining up the queue that has the most locals, haha.

4thDay_TSukijiAfter Tsukiji, I head back to the apartment and the rest of the gang haven’t even woken up yet. Since the Edo-Tokyo Museum is just 3 minutes from our apartment, I decided to head there and look around. Lucky me, it was also school trip day so I tagged along the group of kids and look around the museum.4thDay_Edo4thDay_Museum4thDay_Musuem2The details on the models was really impressive. There were even real scale houses and model ones. I thought the museum really depicted the architectures and lifestyles of people during the Edo period. There weren’t a lot of foreigners in the museum (pretty sure I was the only one on that day) and the museum goers mostly consists of kids and old people.

4thDay_ShitBucket24thDay_ShitBucketThey even have a lot of items that are in the hands-on exhibit section. My favorite is this night soil pail or shit bucket as I called it. It was actually quite heavy.

I even bought an old school Kendama which we had a really fun time playing with it during our trip.

4thDay_Kendama4thDay_Kendama2 I’ve been craving crepes since morning and Wayne suggested we go to Harajuku to get some. We found ourselves in Takeshita street to get some crepes.4thDay_TakeshitaI ate the green tea crepe (which doesn’t translate really well in photo but it was delicious). Hayate got the standard strawberry crepe (Which look pretty in photos).

4thDay_Crepe4thDay_Crepes4thDay_964thDay_Mine4thDay_HayateWe strolled around Harajuku even though it started raining a bit.

4thDay_RainWe even visited this shopping mall that has a bunch of mirrors in it (forgot the name of the place) which is actually one of the location of Nogizaka46’s “Sekai de Ichiban Kodoku na Lover” PV.

4thDay_Mirror4thDay_MirrorsNogiThen we head to Asakusa to buy more CDs, I can’t remember which shop but I remember we only went there to get the shop’s bonus photos (which was actually sold out). We also went to Bic Camera in Akiba to get the shop’s bonus photos there as well. I got Miku as my CD photo and thus completed my NakoMiku collection for the trip (which pisses Hayate off because he can’t seem to get any SKE photos that he wanted while I got my HKTs muahaha)

4thDay_CDThe rest of them continues to head out somewhere while I head home as I was up since 4am and was feeling pretty tired. I remember I texted them that I will meet them up at Akiba for dinner after a quick nap but I ended up waking up late after my so-called “nap”. Figured it was late to join them, I head down to conbini to buy some dinner while I spend the night watching TV. It was some sort of show that has Funasshi and later I started watching Music Station as well.

4thDay_TVGuideLooking through the TV guide I saw Another Sky will have Sayanee on it so I quickly set myself a reminder to watch that while I keep browsing other channels.

4thDay_SayaneeI remember watching this and thinking this is such a fun and good episode and wanted to sub it once I get back home. Lucky for me, Teppen Subs was so fast, the episode was already subbed when I was actually still in Japan. Go watch it!

It was a fun day of strolling around and watching TV at night but nothing compares to the nervousness I’m feeling because tomorrow is the big day! As I set aside my clothes for tomorrow, and also make sure all my electronics are charged, I went to bed quite tired because of the anticipation.

Around midnight, I heard someone shook my futon. As I mumbled, “Don’t shake my bed, Momo. Go to sleep.” I tried to go back to sleep.

Little that I know, no one shook my bed that night, and I just had my first experience with an earthquake.



28th May: Half-assed tourist part 1

January 5, 2016 by

Since this is my first time in Japan, I decided to be a tourist and try going to all the places that I wanted to see. I was hoping to go to Tsukiji first but after the late night of card game playing that lasted until 3am, I woke up late so I changed my plans to go see Tokyo Tower instead.

3rdDay_Tower1This was my first time since I arrived that I didn’t have the AIDOL gang with me, so I had to rely on myself and Google to get to places. Turns out, Japan railway system isn’t as intimidating as I thought. Plus, Google Map is so reliable you can search for trains to take and the ETA time to get there is correct as well as the trains in Japan is super punctual.

3rdDay_TowerI didn’t went up the Tower as I’m not much of a view person. But the souvenir section at ground floor was the the cheapest I’ve seen so I bought quite a few stuff for my friends and family back home. Then, I started heading out to Roppongi for the Hard Rock cafe shop, to buy a t-shirt for my friend who collects them.

3rdDay_HardRockOn my way there, I saw the Google Map Street Car as well. I started doing Mentaiko poses at the side of the street. (Quick search on the street that I was at and my face still haven’t appeared)

3rdDay_GoogleMapThen, I head over to Shibuya to see the famous Shibuya crossing and Hachiko statue.

3rdDay_Shibuya3rdDay_HachikoSince Momo was in Tower Records, I asked for her help to buy more AKB48 CDs, hoping to get the Tower Records bonus photos. After a whole day of strolling around from Tokyo Tower to Roppongi to Shibuya, I head back to Akihabara to meet up with Momo and Toki at AKB48 cafe. It has been a tourist-y day, but somehow I ended in Akihabara again.

3rdDay_AKBIn the cafe, we had to wait for a while and whose signature that I immediately see when I was waiting? Well, none other than Murashige Anna, of course.

3rdDay_AnnaI even saw Meruzaurus on the pillar.

3rdDay_Meruzaurus3rdDay_MerusaurusWe got ourselves a table and I ordered just a smoothie drink for myself. I also got a Chori coaster and was very pleased.

3rdDay_Cafe3rdDay_CoasterI opened up the CDs that Momo got me and got Nako! (Also Rena and 2 Kawaei)

3rdDay_CDsWe split up ways after the drink and I went back to Liberty. After spending the last night just sorting out photos, this time I was more focused and less tempted. My goal was to complete my collection.

3rdDay_LibertyAfter Liberty, I head to Trio and other photo shops in search for photos to complete my collection. I was running out of cash after buying souvenirs for my friends and family the whole day so funnily enough, since my credit card is actually a photo of Murashige on it, I used Shige to buy more Shiges.

3rdDay_Shige3rdDay_PayMy phone was already dead by this point and I didn’t bring the cables for my powerbanks. Good thing I already know how to get home from Akiba so I was not lost. However, I found out that Wayne & Brad went to PARMS again and I wanted to follow them if they went. After I went home and charged my phone, I got sad that I missed PARMS when I was just in Akiba. Donned my penguin suit and I decided to go to bed early that night, as I plan for an early morning to Tsukiji tomorrow.


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