Muto Tomu: An Idol Who Changed My Life

It is time for me to tell another story of mine from my 2 months journey in Tokyo. As I had mentioned before, I went to Japan for my graduation trip and luckily I got an internship opportunity which made my trip even better.

But I have to be honest that one of my main purposes for this graduation trip is idol. I am a big fan of AKB48 since 2012 and I really wanted to experience their event which I had never been to, handshake event. I had planned to go to AKB48’s handshake event since 2014.

I still remember clearly the biggest tragedy in AKB48’s history in 2014 which caused all of their events were postponed, including 2-shot event. I had a schedule to participate in my very first AKB48’s event in June 2014 but an attack to certain AKB48 members by a psycho-man destroyed my dream to meet my idols in 2014.

I went to Japan in 2014 for a competition in Kobe and also that event. Unfortunately the event was postponed and it didn’t match with my schedule. It was postponed several months later when I was pretty hectic with my thesis and also I didn’t have enough money to travel back to Tokyo.

Thus, I had a new motivation to go back to Tokyo in 2015 to participate in AKB48’s handshake event. I had been waiting for a perfect schedule since 2014. I finally found a handshake event’s schedule that perfectly matched with my timeline after graduation. I decided to choose a handshake event in October. The graduation ceremony was held in August 2015, so I had a spare time for a month to prepare everything.

I applied for the handshake event around June. I applied for several members because it was my first time and I was curious to meet bunch of members. First of all, I applied for my Oshimen (members which I support the most), which are Muto Tomu and Matsui Jurina. Then, I applied for other members, such as Goto Moe, Tano Yuka, Nagao Mariya, Kitahara Rie, and Shibata Aya. Well, other than Shibata Aya were my favorite members but my friend who is a Shibata Aya-oshi asked me to meet her and deliver her a message from him.

A glimpse of my Oshimen history, at the very first time I became a fan of AKB48, I was a big fan of Maeda Atsuko. However, few months after I became a fan, she decided to graduate. Suddenly a girl named Matsui Jurina appeared into my top list and she became my ultimate member. AKB48 and its sister groups have so many members and sometimes one girl to another come to your favorite list but perhaps you won’t include them into your Oshimen list. It also happened to me. However, a girl called Kikuchi Ayaka or Ayarin successfully came into my oshimen list. Unfortunately this girl decided to graduate just about 6 months after I decided to put her into my oshimen list.

Oh God, should I stop making someone as my Oshimen because eventually they will graduate? Luckily, Jurina didn’t graduate.

After Ayarin’s graduation, I focused on supporting Jurina. I have been a Team K Oshi since 2012 and I was very happy to watch her performance in Team K. Thus, mostly I watch Team K’s theater performances.

But hey, actually around the end of 2013, suddenly a girl caught my attention with her ordinary appearance. I didn’t know why, probably because her position as the under of Oshima Yuko and she kept repeating on being the successor of Oshima Yuko.

I found out her name was Muto Tomu. At that moment, she wasn’t that good in dancing nor MC. I didn’t put her in my Oshimen list but I was very curious about her and tried to find information about her track records in AKB48. I realized she was the girl who surprised me with her achievement on being the center of a song “Show Fight” because of her rank in the Sousenkyo (General Election) in 2012. I barely knew anything in 2012 because I was still learning about AKB48. Of course I didn’t know her name in 2012.

My curiosity gradually grew into love to this girl. Sure, love for idols.

It took me such a long time to fully love this girl, perhaps around 1 year. Half of my heart already went for this girl at mid 2014 but there was still hesitancy because I had always been a Jurina-Oshi. Well, Ayarin caught my attention but she was on 2nd after Jurina. I still remember when AKB48 came to Jakarta early 2015, I was interviewed by a staff of AKB48 Show and he asked me who my Oshimen was. Without any hesitation I answered Matsui Jurina but I wasn’t not sure with the second name. I was going to answer Kikuchi Ayaka but she had already graduated. I could actually only answered with one name, but I wanted to say another name. My friend whispered Muto Tomu because he knew that sometimes I posted about Muto Tomu on my twitter. Finally I answered Muto Tomu.

He suddenly asked why I liked Muto Tomu.

I was puzzled with this question. Why he suddenly asked this because he didn’t even ask me why I liked Matsui Jurina. Oh well, Matsui Jurina is a popular member though. But somehow this question felt a bit harsh toward Tomu. Lol. This question triggered me to answer as best as I can. I finally answered that I liked Muto Tomu because she is a hard worker, especially to be the successor of Oshima Yuko. Surprisingly I received a heartwarming response from that staff, he responded that he clearly understood my reason.

Yet, it was a turning point for me to put Tomu on my very first list and swapped Jurina into my second list. I finally overcame my hesitation and decided to put her as my Kami-Oshi.

I mentioned that she wasn’t good at dancing nor MC. Yet, she is gradually progressing into a better idol. She is getting much better in dancing and also MC. Furthermore, there is another plus point which is getting more beautiful. Some members acknowledged her as “bijin-san” or “beauty-san”. Her hard work made me fell in love with this idol. I always love a hard-working idol as you can see why I like Jurina who always do her best although she is sick and also Ayarin who was forced to graduate from the group because of her scandal and decided to join the audition once again.

I love Muto Tomu who always does her best.

I voted her on Sousenkyo more than I voted for Jurina. Thanks to my part time job as a research assistant so I could afford more tickets than I used to. Anyway, few part time job as a research assistant and it helped me to afford my expenses to Japan.

This turning point when I decided to put Tomu on my number 1 list was also a crisis for me. Why? I was in the middle of making my undergraduate thesis and sometimes I was demotivated because I was going nowhere and I wasn’t sure if I can finish it in time or not. I must achieved my target to graduate in 4 years as my promise to my parents and also to myself. Every time I was demotivated, I always remembered that after I graduated I could go to Tokyo and joined the handshake events. If I graduated in time, I could meet Tomu and Jurina. These silly motivations surprisingly drove me to do my best and finished my undergraduate thesis. Finally I finished my undergraduate thesis before the deadline.

I wrote Tomu and Jurina’s name in their Kanji’s name on my “Thanks To” list on undergraduate thesis. I thanked them for the happiness they always brought to me through videos, pictures, or social medias. Silly but true.

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Tomu and Jurina’s name on my “Thanks To” list

Yet, Idol didn’t stop to give another motivation. I was only thinking for a short stay in Japan, around 2 weeks. But I had a conversation with a friend of mine who stayed in Tokyo and told me that why I didn’t try to stay longer in Tokyo for a short course in Japanese language school. I had no idea about this plan but suddenly Tomu’s birthday popped up into my mind. Her birthday is in November and I had a handshake event in October. As I calculated, her seitansai (birthday celebration stage) will be around the end of November or early December. Thus I decided to stay longer in Tokyo and found information about that short course. However, I couldn’t afford the tuition fees and living cost for short course. I suddenly came up with Plan B which was having an internship program in Tokyo for 2 months. After so many rejections, I finally received an acceptance from NGO in Tokyo. Yeah, I could stay longer for her seitansai.

Although I knew it was really hard to win the ticket but at least I could watch the seitansai at theater’s lobby.

The time had finally come, I went to the handshake event at Pacifico Yokohama. I was happy to meet those girls, they are very beautiful in person. But of course your oshimen will always give you the best impressions.

I only had 2 tickets with Jurina but it was short and nice. Jurina is very beautiful and cute in person. She is a popular member and her line was really long. I was quite tired waiting for my time to meet her but it was paid off with her beauty and cute responses.

But God delivered me a beautiful disaster just in time.

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I won Tomu’s Sign

I went to Tomu’s line and waited impatiently to meet this beautiful little girl. Yeah, she is so tiny in person. I was very surprised to know that she is so tiny while I was lining up in Nagao Mariya’s line which was next to hers.

It was finally my time and I was speechless. She was so gorgeous. I am not fluent in Japanese, this situation made it even worse. I mumbled and I wasn’t sure if she could hear my voice clearly but I said I am from Jakarta and she heard it. She patted my hand on my very first ticket. Can you imagine what kind of impact it gives me until now? I called it as a beautiful disaster because sometimes I smiles in front of public when I am alone. 5 tickets with Tomu was short but it burns into sweetest memories.

During the handshake event, I also met with other fans of Tomu which I knew from social medias, such as Google Plus, Twitter, and an application called 755. They easily recognized me cause I believed I was the only foreigner who came to her line. But I felt sorry to them because I could’t recall their names. Mostly I knew them only through social medias where they barely use their pictures or real names. I remember several persons name and faces but still it was hard for me to recall them one by one. I only remember clearly until now a girl who introduced herself as Piisuke. It was really easy to communicate with her because there was no language barrier between us. She speaks pretty good English and mostly we used English to have a conversation. She is a very nice person indeed. She contacted me first through Twitter’s direct message and gave me sheets of my favorite members’ photos on our first meeting. I didn’t prepare anything for her on that day. Thus, I contacted her few weeks later and asked her for a meet up because I wanted to give some simple souvenirs from Indonesia. Then, we met at AKB48’s Café and talked about many things, especially Tomu.

I was very happy to meet a fellow Tomu-Oshi because it is really hard to find one in Indonesia or other International fans who I know from Twitter.

Few weeks after the handshake event, there was also a small event which was held by a winter sports exhibition. I knew it one day before the event. The event’s location was far from my place, it was in Makuhari Messe and I must took a train for 1,5 hours. At first, I didn’t want to go but I knew that chance won’t come for the second time. It was a talk-show event of Muto Tomu and Tano Yuka. They are my favorite pair of friends in AKB48. At last, I decided to go to Makuhari Messe alone. It took me 1,5 hours to the venue but the event was only held for 30 minutes. It was short but I came without any regrets. I could see her face from a very close distance, heard her voice, and saw her cute yet adorable interactions with Tano-chan. Before the event, I didn’t know that I should took a ticket as a pass to enter the stage’s front area. Suddenly a fan of Tomu approached me and asked me if I am a Tomu fan and he told me to follow him to take the ticket. He helped me on asking the staff to give me the ticket. Apparently he knew me through Google Plus and 755. I also knew his account. However, I only talked for a bit with him. I also didn’t talk with other fans because I had no confident with my Japanese. I usually speak with my Japanese friends who already understand my limited Japanese skills. I was afraid that I would cause a trouble for them because of my difficulties in listening and speaking.

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A ticket to enter stage’s front area

Finally her seitansai scheduled was published and I applied for it. However, I guess God didn’t let me to win the lottery this time. I cried when I knew that I didn’t win the ticket. I couldn’t accomplish one of my goals of staying in Tokyo for 2 months. You can also called it as my main reasons though.

I talked with an Indonesian friend who has been an AKB48’s fan for a long time. I asked if there is another possibility to win the ticket besides the lottery. Unfortunately he answered nothing can help me to win the ticket. He suggested me to come to the theater and help the other fans to organize the seitansai instead. But I told him that I didn’t join the seitansai committee. Then he came up with wisdom words which calmed me down. He told me that I don’t necessarily need to win seitansai ticket as long as I can support Tomu with my best effort and Tomu recognizes my support. This answered successfully calmed me down. Few days ago before I talked to him, Tomu responded to my comments on 755 which made me believe that she actually recognized me.

On the day of her seitansai, I came to the theater right after I finished my work. It took me about an hour to go to Akihabara. I saw several faces which I met at Pacifico Yokohama but I couldn’t recall their name so I wasn’t sure to greet them. I decided to wait until the fans from the theater came out to the lobby. I greeted Piisuke first because I didn’t know anyone besides her. Well, probably I knew but I didn’t remember their name. We talked and took photos. Suddenly one by one other fans greeted me with the help of her who introduced me to other fans. I talked with them with my rusty and messy Japanese. I tried my best to talk with them in Japanese. I also gave them few souvenirs from Indonesia.

Surprise!

One of the seitansai committees gave me the seitansai goods which they produced for this event. I was very happy because those goods were given only for those who won the ticket. I thanked them and finally I had to say good bye because it would be my last chance to meet them this year. I went back to Jakarta soon.

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Some of seitansai goods which were given to me

It is really nice to be Tomu’s fan, not only because her existence but also the other fans who are very kind to me.

At last, I would say Muto Tomu changed my life because without her I wouldn’t challenge myself to stay alone in Tokyo for 2 months. Without her, I won’t dare to find any internship opportunities overseas. 

2 thoughts on “Muto Tomu: An Idol Who Changed My Life

  1. Wow! I find this post very inspiring. I am also a big fan of AKB48. I feel happy for you reading this post, i hope one day i can do the same as you did and meet fellow fandom friends along the way. Very wonderful experience.

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