I have been to Japan three times and honestly speaking my main objectives are handshake events. First, I came to Japan in 2014 for an event called shamekai event or also known as 2-shot event where you can snap a picture together with your idol. Unfortunately it was postponed due to a “slashing tragedy” in a national handshake event. I was extremely upset and sad because I couldn’t go to my very first idol event.
However, I didn’t give up and try another luck to go to Japan. Traveling to Japan is well-known as an expensive journey among most of Indonesian. It is much more expensive than going to South Korea, especially for the living cost. But of course I have my own way to fly 6,5 hours away from my country to Japan. On my first trip, I tried to find a competition called Model United Nations and I found one in Kobe. I managed to earn a bit funding for this trip.
Then, I really wanted to go to Japan for a handshake event and also for my graduation trip. I was planning to take a short Japanese course in Tokyo but it was freaking expensive and I couldn’t afford it. Finally, I found another alternative to go to Japan for a longer stay which was taking an internship program. Then, I successfully went to Japan for my second time and also met my idols in a handshake event. It was my first time meeting them in person.
When you meet them once, you must be willing to meet them one more time or maybe dozen times.
This statement is true. Every time I remember every single moment I had on my very first handshake event, I just couldn’t stop smiling. Sometimes I smile in front of public without any reason. Well, basically I have one specific reason, my handshake event memories.
I wasn’t crazy enough to plan about my next visit to Japan before I leave Japan at the end of 2015. But I realized I probably couldn’t go to Japan until 2017 because I had to prepare for my master degree which I hadn’t figured out yet where it would be. I thought the first semester of 2016 would be spent for any kind of selections process for scholarships.
Luckily I didn’t spend the whole first semester of 2016 for scholarship selection process because I successfully obtained a scholarship in mid January. I obtained scholarship from a think tank in a Singapore’s top notch university. As soon as I received my scholarship’s e-mail, I decided to take a look on upcoming handshake event schedules.
As we know, AKB48’s handshake events must be ordered in advance for certain periods. Fortunately, at that time, it was still in the period of application for “Kimi Wa Melody” handshake events. I wait for one or two days to make sure that this scholarship thing is true and my decision to secure tickets for handshake events will not be a mistake.
If I’m not mistaken, I applied during fourth period. I planned to apply for Jurina, Tomu, Moekyun, Tano, and Ogiyuka. However, I couldn’t apply for Jurina because her slots had already sold out on third period. I regretted I didn’t book faster to meet my second oshimen. Yeah sure, my first oshimen was Acchan, Jurina was second, and now I am a full-Muto Tomu-oshi. Jurina is still special for me.
I decided to apply for more tickets with Tomu. I closed my application with 12 tickets with Tomu, and 1 each with Tano, Ogiyuka, and Moekyun. So, I applied for 15 tickets in total. As expected I won all of them with no worries.
This time, I went to Japan only for travelling and handshake events. No more competitions nor internship program. I called it as a purely useless trip.
Few days before the day of handshake event, there was also another handshake event. I didn’t apply for that day because it was for previous single which happens to be “Kuchibiru ni Be My Baby”. A surprising announcement was updated on AKB48’s blog. Tomu must took a day off from handshake event due to health issues. It is such a rare occasion for her to take a day off from handshake events. She usually attends all of events. Perhaps she only cancelled her participation in handshake event few years ago which I couldn’t remember clearly.
Oh great, is it a punishment from God for me because of this useless trip?
These words suddenly came up into my mind. Perhaps God won’t allow me to meet my idol because I was too impulsive for this trip. I was suddenly not in a good mood and couldn’t enjoy the whole trip for several days. Everyday I checked my social media to keep me informed about Tomu’s health condition. One of my friends sent me a link of her mobile mail, she sent a mobile mail which stated she took a rest for a day so she would try her best to participate on the upcoming handshake event. The upcoming handshake event is my handshake event’s date. Later she also updated her twitter to ensure everyone that she was recovering and getting better.
However, she didn’t update anything for about two days and I just couldn’t stop think for the worst case. If Tomu could’t attend the handshake event, I didn’t know with whom I should use my handshake tickets with. Actually I can still use Tomu’s handshake tickets when there is a reschedule, but it is not possible for me to go back to Japan.
Fortunately, she was able to participate in handshake events!
I was extremely relieved and happy to know that. I could fulfill my main objectives for this trip. However, I could barely see Tomu’s face because she wore a mask. But nevermind, I still could tell her beauty through her eyes. The most important thing is I can meet her this year.
I didn’t have any companion to handshake event. I went to handshake event alone. Well, there are other Tomu’s fans which I met last year and also some of them I knew through twitter. I decided to tag along with them. They were very kind. However I felt very bad because I am not fluent in Japanese so I barely spoke. I wasn’t confidence with my Japanese skills.
This is my major problem. First, I can’t communicate very well with other Japanese friends. Second, sometimes I don’t know what to say to Tomu because of my limited Japanese skills.
It was my second time meeting with Tomu. I was extremely confused what to talk about. I talked a lot on my very first handshake. Thus, Tomu didn’t have much time to reply though. Lol.
But this time, I tried my best to talk less. Well, I also didn’t know what to talk about. There were a lot of things that we could actually talk about but I am limited in vocabulary and grammar.
For this handshake event, I wore t-shirts which I made in Jakarta. The first one is written, “PaRiPiPo” and the second one is “Nantsutte”. Both of them are Tomu’s trademark from her Lake CM. She is well-known as “PaRiPiPo” people among other Japanese who aren’t AKB48 Fans. If I say “PaRiPiPo”, my other Japanese friends will know whom I refer to. But they might not know who Muto Tomu is.
Thanks to those t-shirts I had a great memories with Tomu, especially on the second day. Apparently “Nantsutte” has a specific pose in which you strike an “L” pose right under your chin. At first, when Tomu saw my T-shirt, she posed “
Nantsutte” and I followed it right away. So, we did it every time before we actually shook hand with each other. It was so much fun!
I won 3 signs from Tomu (1 on the first day and 2 on the 2nd day). Here are a glimpse of my conversation with Tomu:
Slot 4, 2 tickets (1 sign)
Me: Ohisashiburidesu! Do you still remember me? I met you last year.
Tomu: Of course I still remember you!
Me: Ah yokatta.
Tomu. Eh “PaRiPiPo”? (she looked at my t-shirt)
Me: Yes, I made it by myself. What do you think?
Tomu: I am happy
Me: Probably it will be my first and last handshake for this year.
Tomu: Ah really?
Me: Yes, but tomorrow I will also come.
Tomu: bye bye, ah but you are coming againg right?
Tomu: See you!
Me: See you!
Slot 5, 2 tickets (1 sign)
Tomu: Ah you are coming again.
Me: Sure I am.
Tomu: eh, you won it again?
Me: Hahaha yes I did
Tomu: (write messages)
Me: Do you remember where I come from?
Tomu: eh…. Where is it? Thailand?
Me: No… wrong. Lol.
Tomu: eh… Indonesia? Jakarta?
Me: That’s right! It’s the same with Rena.
Tomu: yeah with Noza!
Me: Actually my very first oshimen was her.
Tomu: Ah, did you come to meet Noza?
Me: hmmm…. Nope.
Tomu: Ah you didn’t go? But you only come to meet me?
Me; Yes, mostly my tickets are only Tomu.
Tomu: ah really? I am happy!
Tomu: Bye Bye
Me: Bye bye
Slot 6, 2 tickets
Me: Actually I was in Tokyo during last year’s seitansai but I lost
Tomu: ah seriously?
Me: but I receive seitansai’s goods from the committee, they were very kind.
Tomu: yokatta. Jya, please come to this year seitansai.
Me: Ah, but I am moving to Singapore soon for my master degree.
Tomu: Eh, That’s great!
Tomu: bye bye
Me: Bye bye
Slot 4, 2 tickets
Tomu: Ah “Nantsutte” (did her trademark pose from CM)
Me: “Nantsutte” (did the same pose). Congratulations for 5th anniversary theater debut!
Tomu: Ah thank you!
Me: I really want to watch your theater performance but it is hard because I don’t live in Japan.
Tomu: Ah that’s right it’s hard because it’s really far.
Me: that’s right
Tomu: but I will always be waiting for you
Me: Thank you! Bye Bye!
Tomu: Bye Bye!
Slot 5, 2 tickets
Tomu: Nantsutte (did the pose)
Me: Nantsutte (did the pose). Actually I have an American friend who is a Tomu oshi.
Tomu: Ah really? I am happy to hear that, please tell him to come. I will be waiting.
Me: Yeah but it is far, perhaps it is hard for him.
Tomu: Ah that’s right. Eh what’s wrong with your hand? (she found out a bandage on my hand).
Me: It happened when I went down from mountain.
Tomu: Ara… please be careful.
Me: Bye bye
Tomu: Bye bye
Slot 6, 1 ticket (1 sign)
Me: hi, anyway I am sorry I am not good at Japanese
Tomu: eh not at all! You are good at it!
Me: I will work hard in order to speak Japanese with you.
(Then I am not sure what she said but I tried to pay attention to her eyes. Oh god, she was so beautiful although she wore a mask).
Tomu: bye bye
Me: bye bye
Slot 6, 1 ticket
Tomu: Nantsutte (did the pose)
Me: Hahahahaha. Anyway this is my last ticket.
Tomu: Eh seriously? It was fun!
Me: Yes it was so fun! Perhaps I won’t be coming to Japan until next year.
Tomu: Ah really?
Me: yes, see you next year!
Tomu: see you next year! I will be waiting🙂