TIC

On January 24, 2018 AKB48’s sixth studio album was released and with it another round of 2-shot opportunities with the members of their roster. It has been two years since my last 2-shots with 48 members. Many of the ones I have taken pictures with in the past are now long graduated, retired or are working at IWA.

Initially I was going to skip out on going to this event but I ended up changing my mind at the last minute. In order to save as much as possible I chose the last 2-shot event available for this album which is in Osaka. I love going to Tokyo but I have yet to do a lot in the Kansai region apart from a few side trips. So it is nice to be based in Osaka, even if it is basically for just a weekend.

This event will be the last AKB48 2-shot I will attend. And not because I can’t pay for a Chara-Ani transaction with a foreign credit card. I’m covered for that. It is because most of the members I favor have now gone on to greener pastures. I have discovered few of the new generation are really grabbing my attention no matter how hard I try to keep up. So I might as well quit while I’m behind.

Also, I have pretty much moved on to the 46 side of the family when it comes to idol variety programming and music so this seemed like as good as a time as any to have one last go at an AKB specific event outside of the impossible to get tickets for concerts. For my last hurrah I will be taking pictures with the following members:

  • 武藤十夢 – Muto Tomu
  • 岡部麟 – Okabe Rin
  • 松井珠理奈 – Matsui Jurina
  • 山本彩加 – Yamamoto Sayaka
  • 小栗有以 – Oguri Yui
  • 吉田朱里 – Yoshida Akari
  • 小嶋真子 – Kojima Mako
  • 谷川愛梨 – Tanigawa Airi
  • 加藤玲奈 – Kato Rena
  • 馬嘉伶 – Ma Chia-Ling

Outside of the 2-shot event itself I don’t really have anything planned for my short time in Osaka. I was thinking that I would probably see a couple of touristy things that could take up some significant amount of time. My short list is:

If something else comes along I’ll try to see if I can fit it in to my limited schedule.

As usual, keep it locked here for periodic updates from the trip.


June 13, 2018 – 08:38 – Mountain Time

I got back home yesterday just after noon. I would have updated this sooner but I decided to sleep after unpacking and that was it for the day. To get out of Osaka I had a few options. The more expensive limited express train or the much cheaper local train out of Nankai Namba Station. I went with the cheaper option. I figured I was on the right train because of all the other tourists around me with their plethora of luggage in tow.

The train arrived at the airport around 12:30. Once I checked my bag I got a $10 food voucher from Air Canada to make up for the cancelled flight. Uh, yay? I really didn’t have a chance to use it since I was already running behind schedule. I got to my gate 20 minutes before boarding time when they announced a small delay. Well I could have used that shitty food voucher I guess.

Once I boarded the flight out of KIX was uneventful. I had an entire row of seats to myself on the way to Vancouver so that was nice. And zero screaming children around me for this leg of the trip. Just tired adults trying to rest. Much like the outbound leg of the trip the “food” left a lot to be desired.

Unlike on previous trips I managed to sleep between meal servings and felt quite refreshed after landing in Vancouver. After a short half hour layover it was off home to Calgary.

So this trip ended up being a bit more than I expected and I managed to get a lot of stuff done. The bonus day in Osaka was certainly a surprise. I do want to visit again for a longer period of time to explore other parts around the Kansai area. For now, it’s back to the grind of life to save up for the next trip somewhere.


June 12, 2018 – 07:58 – Osaka Time

I checked into my new flight and have packed everything up again. I will assume that I am leaving Osaka this time. But who knows?

I’m feeling the effects of wandering around the Namba area and I am a bit sore from all the walking. However it was a good day just freely doing absolutely nothing and eating random things. I even managed to finally win something from a UFO machine, one of those Hello Kitty x Idol dolls that I was trying for on Saturday. Well not the exact one, I wanted the huge one but they were all gone. I managed to win the little version instead.

I leave for the airport in 3 hours. Just enough time to find one more place to eat and to pick up any last minute items before catching Nankai line. Of course I never really want to leave Japan but unfortunately it’s not really possible for me to stay for longer at this time.


June 11, 2018 – 16:24 – Osaka Time

So I’m supposed be on my way to Vancouver right? Well this morning I kept getting e-mail alerts from Air Canada indicating that my flight was getting pushed back further and further into the evening. I checked out as usual expecting to leave Osaka by 11 PM. By 11 AM I got an e-mail saying that my flight for today was cancelled.

I called Air Canada and they said there was a mechanical issue with the plane that was supposed to come in from Vancouver to pick up passengers. They then confirmed that I was rescheduled for another flight home, which I was. I re-booked a room at the APA hotel through Agoda shortly after.

I spent most of my day wandering around Namba until my check in time of 3 PM. I managed to get some good eats in while wandering around and finished some shopping for family back home as well.

Now to figure out what to do for tonight and what I guess is my last, last supper in Osaka


June 11, 2018 – 06:18 – Osaka Time

I packed up everything last night. I have very little that I am bringing home for myself other than a few trinkets from the places I visited. I managed to get my co-worker some sweets from the Donki near my hotel so that was checked off and I got one of our staff members her iTunes Japan card so another successful mission.

I’m going to hang out at the game center for a while until I have to head out to the airport around 2-ish. So this will be a lot like when I left Tokyo in January. A quick round of video games before heading back home to Canada. I really don’t want to go home yet as there is so much left to explore here. But alas, that will have to wait for another time.

The peace and tranquility I feel when I am in this country will have to wait for another 6 months when I go back to Tokyo for New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom/New Year Dash. Until then I am going to take in as much as I can until I have to make the sad train ride to the airport and back to the mundane existence in Canada.

I’ll add pictures for all these entries later. I just didn’t have time to really upload everything during my short weekend here. Anyway, I have to get ready for my final few hours here. Next update is most likely from the airport.


June 10, 2018 – 22:19 – Osaka Time

My last full day in Osaka was spent at two places. In the morning I went to the Shinsekai area and visited the Tsutenkaku Tower. All around the area were status of a God called Billiken whose feet you rub for good luck.

In the afternoon I spent some time at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. It was crowded and the kids there were really aggressive when it come to going up to the glass to see the fish up close. Those little buggers will basically run right through you if you are in their way.

Lastly a final supper of karage, sausage and ramen in Dotonbori before heading back to my hotel to pack.


June 10, 2018 – 06:56 – Osaka Time

Well obviously I did not sleep much. I think I went to bed around 2 AM. Anyway, today is pretty much tourism day. I have everything planned out and I’ll be hitting up the places I mentioned in the preface to this article. I think it have it timed right that I’ll be able to hit both without any issues.


June 10, 2018 – 01:20 – Osaka Time

After completing my AKB48 2-shots I headed directly to Osaka-jo Hall to catch the remainder of Dominion. I missed the first hour of matches and arrived just around the mid-way point of Rey Myserio’s debut in New Japan Pro Wrestling. It was not until the Junior Heavyweight championship that I got to watch a full match.

Will Osperay vs. Hiromu Takahashi

Chris Jericho vs. Tetsuya Naito

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Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada

So basically I got to see the three last matches in full. All were very good and the last one was a great way to end the evening. It was a very good night for Canada at Dominion is my spoiler free way of hinting at who won their matches.

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Then a quick dinner in Shinsaibashi before making separate ways with my friends for the next 6 months. I spent the rest of my night wandering around Dotonbori after midnight. I got to see all the Saturday night drunks in effect. I also found a 24 hour Round 1 and a Yamachan. I tried the Round 1 UFO games and attempted to win a Hello Kitty x IDOL doll. I failed miserably. The Yamachan I will try as my last dinner in Osaka.


June 9, 2018 – 15:55 Osaka Time

I recovered from my terrible burn of a ticket and am down to 1 photo op to go. In total I completed 9 of 11 2-shots. 1 lost due to graduation (Ichikawa Miori) and the other lost due to my lack of attention to detail (Yamamoto Sayaka).

I’m still certain this is my last AKB 2-shot event. Despite this event being fairly smoothly run compared to past ones I have attended there is not much appeal remaining for me to do another trip like this for AKB specifically unless it is in Osaka again. I never get a lot of time in Kansai so if something comes up in the future I will reconsider my stance.


June 9, 2018 – 12:22 Osaka Time

Well accidentally burned a round 2 ticket by getting in wrong lane. My own fault for not double checking lane number. Oh well.

On to Yoshida Akari.


June 9, 2018 – 10:10 Osaka Time

I arrived at Intex Osaka just before 8 AM. I followed the other wota and got in line to enter the building.

Half an hour later staff let everyone in. I went looking for the table of shame to get my tickets stamped. It was a quick and painless process as there were not as many non-Japanese around for this event.

The setup for Intex had members split into 3 different halls based on group. The AKB teams are mostly on the lower floor of Intex in Hall A. The sister groups are on the upper floors in Halls C and D. Luckily most of my pictures are on the upper floor halls for this event so I don’t have to make the trek from the third floor of the building too often.

So far it’s been smooth going. I’m in the pre-line for Matsui Jurina after taking pics with Muto Tomu and Okabe Rin earlier.


June 8, 2018 – 16:41 Osaka Time

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My flight out of Vancouver was uneventful. I flew Air Canada Rouge to Osaka. They are like the no frills version of Air Canada. Meaning the seats have no built in entertainment system. You have to connect to the in-plane wi-fi and stream really old movies off the plane’s server.

Also, the “food” left a lot to be desired. At least it was mostly edible. The “breakfast” was probably the most ghetto I have been served on a flight ever. Yet I arrived in one piece and immediately felt the humidity of summer in Japan as soon as I stepped off the plane.

I found immigration at Kansai International Airport to be much faster than Narita. Of course there were also less people overall disembarking as well.

Now I head towards Namba and my hotel.


June 7, 2018 – 10:37 Pacific Time

I’m currently sitting in a lounge at the Vancouver International Airport partaking in a decent breakfast and sitting away from the riff raff hanging around the gate.

Sure I had to pay a premium to have a comfortable wait for my next flight but I am totally ok with this expense.

Anyway, I left Calgary under less than ideal circumstances. This trip is a much needed break from all the strife that is plaguing my family life. Yes, I still worry but I am trying my hardest to not let that ruin what is coming up once I land.

Other than the 2-shots and short tourism I have lucked into maybe getting a ticket to New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Dominion show in Osaka. Hopefully that works out. If it does I will miss the opening matches. I have to travel to Osaka-jo Hall from Osaka Intex. Which is like 45 minutes to an hour away by train.

As long as I get to see the final 3 matches I’m good.