Japan Expo 2014 PART 8 The handshake

July 21, 2014 at 6:42 PM 2 comments

*hyperventilation* Okay, just calm down. It’s gonna be fine. Breathe in and breathe out. Like you always do and you’re gonna be oookaay.

Concert or handshake?

Concert and handshake?

Concert or handshake?

Concert and handshake?

Risk the concert or risk the handshake? Decisions, decisions and not much time D:

I asked friends and it seemed that all of them had different opinions on the matter like e.g. “handshake is better”.

Or “standing far away from the front row at the concert is the best”. Or “the first row is the best, are you fucking with me?”.

I decided to play safe and check both lines. First I ran to the handshake line (let me skip losing the NaviGo, finding the NaviGo, losing the JE ticket, finding the JE ticket, missing two RERs  and all the bad karma kicking my ass for the good luck the day before ==).

It was empty. Absolutely NOBODY was there apart from Airi’s lingering smell (the latter part might be my sick imagination). Great, I could be the first one for the handshake.

Or….. I could check the concert line.

Time to find the freaking Live House. I knew it’s gonna be somewhere far far away, over moors and mountains, and pools of lava and woods full of giant spiders but I didn’t expect it to be THAT hard to find. But it was. JE staff (useful as ever) told me I can reach the Live House straight from the Japan Expo hall. I said I was pretty sure I had to go out and around all the halls to find the queue because it’s probably shut by now to prepare for the concert. They said: no, it’s open just follow the correct rabbit…ee… carpet.

I already imagined myself lurking in the shadows of the Live House while girls would have a rehearsal but of course the Live House was closed. (somebody told me it was open not long before that so the JE staff wasn’t so wrong after all). I knew there was long way to go but then I saw one security door open next to the Live House entrance.

Hell yeah. A shortcut. I appeared in the middle of nowhere and felt the wrath of the orange demon (aka the Sun) peeling off my skin.  Soon I met some quite surprised security guards (remember I had my pink wig on. After getting Airi to recognise me the other day I just needed to wear it again at least for the handshake. I just changed a T-shirt into a pink bunny blouse which btw I bought in the kid’s department store ==”).

They showed me the way to the Live House where I met another bunch of amazing/nice/not so nice/neutral people.

For the sake of your naïve view that all people are good (and intelligent) at heart I’ll pass over the rest in silence. Let’s just say we all became friends in the end. Or at least stopped ripping our throats out which in my dictionary is as close to “friends” as it gets.

RainbowSeven (H!O user), who falls into the “amazing ppl” group, prepared the queue tickets and after me waiting in the scorching sun for some hours gave me one with a blessing to go to the handshake and come back to my place.

Of course that would depend on the kindness of ppl around me to allow that. The person in front of me said “fuck you” (sorry, this one negative thing must have slipped) but some people behind me said “No problemo”. One of them was a Japanese guy. I kinda met A WHOLE LOT OF nice Japanese Guys.

Hostel Japanese Guy aka The Japanese Guy Who Got Airi To Sign a Book For Me

Queue Japanese Guy aka Dashuu- san (I’ll explain later)

I ran for the JE expo and found out that without my brilliant shortcut it took me about 20 minutes to go back to the handshake line.

Did I say line? I meant a fucking spiral! ARGH! The stupidity of ppl! They literally made a turn in the line so it started to spiral inwardly resulting in much confusion. Thanks JE staff for not helping. I know you were busy not helping  the concert line. *thumbs up*

But on the bright side I met Chobineko again and about a dozen of new people I might not be able to name.

Firstly I met Julia from Netherlands who I knew from H!O and Facebook (one of people I actually could recognise without asking for a name, thanks God). I met MimiChama from Germany who I saw the day before but never had the chance to talk to). She was preparing a gift for Maasa so thanks to her I could at least write a birthday message 😀 Then I met two great girls from Finnland. We had a nice chat and finally I regained some faith in humanity after meeting the not so nice people in the queue. We even exchanged some candy. I got a Moomin gum which tasted fruity and sweet just like real Moomins would. I think I did the Airi Oishii ~~~~~face. I’m not sure :]

The handshake was about to start in less than an hour and I still felt utterly unprepared for it. I don’t know how it happened but I wasn’t able to form the words I’d like to say to the girls. The language barrier was huge. There wouldn’t be enough time plus I found a somewhat sad truth. I didn’t have much to say to many of them :((

My sister’s friend who speaks Japanese really well taught me some phrases. I’ve written them down but I only had like three of them and much too many idols to speak to D:

Stress kicked in again and my mind was blank.

The line was getting all confused more and more. People were butting in but I really think that most of them just couldn’t find the end of the line which by now was eating its own ass.

I decided to butt in as well because there was no use pretending there’s a line anymore. I mingled with Julia hoping nobody would kick me out which they didn’t.

And then my good karma came back to me. By total accident another amazing representative from Japan was standing right behind me. This time it was a Japanese Girl who I will now call a MaiMaiFan because dear God how she loved MaiMai. I might start thinking that all Japanese people are just pure amazing from now on. Or maybe just wotas? But I digress.

She spoke perfect English and tried to calm me down because I was seriously on the brink of falling off my trolley.

The handshake wasn’t such a big deal for her and she promised to translate for me whatever I’d want. That was so generous of her. But I knew that it wouldn’t work for the handshake. I wanted to say the words and get the immediate reaction. The translator would delay the process. I practiced my phrases with her and decided to stick to them. She said she would say whatever I’d forget to say.

Can you imagine what she did next?

She gave me an extra handshake ticket.

I’ll let you ponder on that for a minute.

I didn’t have the money to buy Airi’s goods that would make me feel more like other fans in the venue beside the towel.

I didn’t have the money to buy multiple CDs to get more handshake tickets.

(I apologise to all the ppl who didn’t have the money to go to France, to meet the girls, to get the premium ticket because it’s unfair to feel bad about myself while I was VERY privileged. It’s just during JE I didn’t feel this way.)

I cried again. And I cried some more. Hell, I’m crying right now. I don’t think that anybody gave me a more amazing gift. Out of the whole JE experience handshake was the most valuable one. And this amazing woman doubled it for me like it was nothing. I felt this emotional the moment I was given the first gift, the Airi’s photo. Those two gifts cannot be compared but somehow they felt similar.

The surprise, the shock, the stress, the happiness, the confusion – all of them contributed to the fact that when the girls arrived and the line started moving I was a total mess. I consider myself a rational human being but those minutes before the handshake I almost went crazy. I was THIS close to jumping up and down, laughing and screaming and rolling on the floor with saliva dripping down my chin.

At the same time I was paralysed by fear because my mind became a sheet of totally blank paper. The Japanese phrases, the preparation, the message I wanted to convey disappeared.

I thought about a great handshake tutorial I once read (http://www.jicchan.com/?p=386 ) <=== AWESOME

The most relevant things for me were: 1. calm down and stop crying, it’s impolite for the girls to see you like that 2.talk about yourself  3. mention something they said on a blog

And magically I did calm down. I was just a couple of people before the girls would hold my hands and my mind started working again. I count it as another miracle of that day. And there were still many to come.

One of them is that a bit behind me in the queue were Morningtime (<===check out his great blog!) with his lovely wife MTSayuRin. They didn’t know it was me while they were filming and taking photos of the girls. Guess who was in those photos as well? This was just too much of a coincidence to not call it a MIRACLE. (I’ll include the photos but not all of them are from Morningtime. Just the best ones :D)


(all in Japanese, very very simple Japanese mind you)

Me to SAKI: I really liked you in Koi no Jubaku.

SAKI: *surprised face*Oh! Do you like it? (I think she meant the song)

Me to SAKI: Yes!

 Saki was taller than I expected and very gentle. Her hand was soft and she was smiling in a very girly way. She wasn’t forcing anything. Just being herself I think. I really enjoyed her surprised face. It was  a mixture of genuine and idol-like. Plus the hairstyle really suits her I think. It was flawless.)

(partially Japanese, partially English because the MaiMaiFan said Momo would appreciate the English part)

Me to MOMOKO: I like you, yurushite nyan. *cutesy sad face*

MOMOKO:*a bunch of strange faces*

I’m not sure she DID understand me. Her reaction was great but confusing. Like I said something between “I hate you, forgive meow” and “There’s spinach between your teeth, forgive meow”. Just look at her. What the hell was that about? Notice how Saki is smiling at me aaaahh *melting*


(in Japanese)

Me to CHINAMI: By the way, do your best at the concert!

I aimed at a pun. A poor pun really. Chinami ni – means by the way. I don’t think she understood it 😀 I said it really slow, putting much emphasis on the “ni” part. I think she didn’t expect it from a foreigner.

I never thought that Chinami is pretty and looking close I just reassured myself that she truly isn’t XD Yeah, it’s a nasty thing to say but I don’t consider myself to be a beauty either 😀 She was smiling kindly and had a moderate handshake grip. God, holding their hands was a strange experience. I didn’t really want to do it because it felt really unnatural. How many times do you talk this close with somebody’s hand in your hand? But it created the connection and I felt the idol in front of me was all eyes and ears and it felt nice. She did a nice *I understand*  face which I aimed for really.  I was soo happy 😀 She even waved a little at me. Watching the video I noticed that Saki was still staring at me 😀 🙂

chinami meet


(in English)

Me to MAASA: Happy Birthday!

Maasa acted just like I thought she would. She was nice but not overly cutesy or hyper. A bit businesslike if you prefer 🙂 They said she was sick that day but I haven’t noticed that. Her grip was normal. I don’t know why but I expected a bone-crashing grip of death *shrugs*. She thanked me for wishing her happy birthday. I know that was kinda lame to say but hey, I knew I’d say something more creative next round 😀

(in Japanese)

Me to YURINA: Yurina! Green Giant is amazing!

Why did nobody tell me it’s a bad idea? >< Okay, she clearly forgave me since I’m a foreigner/wota/in shock apparently 😀 She was super tall and super nice. They all looked so tall to me and looking at the photos/videos I think that’s because I was bending so much. The natural reaction to idols I guess 😀 She had a nice smile but her facial expressions weren’t as nice as other girls’. I think she was intimidated by us or a bit tired. Both most probably. I know she can do so much better. I had a great moment with her during the concert but handshake was plain and simple. Smile, handshake, go.

(in Japanese)

Me to MIYABI: Miyabi! Please do the Miyabeam during the concert!

MIYABI: *does the Miyabeam* Okay!

I was shaking by then that’s perhaps why I yelled her own name at her. ==’ My face which I’m glad you can’t see there but it was something like that:


Again the same energy as from Yurina. Smiling but not putting much energy to it. I don’t say it in a bad way. She just seemed a bit distanced. I liked her hairstyle but up close she doesn’t look any more appealing.

(in Japanese)

Me to RISAKO: Risako! (what’s with the name again == my mind was on overdrive) I’m Polish./I’m an English teacher. (whichever it was at that round. I could say “thank you and I like xxx” but I also wanted to say something about myself.)

RISAKO: *nods politely and smiles*

I yelled Risako at her with a different emotion than to Miyabi. You know that our *cough* relationship is  a bit shaky but because of that I feel close to her. I just got this feeling when she looked at me “THIS is the Risako, the ONE I mentioned so many times, the one I dedicated a video to”. She really is very pretty. But boy oh boy how not interested she looked. She was even more bussiness-like than Yurina, Maasa and Miyabi all combined. Really, she was silent. I don’t even remember if she acted surprised to any of what I said. Her grip was also the weakest of them all. Like she was scared to touch us. Am I the only one feeling that?

(in Japanese)

ME to MAIMI: *pointing to myself* I’m Polish. (this time I’m pretty sure I said it)

Okay, maybe it’s because Risako was so laid-back immediately before but Maimi was super right into your face involved. Her grin was making ME feel nervous but at the same time soo happy.  I regretted not being her fan because interactions with her are extremely rewarding. First thing is that she moves really close to your face and pulls your hand to her. Suddenly I was VERY close to MAIMI’s face and I felt tiny. Her face was like: “NO FUCKING WAY?! POLISH?! THIS IS MADNESS” and I loved for that great reaction. I don’t know if she has any idea where “Poorando” is but hell I hope she understood it’s a country XD

maimi meet slow

Another great thing is that the amazing JapaneseMaiMaiFan after me clearly said something to Maimi about me. Once I know I’ll tell you but it seems she tried to explain where Poland is XD






Now I’m super curious 😀

Me to NAKKY: Was the pole dancing difficult? (slowly because this phrase was longish for me)

NAKKY: *painful face* Really dificult. *big smile*

I was really glad that I asked that. I’ve read their blog before going to France and both Nakky and MaiMai talked how hard it was to hear negative feedback about the pole dancing. My opinion on the matter was “you’ve crossed the line a bit but I really enjoyed watching it and I think you did a great job”. I wouldn’t say that to them. But I wanted them to have the support even in France. I think she was surprised to hear me speak about it. She responded to me with actual WORDS (only Saki did that too) not just facial expression. Those were great too. I was happy for the reaction.

I don’t have the video to show the array of great emotions that passed her face but there’s something else. You can see how Airi was already observing our conversation and reacting to it! I haven’t seen that back then focused on Nakky but re-watching the video makes me notice more things. Just look at Airi.

airi face


She’s a pro at this. She could have just looked around and sigh but she actually got involved.

I knew that Airi will be next and it felt like a dream. There was just everything I wanted to tell her.

my phone number, shoe size, her perfect eyes and lovely teeth, my love for her, the weather outside, that I’d lick her face anytime etc.

Well, I couldn’t do that but I blurted out what I wanted to say the most.

(in Japanese)

Me to Airi: Thank you for your autograph from yesterday. (I’m Polish.  – I’m not sure I managed to say that real quick. )

airi close

Airi, sweet Airi. The look on your face was recognition. It had to be. I think you remembered me from the day before. I really hope you did.

She was so happy and energetic and sincere. There are no words to describe it. There’s this special aura about her. My dreams came true that moment. I was full of emotions by the time my hand touched hers. She had a delicate brittle hand. Her smile was big and toothy. I think I fell in love  with her even more. I wish I could remember every second, every word I said but the fact I spoke was a miracle on its own.






vlcsnap-2014-07-21-02h22m40s137 vlcsnap-2014-07-21-02h22m49s215







(in Japanese)

Me to CHISATO: Bokura no Kagayaki is great!

CHISATO: *smiling* Thank you!

I apologise for the quality of the caps from now on. They’re not from Morningtime that’s why they’re so shitty 😀 Chisato was smiling brightly. I haven’t noticed anything special about her. Her voice is powerful and I rank her quite high in my personal favourites.

vlcsnap-2014-07-21-16h03m08s41(in Japanese)

Me to MAIMAI: I’m Polish!

MAIMAI: *confused smile*


I was rushed through her unfortunately so I think she might not heard me properly. I felt bad for her because there weren’t many MaiMai fans in France. The year before there were a lot of MaiMai shouts during the concert but this year perhaps because of Berryz Koubou I felt that they were left out. The same for the Captain. She’s a pretty up close even more than in PVs.

It was the end of round one for me. I felt utter bliss. Like running the marathon. I looked around and saw ppl crying, flush and as happy as I felt. The feeling of belonging no matter the amount of merchandise you own was amazing. For a split of a second I thought to myself: I told them everything I wanted to say so maybe it’s better to give away this second handshake opportunity? Yeah, it was a silly thought. I looked at the girls  and the thought evaporated. I want to see them up close one more time!

By the time JE staff decided to organize the queue (FINAlly!). You won’t guess who was right in front of me. Yep, the Queue Japanese Guy. Hell yes. Now I had another person to help me with any translation plus we could run to the Live House together. Unfortunately his English was non-existent. the nice girl behind me knew some basic Japanese phrases so with many gestures and silly faces we managed to communicate.

(if you know Japanese pls forgive me. I write the conversation here just for the lolz :)))

ME: Laivu Haus doko doko? *hand to forehead and look around*

That was so funny XD He nodded and said a string of Japanese phrases I understood as yes, I know where it is

ME: *running motion* Ishonii? *pointing to him and me*

He looked at me really confused.

ME: Run? *running motion but more exaggerated this time*

QUEUE JAPANESE GUY: Oh. Dashuu? *running really fast motion*

I didn’t understand him because really, if you don’t know the word “run” in English how come do you know “dash”?! But then I thought that’s because of the “R” in “Run” and  we laughed together. He pronounced “DASHUU” in such a funny way. So he became Dashuu-san in my mind 😀 I tried to ask him for more translations. I wanted to say to the girls to do more tap dancing during concerts (you can already imagine how I tried to communicate TAP DANCING to Dashuu-san). He told me some phrases but there was no time to say them as the queue was moving really fast and I decided to stick to the ones I already knew.


(the honourable mentions only. It all boiled down to basically switching between I’m Polish. / I’m an English teacher. / Do your best during the concert. for SAKI, YURINA, MAASA, MAIMI, MIYABI, RISAKO, NAKKY. I received the appropriate smile/surprise/thank you so much for coming)

(all in Japanese this time)

Me to MOMOKO: I’m a preschool teacher. (I wanted to say that to her because I knew she had the papers to teach in preschool as well. I teach in preschool but not only there but that’s the quickest I could say it 🙂

MOMOKO: *surprised face and a smile*

Me to CHINAMI: I’m a preschool teacher. (I don’t know why I repeated myself >< but I got a similar reaction to Momoko’s)

Again, I knew Airi was close. The special moment. The last occasion to be this close to her. I think I finished my interaction with Maimi as soon as I could and rushed into words.

(in Japanese)

Me to AIRI THE GODDESS: I’m your fan. I’m Polish. I’m an English teacher. Please sing Wakkyanai (Z) more.

(I’m not sure how many of those I managed to blurt out because Airi interrupted me. I got a feeling she was half listening to me politely but wanted to say something to me.

(in ENGLISH Goddamit, in the purest English accent ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

AIRI to me: What’s your name?

sdjipfo9ijr golkfdbn n ,xvkasfae iopr peopdc,;xdc,gkofr…………………………………..

I’m gonna cherish those words forever. It’s not “I love you”, “Please, visit me at my hotel at midnight” or “Come with me to Japan, beautiful foreigner” or even “We’ll come to Poland next year” but it was a CONNECTION. A CONNECTION she initiated! It may be normal for her to ask fans for their name. Is it? Does she do it all the time? I’m not sure. For me it was the greatest thing ever. I can’t find a good picture to represent how my face looked like but I think I was crying.

A person behind me from JE staff was already pushing me to Chisato but I was still holding Airi’s hand.


I know it means “My name is Nyu” but it represents much more to me; my twitter account, my blog and this part of me who is a total Airi lover. I said the words in my cutest voice along with a slight tilt of the head and Airi smiled brilliantly at me.

*sigh* that was pure WIN.

I managed to say to MaiMai that her pole dancing was great and she understood this time which I appreciated. She was slightly surprised but not as much as Nakky was the first time. Still, it felt nice to finally get the message accross.

It was the time to DASHUU indeed. Concert, here I go!


Entry filed under: Japan Expo 15th Impact experience. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Japan Expo 2014 Part 7 second signing (Airi-ME contact achieved) Japan Expo PART 9 the concert

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. morningtime  |  July 22, 2014 at 2:38 AM

    I loved this post. I’ve ended up reliving all my memories of the handshakes too. Your post is so in-depth it’s brought all my own thoughts and feelings back so fresh.

    Chinami isn’t the prettiest but she did leave a big impression on me during the Expo. You could see she was really enjoying everything. The signing, handshake, concert, just everything. I am biased anyway as she’s always been my fave Berryz but she was just damn awesome. Plus mmm…legs.

    Risako was kind of weak in the handshake. It was more a fingershake. I think I said on my blog that it was either an “I can barely bring myself to touch you but if you must” shake or else she was trying to be gentle and feminine. Her expression made her look slightly simple though. No hate for her, but she did look a bit like she was one sandwich short of a picnic.

    Maimi is like super 3D. She was the same last year. Huge smile, so much charm and damn beautiful.

    Airi spoke English to me the second handshake session She recognised me from my t-shirt, pointed at it and said “ah two times!”. At first I thought I was mishearing and that she must have spoken something in Japanese and my mind just spazzed and heard English. Airi was just really energetic and cute. Actually for me the members I remember most from the shaking (both hands and my whole body) are Captain, Chinami, Miyabi, Maimi, Nacky, Airi and Maimai (Maimai mainly because I froze the first time just like last year and ended up making a weird arm motion that is totally meaningless. Then she turned to a staff member as I was walking away and said something to them. Probably it was “what the fuck did that mean?”). Oh and for slightly odd reasons Risako too. Like I said, I’m not sure what her demeanour signified. Gentleness? Disgust? Dropped on the head as a baby?

  • 2. turbos86  |  August 18, 2014 at 12:51 AM

    I totally LOVE your writing style! It’s like being there with you at the handshake! Awesome is not a big enough word to describe what I’ve just read here. Sounds like you’ve made the best out of your handshakes with your ability and resources, and you had total fun doing it. I’m going to guess Airi is your favorite. You asked that if she tries to connect with every fan intimately. I’d say she tries, but for sure she doesn’t ask for everyone’s name. Very certain she recognized you as her fan the previous day from the way she reacted to you. You’re very lucky to have video proof of the experience.

    I’ll be checking out more of your blog.
    PS: Happy to hear my writing has helped you, but 99.9999% were your own efforts. Be proud of it!


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