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Handshake EventSo when I first heard that one of the special 「カルマとラビリンス」fan events would be at Animate Tenjin, I knew I wanted to go. When I heard it was a handshake event AND an acoustic mini-live, I knew I had to go. And so, I … well, I did my part for sales of 「カルマとラビリンス」at Animate Tenjin, dutifully applied online and then tried not to think about it.

When every other event had come and gone and no one in Kyushu had gotten a card, I began to worry. I took heart when someone in the Kanto area said she got one, because it meant we might, a day or two later. And sure enough, it showed up at the same time as the B=Pass it’s shown with. I was relieved and excited in equal measures.

But it wasn’t until Friday that I began to spaz. What would I wear? What would I say?! I figured the first part out pretty easily, but agonized over what to say (I had winged it the last time I went to one of Kiiyan’s handshake events) and decided in the end that I would probably only have a few seconds and would decide at the time. (Good decision, as it turns out!)

Got to Animate Tenjin about 20 minutes before we were supposed to line up, to find Rodeo Girls EVERYWHERE. Heh. Saw one lone Rodeo Boy. Also saw a couple of girls who were dressed to the nines — full makeup, updo hair styles, short dresses and heels … and no GR merch on them. But they were clearly there too, because otherwise they aren’t the typical women who shop this Animate (at least, not that I’ve seen). Right on time, headed up two floors to the Vivre Hall and was directed to the back stairs, where they were lining us up. Saw one or two more Rodeo Boys, but that was it. My number was 37, so I dutifully lined up between 36 and 38. A staffer came by and organized us neatly at some point.

And right at 13:30, they headed us up the stairs and in. There were present boxes at the door, which made me facepalm. I could’ve revised my last short letter to Kiiyan that I never got to give him. Ah well. Headed in, saw I’d be about 3-4 rows back if I stuck to the middle, and with taller girls in front. So I headed, as always, to e-zuka’s side of the stage and, well, ended up front row. There was a belt barrier between the front row and the stage, and for some reason, everyone ahead of me lined up behind it and then the people behind it. I simply walked around the end and took up a spot behind where the barrier would have been, had it been a little longer, right by the speakers and about 10 feet from e-zuka. The girl at the end scooted over to get me closer to the barrier, and that made room for one more girl next to me. The stage setup was simple:  2 chair, 2 mics and a guitar stand.

Waited impatiently, humming along with the songs from 「カルマとラビリンス」, which were playing on the PA system. We made it just past The Other Self when the music stopped and the MC came out. After a few words, she called out for Kiiyan and e-zuka and the room exploded into cheers and screams. Loud enough that Kiiyan was actually plugging his ears as he came out. Heh. e-zuka was dressed in a white t-shirt with some text on it, a black jacket and black jeans. Kiiyan was in a hot pink t-shirt with a flamingo on it, a black jacket (lined with white polka dots), black pants tucked into black boots and a skirt-like item over the pants. And a pair of awesome shades.

The MC asked a few questions — about the album name and contents, mentioned the DVD and upcoming tour, talked about how long it had been since 「Crack Star Flash」. She thought it was interesting they had gone from Flash to Dark Shame. Kiiyan said he’d like the contrast. They talked about the album being at #3 for the week. And they commented on being kept out first place by SHINEE and Takeuchi Mariya. Somehow they got from talking about SHINEE to Tatsuro of MUCC. They also talked about the foreign women in the GR videos and Kiiyan got to talking about getting hit in the face with bras and panties during the filming of Blackout. Pffffft!

A little more chatting and the MC turned things over to Kiiyan and e-zuka. Who still continued to chat, of course. Kiiyan decided he’d rather stand up for the show, though that wouldn’t be possible for e-zuka. Someone told him he should go to Nakasu (our red light district) and apparently he said he’d gone to a cabaret the night before, which had cute girls. And then told us we were all cute too. (Smoooth!). Since no one had done a sound check, e-zuka tried out his mic, and Kiiyan ran through saying “Test, test…” and then did some wordless singing that was *amazing*.

They did The Other Self first, which was amazing acoustic. Kiiyan did stand up and dance the entire time. After the song, Kiiyan fished in his jacket pocket and took out his garakei phone … and proceeded to demonstrate what a satisfying click it made when he shut it. Not to be outdone, e-zuka pulled out his iphone and showed that the case he has (which has a flap for his IC card) makes a similar sound. Kiiyan wasn’t impressed in the least. Heh.

Then he complained about needing a face towel, because it was hot. He called to someone backstage, at which point e-zuka poked fun at him by calling out “Mooom. Towel. Moooom. Tea.” Heh. Kiiyan never did get his towel, so someone in the front row offered him one from the cafe. After some hemming and hawing, he took it and wiped down his face. There was such ooohing from the audience that he joked about being an idol whose every action is cooed over. At that point, e-zuka mimed wiping a towel under his arms and tossing it back. Pfffft!

And then … on his way back from handing back the towel, Kiiyan turned, smiled and waved at me. I wasn’t entirely sure it was meant for me, but grinned and waved back. At which point he proceeded to tell everyone there was a gaijin at the show. Yep, guess he meant me! He said something to e-zuka who … well, he deadpanned something that I didn’t catch, but which caused Kiiyan and the girls around me to completely spaz. Kiiyan’s body language and tone of voice needed no translation:  “dude, you can’t say THAT.” He continued to flail a bit, as did the girls, while e-zuka, still completely deadpan, said something back to Kiiyan and then asked me, in English, “do you speak Japanese?” When my reply was (in Japanese) “I speak a little,” he nodded (reassuring himself I didn’t understand) and said thank you in Japanese. Needless to say, I want to know what the heck he said to me, or about me! Haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere, though.

They launched into  変幻自在のマジカルスター after that, which was just lovely. Kiiyan’s voice was in fine, fine form today. And he sang the “onna no ko” lines falsetto again. *love*. After the song, he pulled up his t-shirt and showed us that he’s been pulling his belt in further and further, but that the skirt was loose. In fact … loose enough to show us he was wearing hot pink and black patterned (tiger stripe?) pantsu. He dropped the shirt back down and we were all, “heeeeey,” at which point he pulled the skirt waaaay up, but inadvertently gave us a flash of belly in the process. (And oh yes, his upper arms were amazing!)

At that point, Kiiyan needed a towel again, so he borrowed another, causing the girls behind me to gleefully claim there was just too much “service” at this show. He gave that towel back and borrowed another, which he dabbed at his face with … and then e-zuka’s before giving it back. He then started talking to us, about the “sakura-iro ni-dai no botan” in our hearts, and about the show here next year at the Sun Palace. And I guess he was going on too long for e-zuka, because the latter started singing the song without Kiiyan, much to Kiiyan’s dismay. Goofballs!

Kiiyan wrapped up and they sang the song together — beautiful, of course! At that point they said their thank yous and the MC came back to say they needed a couple of minutes to set things up and for Kiiyan and e-zuka to dry off (much to Kiiyan’s relief). They left the stage and staff brought out a table with flowers and wash clothes for their hands. And … they said we would be starting at the right side of the stage. Er. Making me SECOND in front of them. As it turns out we really only did get a couple of seconds — the first girl tried to get longer and staff was coming for her. (She was so, so bouncy). I shook e-zuka’s hand and said “Really, thank you!” in Japanese. I don’t recall what he replied. I said thank you to Kiiyan too, and he replied (in Japanese) “Thank you. Always.” Nice, soft and warm hand, as I remember. ^_^

They didn’t really want us lingering, so I took off at that point. I would’ve liked to been near the end, and I guess I could’ve let folks go before me. But that’s okay. I didn’t have time to get nervous. Still, near pitch perfect hour of my life!