Thursday, May 26, 2016

On: Visiting the AKB48 Theater and Shop

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently traveled to Tokyo and spent some time completely freaking out in Akihabara (ok, so it wasn't that bad, but like, Akihabara is the the holy ground for any AKB48 fan and coupled with the Hello!Project shop that's also in Akiba, I was having the time of my life, haha). I visited Akihabara twice and it was only on the second visit that I gathered enough courage to head to the 8th floor of Don Quijote in order to see the AKB theater in person.

My younger sister headed up with me and one of the first things I noticed (aside from all of the AKB promo decorating the outside of the building), was that there are images of the various AKB CD covers plastered on the walls which you can see when you're taking the escalator up (or down!). There are tons of covers and they're all HUGE! It was really neat for a fan like me and definitely built up the anticipation I had to get to the theater itself.

The entrance to the theater is actually quite small. I was amazed that there wasn't like tons of security or anything like that. After scoping out the staff table and initial entrance, I entered the little hallway where pictures of the girls in each team are displayed. There were a number of empty spots from girls that had just graduated and that hadn't been rearranged yet, but I had fun finding the pictures for some of my favorite members. It's weird to think that all the members have walked this hallway and that some members may have been in the building when I was there as well! Beyond the hallway was a little waiting area that was also showing a performance on a large screen. Fans were decked out in Team A gear and were watching the show, patiently waiting for the theater show itself to begin. I mentioned to my sisters that the people there were fans waiting for the show and she could not believe that members were going to perform there that night. She said something like, "Hold on, there are members of AKB that are going to perform tonight?! Here?"
Me: "Yeah in a couple hours. Apparently it's a Team A show? Judging by the pink shirts..."
My sister: "You're serious right now? These girls are going to perform in a couple hours here?!"
Me: *chuckling* "Yeah"
My sister: "Why didn't you get tickets?!"
Me: *shrugging* "No luck"

Tano Yuka, Kojima Mako, and Taniguchi Megu are some of my favorites in this shot.
I spent a good 15 minutes just staring around in wonder and soaking up every detail. It was totally worth it and I would love to be back at the theater sometime soon, but with a ticket in hand to watch a show of course. I left the theater feeing strangely satisfied and still mildly hoping that I would run into a member on my way down (didn't happen though :/).

The inside of the AKB shop.
While I visited the theater on my second visit to Akihabara, I stepped into the AKB48 Cafe and Shop on my first visit. I didn't really spend any time in the cafe area, seeing as I wasn't interested in grabbing any food/drinks and also seeing as the employees were putting on a mini-event for the customers. I didn't want to intrude (and tbh, I wasn't really interested in watching), so I just stuck to the shop area. My younger sister entered the shop as well. It was a lot smaller than I imagined it would be and didn't have as many thing as I had hoped to see. It wasn't until my second visit, when we were on our way to the station to head back home, that I realized there was a second part to the store I never saw. I couldn't stay and check it out though because my sister had a paper due that she needed to submit and we were leaving early the next morning. So I suppose I will have to note that I have to visit it on my next trip to Tokyo (although I'm fairly certain that I will spend most of my time in Osaka rather than Tokyo...)

Anyways, I browsed the items carefully and was surprised by the low amount of items available for sister group members (but I suppose it makes sense since this shop is in Akiba, so it has more items for specifically AKB members). I had trouble finding a Mayuyu clear file and was quite upset that I couldn't find much for my favorite members. But, I did eventually decide on a number of things and I think I did a pretty good job of covering all of my favorites. I bought 1 postcard of both Yokoyama Yui and Taniguchi Megu (seriously, I'm starting to really like this girl, she's so awesome!). I also bought a Mayuyu hand mirror, a "Kimi wa Melody" clear file, and a mini Tano Yuuka clear file. I was tempted to buy a Paruru clear file where she is wearing steampunk gear because 1. It was a cool outfit and 2. She looked totally gorgeous. But once again, I was conscious of buying things I would actually use and 3 clear files was too much. Plus, Paruru is not one of my fave's, so I decided to just focus on buying items that feature my oshimen :)

All in all, I really enjoyed my visit to Akihabara and being able to see two of the sacred sites for any AKB fan >.< I can't wait to go back to Tokyo and take a calmer, longer stroll in the area as well as actually maybe see a show! If you're planning a trip and are a fan like me, I definitely recommend stopping by. It's definitely an experience to see the places you often see on tv shows and seeing all of the idol goods available, even if you're not able to meet the members themselves. Until next time. じゃあまたね!

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