Two AKB48 guests drop by for a special visit23 July, 2011 by Chad
This Tuesday, AKB48 fans from Singapore were given a treat when two members of the popular pop group visited the AKB48 Singapore Cafe at *SCAPE. Team A’s Maeda Ami and fast rising research member Abe Maria visited for a Summer Holiday Special Visit to interact with fans personally. Here’s our coverage of the day’s events.
Tickets for the event were sold over the weekend. A $35 coupon ensured attendance and included a set meal prepared exclusively for the event. A total of 3 sessions, each lasting 90 minutes were held over the course of the day. Fans grabbed up all of each session’s 50 seats.
The special menu this afternoon was a set consisting of a choice of curry rice, soup, salad and a drink. Visitors were given the option of selecting between chicken katsu or tonkatsu for their curry. As an added touch, meals at the cafe are now accompanied by a miniature flag featuring a random AKB48 member.
Exclusive videos of the AKB48 Senbatsu members greeting Singapore were shown for the first time at the cafe this afternoon. Messages shown included those from Maeda Atsuko, Shinoda Mariko and the ever popular Kashiwagi Yuki among others.
The guests eventually made their grand entrance, emerging from behind the kitchen. They casually introduced themselves before answering some interesting questions pose by the AKB48 Singapore Shop Manager Kai, who served as the MC of the day. During, the afternoon’s event the girls appeared after the cafe girls’ acts but in the evening, Abe Maria and Maeda Ami were invited to witness the performances.
Dance performances were held on the mini-stage where the cafe’s staff performed two popular AKB48 singles. The first group danced to Heavy Rotation, while the second choreographed with their own unit version of Ponytail to Shushu. The cafe staff have been practicing earnestly and the performances were met with much fanfare from the cafe patrons, who eagerly cheered during the girls’ performances. As an added bonus, it was revealed that the staff would be performing regularly every Friday and Saturday at the cafe from now on.
The two AKB48 members had kind words when asked what they thought about the cafe staffs’ performances. They were particularly impressed to see the songs’ dances (which were intended for a large group) successfully pulled off by such a small number.
Next, lucky fans were given the chance to have their own questions answered. While man of the questions gave little room for anything but politically correct answers, the girls did their best to keep things interesting.
One interesting question posed by the local Japanese press was what the girls most wanted now and what was their favorite thing that they got from fans. Maeda revealed that she most wanted a new cellphone as her current phone was unable to take photographs. She revealed that her favorite gift had been a blanket from a fans and takes it wherever she goes.
Abe Maria in particular surprised the audience with her blunt sense of humor. When asked what she most wanted too, Abe spontaneously replied that she wanted a house in Singapore. When asked what her current cellphone ringtone was, she revealed that she used a clip of AKB48 Team 4’s Ichikawa Miori’s catchphrase from the song Team B oshi. Similarly showing off her mastery of comedic timing, at the suggestion of the MC to give Miori’s catchphrase a try, Abe harshly replied “But I’m not Fresh Lemon”.
As a surprise present to the day’s visitors, a short round of Jankenpon (rock-paper-scissors) was held between the AKB48 representatives and the cafe patrons. One lucky winner at each of the three sessions walked away with a copy of AKB48’s latest single, autographed on the spot by the two AKB48 members.
As customary of many other AKB48 events, all fans (and staff) in attendance were given the opportunity to shake hands with their idols at the end of the session. After having visited Singapore such numerous times, the girls seem to have recognized many of their fans by now.
The girls showed their appreciation for those who came to support the day’s events. And at the same time, fans took the opportunity to pass along words of encouragement.
Do look forward to more similar events as well as the AKB48 Singapore Cafe’s official launch celebration in the near future.
Despite being Japan’s top selling artists, the idols aim to convert fans the tough way, with their down to earth personality and apparent hard work. The group hopes that while the concept may still be foreign to the public, Singapore as well as other countries around the region will eventually warm up to the idea of idols you can meet. The AKB48 2011 Summer Holiday Special Visit was just one of the many planned events to raise the local awareness of AKB48.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.