So I finally got to meet Akarin in person (and a few others during the AKB48 29th Single HS event). Thought I'd share with you all what happened on that fateful Sunday.
Before it was my turn to shake hands, she looked really cute and pretty sporting that outfit and with twintails (see pic at end of post), and lively as expected from the fishing master. Admittedly, I was nervous.
Then it was my turn. Her grip was pretty firm, her beaming face being fairly close to mine. I told her that I was from Australia. She got all really excited but, as if she suddenly remembered something, it was what she said in response that got me all warm and fuzzy inside. She told me that she read my fan letter and received my little (keychain souvenir) gift that I sent to her a month ago before I left. I didn't even need to mention it. I was really, really happy and, having lost for words, could only muster a "thank you!" (which probably didn't quite make sense in context but anyway). She also asked me if I wrote that letter myself (to which I said "yes") and proceeded to compliment on my Japanese skills. (To be quite honest, it was my first time writing in Japanese and as such, it was pretty bad in my opinion
The other thing of mention was this: since my Japanese was horrible, my lines were a bit messed up (whether it was me fumbling on lines or pronunciation issues). However, it was really cute and nice of her to assist me in trying to understand what I was trying to say to her. During the first slot, I told her I watched the episode of Anta Dare featuring her in it, to which I got a reply of thanks. Next slot, I asked her to fish me. She winked at me. I was starstruck, and then a little lost for words
(you fishing pro). As soon as I left (after both of those slot sessions), she popped her head behind the partition to see me out.
Those 50 seconds were probably the best moment of my entire fandom life as a -48 fan; to even be remembered just like that by your oshimen without yourself trying to ask for it (even though I was probably going to anyway if she didn't immediately blurt it out) was a massive bonus. I love her - such a warm-hearted, sweet, smiling girl. Definitely will treasure this experience for quite some time to come.