On the 10th and 11th of December 2010, AKB48 continued on their rampage through Asia, and visited the Singapore Toys, Games and Comics Convention (STGCC)!
Unlike the last time with Anime Festival Asia, JPHiP was prepared and maliciel, kohilist and polyrhythm were on hand to capture the action as it happened! A lot of things happened, and I'll go through them one-by-one! But firstly, massive
props to STGCC
and Reed Exhibitions
for making it all possible. They're a veteran in the business and definitely deserve the props for listening to the fans to make an awesome event. Day 0: Thursday 091210
Thursday is the day before the first appearance by the girls. We (SGP48, what some of us fans in Singapore call ourselves) had already ruled out Wednesday because the whole of AKB48 had to attend the 5th anniversary commemoration event. So pretty much the whole of Wednesday night, Thursday morning was stalking all the girls' blogs to see if we could find a clue when they were leaving Japan and arriving in Singapore. We had spreadsheets set up, and there really was no way to tell when they were coming even with the date of departure pretty much set in stone.
8am. No news. No one even mentioned
Singapore, much less talked about going on a plane. We were getting worried. Would we actually have to camp the airport and hope to spot them coming in? There are daily flights from Japan in the morning, afternoon and night/early morning, so no one was relishing that idea. But that pretty much looked like the only way. The event on Friday only had 3 participants (Uchida Mayumi, Nakatsuka Tomomi, Ishida Haruka), but we were convinced that they'd come as a group. After all, it's not like the girls coming were bigshots and had stuff they couldn't afford to skip, right?
Apparently, we were proven wrong after Harukyan tweeted:
Today I'll be participating in a bunch of photo-shoots ｀・ω・´ After that a trip to Singapore! It's for the event, so only 3 of us will be going. But it's the first time I'll be in Singapore, so I'm nervous still ｀・ω・´
This was around 9am, which meant that we had no idea just how close she was to departing from Japan. It was unlikely they'd arrive at 5pm, but entirely possible
. The cogs started and we began panicking a little. Some of us didn't have work or school, so we'd be camping at the airport from at least 4pm while waiting for the rest of the cavalry to come. There were 2 arrivals at 11pm and another at 1am. The only real problem? The two arrivals were in different terminals and getting back home after that 1am flight would mean dropping serious cash. But hey, if not us then who else, right? The girls deserved a welcome, whatever the time.
We found a spot in McDonald's (the same one we sat at the last time AKB48 came) and settled in. Got some food, we brought our boards (mine was a 滝川クリ○テルよりクリスがいい！ board) and sat down. We were mostly inconspicuous, but there was a group of Japanese boys who came as well. They played AKB music really loudly for some reason. Maybe they saw some of the guys taking out their Chance no Junban CDs. We sat there for hours. Hotel California and My Way now holds a special place in my heart. I will fucking stab anyone who plays that shit. 5pm came and went. The few of us there knew it wasn't going to happen at 5, it was way too early. But better safe than sorry.
11pm. The group grew larger. We were joined by a few people. Some of us ordered AKB waffles and got trading cards, so there was a trading card frenzy at that point. I managed to trade Yukirin away for a Mariya card (it's worth it!). We were joined by richardthebrave, who flew in from the Philippines, and the AKB48 Indonesia Forum were arriving around the same time we were speculating AKB48 to be. The group was now mobile. There were 2 flights arriving with only a 30 minute gap, and a scheduling change then meant they were arriving within 10 minutes of each other! The problem? They were at different terminals! There was no choice, we had to gamble on one. We decided it was best to stake out terminal 2, and then move to terminal 3 swiftlike. Which is what we did. Turned out that was no issue at all, because they arrived at neither! So it was left to the 1am flight. The indonesians arrived not long after we were waiting for the 11pm flight, and we introduced ourselves and whatnot. I met arsencoffee from AKB48 Journal
and she's pretty cool. But we parted ways as the Indonesians left to have a meal and we waited at the belt for another 2 hours.
Crunch time. All of us were certain it was this flight, and when people started disembarking we all raised our boards and kept a lookout. We had our AKB t-shirts on, so we stuck out. A lady came over and asked us who we were waiting for. I saw that she had an AKB48 manifest on her clipboard, so we knew we hit jackpot. So we waited patiently, sizing up any potential girls. Most of the people coming out were Japanese, so I'm pretty sure it was weird for them to look at a bunch of people wearing pink and behaving really weirdly. We waved at some random people to brighten their day. We had seen some photos of what they were wearing, but Japan being Japan, everyone pretty much wore the same shit. But oh wait, that girl in the beige cap..HOLY SHIT IT'S KRIS! KRIS!
Everyone naturally thought it was just some other chick, but I was pretty sure it was her. Then she waved back.
Holy shit it was her! They arrived! The fans went bonkers. Imagine a group of 30 people just going crazy and making a din at an airport. The other two showed up and they went to collect their bags. Unlike in November, they didn't come up-close. Probably because being only 3 girls, there was very little to wait for in terms of luggage, so that was settled pretty fast. Now, this was the new Terminal 3, and we thought similar to how they arrived the last time, they were going to walk straight out to the bus. Apparently not. The new terminal doesn't have pick-up bays, so they walked the length of the terminal (their belt was on the other side) with no barriers and 30 people around them!
It was pretty fucking crazy. There were about 10 people with cameras, and some of them talked to the girls. They seemed pretty weirded out, because it was 2am and there were a bunch of people treating them like stars. Kris saw my board! I gave her a letter too! Well not her, the manager. But it was great. She smiled a bit for the cameras. We walked along, I snapped some photos. The distance was so close that basically you could carry on a conversation and walk side-by-side with the girls. Some of them did do that, and a few got to talk with their idols. Then I realized that the girl walking next to Kris (who wasn't actually as tall as I thought) was actually Harukyan! She didn't have makeup on, but she looked pretty still. Mayuchi was chillin' in the back and interacted with the fans.
The heat of the country hit them when they walked out. All the girls went 'Atsui atsui!' and Harukyan took off her jacket as she boarded the bus. The bus was being loaded and we got about 10 minutes of interaction time with the girls. On my side were Harukyan and Tomochan, while Mayuchi sat on the other side. Two of the AIF people were going 'Haato, Peace! Haato, Peace!' while doing the actions. Kris looked pretty bewildered at first, but she imitated, to the cheers of everyone who saw it. She looked in amazement and snapped some photos. I would like to think she got a photo of mine, but she has been silent about Singapore on her blog. Harukyan took some photos as well. She took one, said 'mou ikkai' and took another one. She showed us her cellphone screen and the whole place erupted in cheers. After about 10/15 minutes, the bus began to move, and the was the end of Day 0 (or was it Day 1?).The rest of the photos I took.
Kohilist is still processing his, but they will be up, in due time.