Meeting for the First Time, A LINKSTAR’s Story

I remember having the same feeling the first time I went to the AKB theater as a fan and saw the members I had followed so closely at home. It felt surreal, almost as if I was still in a dream. There they were, this person I had begun following exclusively over the internet from half a world away right in front of me. I had seen numerous videos. I learned the songs. And in today’s case, even done interviews. But now here they were, in real life flesh and blood. Living. Breathing. And sparkling on stage before my very eyes.

There’s no other way to describe it other than that.


My initial reaction has always been the same “Hmm, they look just like they do on TV.”

As if by some odd chance the idol you’ve seen so many times on your computer monitor was just some sort of CG creation that didn’t actually exist in real life.

Then the thought crosses your mind, “How DID you expect them to look?”

I just didn’t expect them to look exactly the same as they did in media. Surely there had to be some sort of difference in the live version?

But nope, pretty much exactly how you seem them on tv is how they are in real life. I guess that’s the power of Idols.


And then in the midst of all this, there always comes that moment where you realize they’re looking at you. You make eye contact. You’re unsure at first. Maybe they’re just glancing in your general direction. After all, the human eye does have an incredible capacity for peripheral vision.

But suddenly, they acknowledge your existence. Either they smile at you, or wave at you, or make a face at you, or sometimes they even point. Then there’s no doubt anymore. It can be embarrassing.

In that fraction of second, an eternity of events whirlwinds by. There’s an incredible culmination of validation, relief, excitement, and discovery. It’s like a mini realization of your dreams. You came all this way to meet someone and it didn’t go terribly wrong.

To this day, I’ve met countless Idols. Taken nearly 500 Polaroids with them. But I still get that jittery feeling when meeting an Idol I’ve been following for a while for the first time.


Such was the case today’s meeting with LINKSTAR’s. Technically, this wasn’t even my first time meeting them. I had seen them May of last year and taken a picture with Matsunaga Arisa. And then I saw them again in October for Japan Expo in LA. But I didn’t follow them close enough to be familiar so I guess there wasn’t any pressure.

Now that I consider myself a fan I guess the nerves were really on. Even so, I was able to meet 5 out of the 7 current members and they ended up being some of the best pictures I’ve ever taken.

Haneda Mana
Ichinose Nanami
Otomo Haru
Ayakawa Hinano
Matsunaga Arisa

I wasn’t able to have talk time with Ayakawa and Matsunaga, plus Uemura Mari and Itoh Yua were absent for school reasons, so I’ll have to look to forward to meeting them and the other members again on Sunday. Look for some more stuff coming soon.


Also, I brought cookies from the states. Do you recognize the brand?


About David Liao

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