Meeting AIKA - My Experience Attending a JAV Meet-and-Greet as a Literal Giant

Published : February 10th, 2023 Written by Anton Algren

Yes, drk. I know you're reading this right now. And you're probably wondering how I got the signed sheet you see in the thumbnail. All will be revealed in due time. But first, please, exercise a little patience as I tell all.

Our story begins on the weekend of January 21-22. I'd intended to go to two fan meets; one for Arina Hashimoto, and the other one for AIKA. Arina unfortunately came down with pneumonia earlier that week, and had to cancel (for the record she made a speedy recovery, and seems to be doing well again), but thankfully AIKA was able to show up to her fan meet. And, thankfully for my time and money, instead of showing up physically a week prior, I was able to reserve a spot in the roster via phone (which was a tremendous relief, since there were only 30 spots available).

The last two fan meets I went to were in the heart of Osaka, in the Kaitori Max store. This was a different venue though, in a different neighborhood with a different vibe. Instead of a downtown cityscape, Kansai Trend Bookstore is located in suburbia, with plenty of residential areas nearby. This is probably why, if you find the store by walking down the main street, instead of an ingress you'll see several signs, all asking you to come round the back to enter. Even in this backstreet, I encountered a few little old ladies enjoying a morning walk, but if they disapproved of my being there, they gave no signal of it.

         
Yep, they really want you to take the long way round.

Kansai Trend Bookstore is a lot smaller than Kaitori Max. There's only one floor, and more of the store is dedicated to non-AV material, though as you can see the shop proudly plasters its ties to AV stars across the interior. I got there an hour early (punctuality is important), and after purchasing my ticket, asked how many staff would be there, so I could buy enough ice cream for everyone. I then had a leisurely lunch, bought my ice cream, and returned with time to spare.

To my surprise, the store owner and several other guests were waiting patiently outside when I returned. It turned out that not only would AIKA be appearing, but she would be coming through the front (well, back) door for us all to see, instead of being smuggled through in secrecy. She was running a bit late, but when at last she and her driver pulled into the parking lot, she apologized for her tardiness (the usual issues with transportation) and gave us all a quick greeting before going in to get ready. I dropped off my ice cream, and asked if I could take some pictures of the shop for ZENRA. The staff thanked me for my gift and obliged my request, so I snapped some quick shots of the store interior.

   

Another difference between Kaitori Max and Kansai Trend Bookstore is how seats are arranged. Just as the venue is smaller, so too are the stools upon which we had to sit, and I sadly had to stand up and stretch multiple times throughout the event (I am a very large man and am thoroughly uncomfortable on tiny tuffets). More importantly though, while at Kaitori Max, the seats were arranged by the order of us entering (so the first people to arrive were placed in the first seats and got to talk to Mao earlier), while seats here were first-come-first-serve. And while we patrons were responsibly keeping our social distances from one another, after the event coordinators asked us to close our ranks, we sort of waddled around the area, like a weird bout of musical chairs, until we'd awkwardly moved our butts and belongings into new seats. Then, to our (or at least my) surprise, the store owner said that this was how we would be ordered for the whole event.

      

AIKA's manager/bodyguard came out, oddly enough dressed like Joel from Mystery Science Theater 3000, and explained da rules to us. As per usual, they were effectively "Don't be a creep or we'll throw you out" alongside the new COVID-era "Keep your mask on and sanitize your hands before coming up". Once we'd all confirmed our understanding, the event began in earnest.

AIKA came out and thanked us all for coming, before asking us to clap and cheer for a Youtube video on her channel, chronicling that day's event. I don't know if the video will be out by the time this article is published, but if so, if you listen closely, you may be able to hear my voice cheering. I can't guarantee it, but it might be there. Then, as AIKA set her iPhone music playlist up, we began the first round of the event.

      

For this round, we each came up in pairs for a minute where we could take as many pictures as we liked of AIKA. There'd been something similar at the Mao Hamasaki events, but for that we'd each come up individually, instead of in pairs. And while the other attendees all dutifully waited for AIKA to turn their way before taking one or two pictures, I had not been trained by Mao to tap that camera button like it was the final boss in The Legendary Starfy (some nights I still wake up in a cold sweat, remembering that boss fight) simply to take a mere handful of pics that event. No, I mashed that button like I was fighting Mashtooth, and I got a full 131 pictures of AIKA in that minute of time. I... I mean, obviously I can't show all those pics, that would take up too much space. But the point is, my training from Mao's fan meets paid off. It's the principle of the matter, you see. Mao and her manager would be proud of me.

      

I remember the opening song of AIKA's playlist quite distinctly. It was the DJ Spen & Michele Chiavarini remix of "Elevation" by S.E.L. And while I would not necessarily expect AIKA to be a fan of such a song, the more I listen to it, the more I think it suits her. I look at the pictures I took of her and can still vividly recall the sight of her posing, almost dancing, in time with the music. It's a good song. I still run to it at the gym.

After the first round came to a close, AIKA joked that she was getting old, now that her back couldn't ignore the strain of constantly arching like it used to. But her manager and the store owner cheered her up with some hydration (it came in a neat, little sippy cup), and she amused us with her routine of an elderly woman sucking on a bottle.

I don't think it's too controversial to say that the public personas of porn performers are, like the kayfabe images of pro wrestlers, not necessarily a full and nuanced reflection of their personalities and selves. They may not necessarily be antithetical to the real them (every wrestling fan knows the best persona is simply you, exaggerated), but I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that the personality you see on screen is not how the person is 100% of the time. The reason I bring this up is that, while I've mentioned how the difference of venue let to a difference of experience, I haven't really discussed how a difference in the actress led to it.

      

Every person is unique, and Mao Hamasaki and AIKA are very different actresses. To be brief (and perhaps truncated) Mao is Doja Cat, while AIKA is Megan thee Stallion. And while in my meetings with Mao, she was constantly "on", keeping her energy and bubbliness at 100% throughout the event (even though I know that must have been exhausting), in the brief time I spent at AIKA's fan meet, she proved much more willing to "break character", as it were. She came across as a very blunt, no-nonsense person. Like, "This is me. This is what you get. If that runs counter to your fantasy of me, then, well, uh, tough." But one would be foolish to mistake this frankness for rudeness.

On the way to the fan meet, I listened to You're Him, Aren't You? by Paul Darrow, in which the autobiographical actor recounts a life lesson imparted to him while having dinner with Liberace. Liberace told Paul to never forget his fans, because, after all, it was Liberace's fans that had paid for this wonderful meal. And while AIKA may have had no time for people who put her on a pedestal, she remained polite and gracious to each and every one of us at the event. I believe that, though not from Liberace, AIKA probably learned the same lesson from a different teacher. Mao may be more like Paul Darrow in embracing her character, while AIKA more resembles Leonard Nimoy in keeping a healthy distance between fiction and reality. But neither of them forget their fans.

For the second round, we got two pictures taken with AIKA; one on our personal phones or cameras, and another a wide cheki photograph. At this point I should probably point out another amusing difference between Mao and AIKA. As a very, very tall lad, I am used to people boggling at my height, especially in Japan. So when Mao and AIKA both boggled at the sight of me, it did not come as much of a surprise. But while Mao's boggling was fannish (like, "Wow! You're so tall! That's so cool!"), AIKA's was more akin to what I encounter from elderly folks (like "JAYSUS! Yer a big, mean-lookin' cunt, ain'tcha?"). In both cases, I appreciated their comments, and the fact that AIKA insisted on putting her elbow on my shoulder as we posed, despite it being rather difficult for her.

For the wide cheki though, my height proved a problem. How to fit me into frame without only showing AIKA from the neck up? The manager and store owner were wracking their brains over this dilemma, while AIKA chuckled at the situation, and I, ad-libbing on the spot, got on one knee and extended an arm outward, as though I were some youthful troubadour professing his love to a noble lady. AIKA, not missing a beat, took my hand whilst surrendering none of her stately sophistication, and I had to admire her improv skills. At the very least, everyone else got a chuckle out of our antics.

For the third round, we gave AIKA things to sign. I was allowed two articles to hand over, and took the time to confirm it was alright to show the pictures I'd taken online. For my first article, I chose my cheki photograph (naturally), and while I shall not reveal the message AIKA wrote for me, I can at least assure everyone that it was nothing sordid or untoward. As for my second article, there was only one thing I could choose.

If you've spent a serious amount of time on this site, then you're probably familiar with our frequent commenter, drk. He loves AIKA, and can sniff out her presence on this site like a pig sniffing out the best truffles. For that reason, he has almost certainly clicked on this article, and may even be reading these very words right now. If so, drk, I hope you exercised patience and read the whole article before skipping to where your name was mentioned. If not, go back and read the rest of the article. Go on. I'll wait.

Done? Good. Then I shall continue. Despite his intense fannishness towards AIKA, I haven't encountered drk being an outright troll or bullying any of the other commenters. He's just a fellow who's very passionate about the actress he likes, and who can fault a man for that? As such, since drk is so far away from AIKA, while I had a chance to meet her, I thought I would have her sign the makeshift sheet I'd made. After a brief explanation of who drk was, AIKA was more than happy to oblige, and so I got my wish. I hope I also made drk's day.

After the third round, I had gotten all the goodies I'd earned from my purchased tickets. And I had a train to catch, so sadly I had to leave before AIKA's final departing message. Even so, I got to say good-bye and thank you to everyone, and leave knowing that my ice cream was greatly appreciated. I don't know if AIKA will return to Osaka in the future, but even if not, I'd very much like to return to Kansai Trend Bookstore. It was a great place, and the workers were very kind. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for future fan meets there.

One last chapter to the story before it ends; as I made my way down the backstreet to the train station, I stumbled upon a vending machine. Now, you've all probably heard stories about the wild and crazy vending machines that Japan ostensibly has, filled with things like used schoolgirl panties and other unsettling stuff. But, I confess, I'd sort of chalked those tall tales up to wild rumor and speculation. Imagine my surprise then when I saw that this vending machine contained AV actress ona cups. They were the cheap, disposable kind, which I don't think are really worth the price. But, I'll admit, as I saw a familiar face amongst the wares, I was tempted to get one, just for a moment. It would certainly have made a fitting end to this whole saga.

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Comments
pachuli4666 1 year ago
Excellent as always Anton fulfilling every fantasy that a fan can have. Meet your favorite Pornstar. If you come across Manami Oura or the already retired Reiko Nakamori so that you have a drawing of my country's flag (ARGENTINA) I will be eternally grateful to you. excellent work friend
Anton Algren 1 year ago

I don't think I could meet Nakamori, but I might be able to meet Oura at some point. If so, I'll have her sign a print of the Argentine flag. :)
I'd like to at least meet all the actresses on my Top 10 list.

drk 1 year ago
Thank you very much for your kind thought and I'm glad that you enjoyed meeting AIKA. What you feel tallies with what I feel about her - she has no problem switching in and out of the persona, and if you don't like it - too bad.

As for me, I've booked my tickets to Japan for 2 weeks in mid-May (just after Golden Week) and hope to meet her then. Hopefully an event, definitely her hair removal shop (promised her to go when she was still on 17LIVE), maybe Toro no Ana if timing works for her and they're ok with a love hotel (otherwise picking an accepting hotel for such activities is a bit difficult for me as a tourist).

I'll tell her about you when I have my zoom call with her (I was promised one for being a regular supporter on her 17LIVE a long time ago, but my Japanese wasn't good enough, then she got super busy and I didn't want to intrude on her time). Now I'd like to call on this favour, but she's abandoned 17LIVE and is super busy, so I don't have good means of getting in touch with her.

P.S. Had you known my real name, she'd most likely recall me (As she knows me under that one).
ZENRA 1 year ago

If you write a nice field report, we may be able post parts of it.

Anton Algren 1 year ago

I'm glad to have made your day. And I confess I envy your going to Toro no Ana. I think the only way I could afford the rates there is if I started a GoFundMe or sumsuch. XD
I hope your trip goes well.

drk 1 year ago
Thank you, I'm not saying that Toro no Ana is in my regular budget, it's a one off really and the most time sensitive thing I want to do while I'm there (before she retires) - other stuff is the classic tourist that was, is and will be.
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