This is not something I say lightly.
This morning, as a stupid ass member of the press, I ran into one of AKB48′s cameramen — an official media guy who is “in” with AKB management and is tasked with covering the group. He had been in the hotel suite during my interview, and had spoken with me briefly before I carried out my business. Since I was wearing the same outfit as the previous day, he recognized me immediately.
So he says … “Hey, you know, that interview yesterday? The girls wouldn’t stop talking about you.”
I’m like … how do you mean?
“Well, after you left the room, they kept saying ‘MocchiSasshi, MocchiSasshi’” — apparently my gimmick of firing off nicknames had stuck with them.
And then … this is the hilarious thing: he asks me if he can film me using his cellphone videocamera, doing the exact same thing I did the previous afternoon, and he would forward it to the girls. You know. Just for fun.
So I pose for his doinky cellphone-camera, and I’m like: “AKB48 ohayou! Pata desu. Kitarie! Moeno! Mocchi! Sasshi! Konnichiwa!” and a waaaaaave.
And he finishes shooting and forwards the video to them. Because, apparently, this is our little in-joke now. (He also shows me a cellphone pic of Tomomi Kasai that she forwarded to the camera crew, or something.)
And, you know, just to make absolutely sure that this little in-joke is for real …
During AX Opening Ceremonies, I’m right in the press mosh pit, at the very front of the stage. I am close enough that I can use my epic voice to yell things and people would hear them. As in, people who are being introduced as Anime Expo Guests of Honor.
So eventually the countless multitudes of AKB48 trot out and introduce themselves. I see Asuka Kuramochi and Rino Sashihara on my side of the stage (funny how that worked out), and just as the group turns to leave, I summon my powers once more:
They turn around and see me in my Vocaloid shirt-and-tie. Their faces light up with recognition. I’m smiling, waving like an idiot, and they are cracking up at me.
You know, it’s one thing for idols to be impressed when you demonstrate your knowledge of the group. It’s another thing for them to recognize you when you come to their autograph session. But to have our own little in-joke…
I have become an AKB meme.
I am “the MocchiSasshi guy.”
It is the greatest honor of my life.