Reporters’ request for eye contact goes awry.
About a month ago, we had the chance to shake hands with an otter, and it was adorable. As the little guy gently laid his hand in ours, a sense of calm came over us, and given how relaxed he was through the whole affair, he seemed to be in good spirits, too.
But not every animal grasps the finer points of this human greeting, as shown by this video of a cat owner in Japan looking for a handshake, and finding out that her pet has a lightning-fast left hook.
Handshake events – meet-and greets which give members of the public the chance to meet their idols in person, however briefly – are hugely popular in Japan. But they aren’t just for trembling super-fans of button-cute pop stars to get a chance to caress the digits of their favourite singers. No, kids are also regulars at handshake events featuring their TV and video game idols. (Okay, so it’s just some guy in a suit, but don’t tell the kids that, you monster!)
But something very weird, not to mention awkward, happened at a recent Dragon Ball Z handshake event when series villain Frieza came face to face with his own, um, face when an adult fan showed up in a matching costume. Friezeception!
In the wake of the saw attack on two members of AKB48 and one man working with the venue, many readers of the news couldn’t help but think, “It was just a matter of time before something like this happened.”
Handshake and high-five events give fans and idols a daring level of closeness compared to pop stars in other countries. However, for years they have gone on relatively incident-free, which is surprising considering the thousands and thousands of people who participate around the country.
Despite the nagging feeling that something could go very wrong, these promotional events were hugely lucrative in an otherwise stale music industry. But now the company behind AKB48, as well as those handling other idol units who rely heavily on these events, have to find a way to ensure their stars’ safety without losing the sense of intimacy they’ve had with their fan-bases.