Recently, computer glasses have become quite popular and are sold in shops everywhere in Japan. I never really bought into the concept even though my work requires painfully long hours in front of a computer screen. However, a couple of days ago we announced that up-and-coming idol Kanna Hashimoto would be appearing at two ALOOK glasses stores in Tokyo and Osaka.

After wrapping up that article I wiped the usual blood from my tired eyes and thought maybe it’s time to try out a pair. And what better way to do it than by meeting this future star while I’m at it!

We headed down to the grand opening of ALOOK in Shinsaibashi, Osaka to meet the starlet and see what all the fuss is about.

Welcome to Osaka!

I arrived at the shop and prepared for Kanna’s arrival. Waiting outside the store I was able to enjoy the sights and sounds of Osaka. A large man in a leather waistcoat walked by screaming, “Tell me! You better start talking!” into his mobile phone.

Gradually the line of people waiting to meet young Kanna grew. I’ve never been to an idol event before but I’ve always heard talk of the “idol otaku” and was braced for the worst. However, a pretty diverse group of people was gathering. Both men and women of all different ages and dressed in varying fashions were waiting. If these were indeed idol otaku then it’s a hard group to stereotype.

A small group of teenagers were standing behind me when a woman talking as if she had some kind of mental illness asked one of them if she was the idol. The girl politely said no, and the woman yelled that she should be and promptly rode away. So far, so weird.

Then, Kanna Hashimoto made her first appearance. Emerging from the doorway she greeted and thanked everyone who came out. She then returned to her post on the second floor to start working. “Mecha Kawaii!!!” shouted the high school girls behind me as Kanna walked inside.

Service with a smile and a handshake

In small groups customers were taken to the second floor to pay for their glasses. Earlier, they could get their prescriptions taken care of and then return at 5:30 to have them handed to them by Kanna herself. One by one, we paid for our glasses then walked over to her counter for a small chat session and handshake with the idol.

I’ve heard of these kind of handshake events before but never experienced one in person. Watching the others, I soon realized that they seemed to have prepared something or at least had an idea of what they were going to say to Kanna. I most definitely did not. Before I knew it, I was standing in front of one of the most happening idols in the industry and had thought of zero to say.

“Um, hello,” I said plainly, to which she responded with a hearty English “Hello!” We continued the rest of the conversation in Japanese, and I was surprised at how normal and relaxed she seemed. She came across quite at ease but not aloof and wasn’t forcing the conversation at all. I began to feel so relaxed that I broke out my classic joke about the Mexican firefighter.

After trying out the, “Why does a gorilla have big nostrils?” joke, I felt satisfied that I said all that needed to be said. Kanna cheerfully handed me my PC glasses in a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu bag, gave me a surprisingly firm handshake and we said our goodbyes.

ALOOK around

Hanging out while the other customers got to meet Kanna, it was impressive to see how many of them opened up to the idol. To be polite I stayed out of earshot but some guys and girls seemed to be unloading quite a bit on her and she was giving them her full attention.

I’ve seen videos of these types of events and there’s usually someone holding a stopwatch ready to usher out any lollygaggers, but here no one was watching the time and everyone could speak at their own pace. On the other hand, the fans too seemed to know how long they should take, and no one overstayed their welcome.

At one point a college-aged guy walked up to the Rev. From DVL member then suddenly glanced over at me. He looked at Kanna and then back at me again. Finally, he asked her “Is that guy your father?” There’s a chance that might have been a crack at my age, but if someone’s going to assume I was in the same gene pool as her, why would I put up a fuss?

Prior to coming out I envisioned a more rigid and artificial meet-and-greet between Kanna Hashimoto and her fans, but everything about this appearance was surprisingly relaxed, normal, and fun. It’s hard not to hope the best for the young idol and look forward to see what my daughter accomplishes next in show business.

Oh – and best of all – thanks to my new ALOOK PC glasses, I finished this article without massive headaches and retinal bleeding!

Photos: RocketNews24

For the sake of readers’ bleeding eyes I’ll crop myself out of the rest of the pictures.

The ALOOK staff are easy to spot