What A Trip! - My SNH48 Group Fandom / The Journey to Meet Them Part 1 - New Age Idols Recap




Recently, I went on a trip to Beijing and Shanghai to experience a few events I never will forget.

Before then, will you come along with me as I detail how I got to that point, what all transpired and what the future holds for my fandom after three years...

I first saw SNH48 when they released their music video for the song Uza (which is the Chinese version of the AKB48 song) and I enjoyed it but never payed attention to the group afterwards.


A little later in March 2016, I read an article about a SNH48 member, Tang Anqi. In that article, it was described that she caught on fire in a Shanghai Café and burned 80% of her body. As that initial shock passed, deep inside was dwelling a dormant fan. 

The presence of that person would partially appear a few months later, but wouldn’t fully appear until a year later.

In June of 2016, I read that AKB48 Group and SNH48 Group were splitting up due to issues that I really won't go into detail about because it was quite a messy situation. During that time, my AKB48 Group fandom was dwindling as well my love for Japanese Pop as my mind switched gears to focus on Korean Pop and a small amount of Chinese Pop. 

I wanted to learn more about the group, so I watched music videos and picked out favorite members but that was as far as I was taking it.

For over a year, I disregarded the SNH48 Group as something I was trying to stay away from, like someone with the plague. 

Little did I know what was to transpire over the next two years...

In June 2017, while at work and listening to music, I randomly thought about the SNH48 group and wondered what they had been up to since I last heard them the year prior. So, off I went to Spotify and listened to the group's newest album "Summer Pirates".

That album listening session woke the sleeping beast inside that laid dormant for a year.

While watching the music video I noticed this member who resembled Maeda Atsuko of AKB48 (which was my first AKB48 crush).


That members name is Zhang Xin of SNH48 Team HII. At that point, I wanted to find out who she was so I went to the Stage48 (Wiki48) website, which is a website dedicated to anything 48 and 46 group related, to learn more about her. I became a fan of hers based on looks only, sadly. I wouldn't put her as a favorite for another year but I was a fan after this video. 

While on the website  looking through members, I stumbled upon SNH48 Team HII yet again and looked them up on YouTube once more.

This one specific YouTube channel that I will link below, re-uploads the SNH48 stages and they are able to view by people from around the world... As I looked up one specific member, Lin Nan of Team HII, I stumbled across this gem of a solo song by her. She performed this song for her birthday stage.


This song is usually sung by now recently graduated member, Xu Han of Team HII and it is titled in pinyin "Guan bu diao", which in English is "Can't Turn Off". It is a very strange first impression video of a member that I have ever had before. From this one video on wards, Lin Nan (more on her in this article down the road) became one of my top 2 members at that time along with Zhang Xin of the same team but more of her introduction will come later. 

After seeing that video, I was intrigued by the team and watched some of their MC performances that were cut on YouTube. Even though I do not understand Chinese at all, I still could get what was going on and I fell in love with that team. I watched performance after performance to get a feel for the group and watched other teams stages as well, mostly Team X though. 

During my research I discovered that they had sister groups at that time in the cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenyang and Chonqqing. So like most if not all other times, I did my research on them and picked out my favorites which I will showcase down below. It will kind of be interesting to show you how I became a fan of them and the videos that never fail to make me smile. 

Anyways,  I kept up with them for a long time and no matter what, I could always turn to them if I had a bad day. 

They have their own application where they live-stream themselves just chit-chatting and doing random things. If you live abroad, you can get it on the Apple Store but if you are an Android user, you need to download an APK file to get it. When you use that application, you will find new members and become fans of them as you can follow their room and get notifications when they go live. 

After some time, my favorite member list continued to grow to where it currently resides at 50+ members...no joke. I picked quite a few members from the get go but some other ones stood out to me. I won't list them all of course but I will leave a screenshot of my favorite ones. 

As the year went by, some of my favorites took their talents elsewhere and left the group. Even Shenyang48 (SHY48) and Chonqqing48 (CKG48) were disbanded earlier this year due to crazy circumstances but CKG48 was reborn a couple of months later. Some of the members in both of those groups got split between the other three sister groups (SNH48,BEJ48,GN48) while the others were demoted to what seems like the China48 idol graveyard that is IdolsFT. 

At the point of where I was fed up of them leaving, or the chance of them leaving soon,  I decided to take the journey all the way from the middle of America, Oklahoma to Beijing and Shanghai, China just to see the group in person and meet the members for the 6th Annual SNH48 Group Election and Concert on July 27th - 29th, 2019. 


This next part will be all about my experiences from getting a ticket to the concert and other related things that are relevant to the story and the "fun" time at the BEJ48 Theater. 
My Shanghai journey will be in part 2.  

There are some warnings below for foreigners (especially from the states or other western country) who plan on going to the theater and event. 

First and foremost, I had to get a ticket for the event which was a journey of its own. There are multiple fan clubs out there for members that you may be a fan of. They use the app QQ, which used to have an international version but it didn't work so well. You may have to use the Chinese version but once in, it is easy. 

I have been a fan of a certain member for quite some time and I asked in her fan group about tickets because getting a ticket is hard. I got really lucky because a member of that group was kind enough to let me pay him for the ticket, so I was set for the concert but not the handshake event. I had to go on the Chinese version of Ebay, Taobao, and purchase an album and some handshake tickets as well. I did not realize that I over prepared for the whole thing but hindsight is 20/20. I bought 80 handshake tickets thinking that I would see all my favorites plus more, but boy was I mistaken. More on that later...

The next scenario was a very interesting one. BEJ48 was performing in their theater during the weekend that I was to be there so I did my research on how to see them. They have English instructions on how to get tickets from abroad and I was able to secure a seat for all three team (B,E, and J) stage performances. I was super happy to have those tickets but even more happiness was to transpire. I found out that BEJ48 Team E would be doing a fansign event, so I had a photo card to use for one cheki (photo) with a member of my choosing. I chose my Team E oshi, Ren ManLin. My Ren ManLin fandom doesn't go that far back but it had some heat with it though. I found her through a YouTube channel that reposts the BEJ48 members 48App live-streams. I saw her and just kind of felt comfortable listening to her talk and just all around, a very smart and pretty girl. 

Continuing on, I packed my stuff up and headed to Beijing to see BEJ48 and see some sights as well. 

I arrived in Beijing the night before the team stage performances and I was exhausted and hot. I got up the next morning so excited to see my girl Ren ManLin but just to be there. I headed to the Chaoyang U-Town Mall, which is where the the theater is located on the 4th floor a little early not only because that is what the ticket information suggested I be there to pick them up at but also I was staying at the hotel next door. I was a little bit too early and the staff suggested I come back later.


The Exterior Of The Theater (Lobby View)

Outside the Theater 

I returned for the fan sign that afternoon and sent a message to the members of RML's fan club account to see if anyone would be there, I was greeted by one of the kindest guys I had ever met to that point. He knew I didn't speak Chinese at all, so he spoke really good English with me and explained some things. 

I was literally the only white guy/foreigner there! That will be a pattern as you will see in the next part.

The event started and I was already nervous just to be there. The fan who spoke to me earlier went first while I calmed down a little bit and just a little bit later, came my turn. He showed me a smile and said go ahead. I gave my photo ticket to the staff member of hers for the cheki and I was just aloof. We took a picture together, which I still carry in my wallet awkwardly enough. As we walked back to the table, my nerves went back up. I sat there in front of her, incredibly shy and super awkward. We exchanged greetings and she started to speak to me in English, which threw me off immediately. It was really good English so we had a back and forth conversation which needed a little bit of patience on both our sides. She recognized me from the 48App, because I let her know I was coming to see her. I let her know I will be seeing the stage performance the next night and she was thrilled to hear that and the fact that I would be in Shanghai for the main attraction. After a very interesting conversation, my time was up and I left with a big smirk on my face. I was so happy that if I died at that moment in time, I would not have cared. 

Ren ManLin (BEJ48 Team E) and I (07-20-2019)

I left the venue to get some fresh air because I needed it at that point....hahaha.

I returned to get my ticket for the Team J Dream Banner stage they were performing that night. This is when crap started to hit the fan fast. I went to the information desk to get my ticket and showed necessary documents they required to garner them. They directed me to the 48 Shop and buy them. 

Warning: The next few paragraphs, a foreign fan needs to know before going there!

I approached the counter and showed them my ticket voucher and was told to pay the amount shown. I whipped out my cash like it stated on the website clearly and was denied using such a payment method. After that was denied, I tried to use my credit cards in the hope of that working. I was wrong because they only accepted UnionPay credit cards which are mainly issued in mainland China or a bank branch outside of the country. The only other option is to use a mobile payment method, such as Alipay or WeChat Pay. Both of those, you either need a Chinese phone number or you need a Chinese credit card. Go figure, right! I did notice a money safe behind the counter in plain view but what was in there? Cash? Something else?

At that point, I was a tad bit frustrated and embarrassed because the clerk spoke no English, which I should've expected, and she tried to speak it to me with myself having no comprehension of what is going on. Some domestic fans noticed this going on and decided to help me out by using their payment method and I pay them cash. It was a disaster of epic proportions.....I want to thank the domestic fans for helping me out even though they did not have to. 

This situation transpired for the whole weekend of concerts in Beijing. 

If you are a foreign fan that speaks little to no Chinese and does not have the technology they do, then good luck to you....

I got to see all three stages and can I say I had the time of my life during those stages. Of course I knew all the songs and the members performing them. They have a call for the members, where there is either a phrase or just their name is shout to show support in the theater. Kind of a interesting concept but in person it is fun to do. 

Here were my seats for the stages:

View from my seat at the Team J (07-20-19) and Team B stage (07-21-2019)

View from my seat at the Team E stage (07-21-19)

As you can tell, my seats were pretty close to the stage as the venue is kind of tiny but very intimate.

During the Team J stage, I did a call for Liu Xian, Ye MiaoMiao, and Zhou Xiang. Re-watching the stage, I am embarrassed because my voice cracked. haha.... As for the Team B, B A Fighter stage, I think I only did Qu MeiLin because Sun XiaoYun was not there for me to call as well. The Team E stage, Universe 2.0,  had a very off putting moment for me. I did a call for a call for Wang YuLan but with my twang it sounded like Yang YiFan apparently  due to my poor pronunciation. I said Lan, like a a LAN cable, and not the real way of saying it which should sound like Lawn. She got confused but a guy behind me stated that I was a foreigner but it stuck in my head to this day *face palm*. I also did a call for my girl RML, so that was cool. 

During the live stages, I had views of a lot of the members but there are some memories that stick in my head, like Shin XiaoAi of Team B staring a hole through my head which was awkward, the fact that Ren ManLin lit up every time she saw me in the audience when she went to that side of the stage where I was. 

I, of course, earlier in the year bought an official SNH48 Group lightstick with various colors and some members have specific colors so during those stages, I had their color lit which made them smile more. 

After that interesting experience, it was time for me to head to Shanghai for the main reason I was there. 

The next part which includes the most amazing time of my year so far, will be a second part. I will describe my time at the concert, with the group during the handshake event and showcase which ones I got to meet and their overall reaction to me being there. So keep your eye out for it. 

By the way, you can follow me on Twitter or feel free to leave a comment below. I do not mind.

As always, wherever you are, have a wonderful day!













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