AKB48 “super carnivore” Rino Sashihara’s fans are as ardent as ever, with a strawberry farmer’s confession that he has to employ an assistant to separate all his thousands of votes from their accompanying CDs still managing to provoke awe online.
He cagey about his election budget for 2014 (perhaps fearing to provoke competing fans), but says he plans to buy at least 4600 votes, and will be employing a drudge to undertake the grueling work of separating the vote coupons from the worthless CDs.
The actual work of casting the votes for Sashihara is too important to be left to any underlings it would seem, judging from his comments to journalists:
“This here is a bundle of voting tickets. Whenever I go out, I always have them with me. There are about 500 here.
Any spare moment I get I cast a vote with my phone.
It takes quite a bit of time to enter the serial number for each vote into the site, in total I am spending about ¥9,000,000 a year on Sashihara!”
He is unperturbed by the scandal surrounding “super carnivore” Sashihara, though his investment seems not to have borne the same returns either.
Even more amazingly, he is in fact married and has two children – and his wife apparently puts up with his antics, as he is only squandering the personal savings he accumulated prior to his marriage.
She does however restrict him to a ¥30,000 allowance when it comes to the money he earns now.
Aside from voting he also reports enjoying handshaking events, having used 869 tickets at one time – with each ticket granting a total of 3 seconds of time with his favourite idol.
The 40 minutes he was able to spend chatting with her were spent “talking about nothing much at all,” he says.
Online there is increasing wonderment at how Japan’s national idols can carry on with such a surreal and increasingly controversial spectacle:
“Give the money to her!”
“What will he do when she weds…”
“Spend it on your own wife you fool.”
“What trash… blowing all your savings on this and not your kids?”
“Unbelievable his family puts up with this. Is he beating them or what?”
“People who invest this much in their weird hobbies are what keep the economy turning over!”
“He could have built a house with the money he spent on her he says, and all he did was buy a bunch of worthless CDs and have a meaningless chat with her when he met her. How can you respond to this?”
“CDs are kind of immaterial now, aren’t they?”
“Strawberry farmers make that much!?”
“Farmers are total fatcats aren’t they? Hit them with the TPP!”
“To think this guy is being subsidised with our taxes…”
“What a waste of time, money and resources.”
“Idols have been around a long time, but this new business model is really terrifying…”
“How about you make it one man one vote!”