Tuesday, 15 August 2017

I'm no good with farewells, I much prefer just a 'See you later'...

Even though we both know that we won't see each other once again...
- I Need You/Buono!

Well, as mentioned a month ago, this is it.
Thank you for following along with this blog through its four years, over what my tags tell me totalled over 700 translations, both short and long.

I've learnt a lot over this four years, and not just in terms of Japanese.
Subtitling, image editing, philosophising on the art of translation...
These probably wouldn't have happened without the time I spent filling up this blog.

My target was at least one decently-sized translation a week.
I think I managed to do pretty well on that.
It was a useful constraint that kept me committed and let me continue improving.

There's still some things left hanging, but I suspect that they'd probably keep on hanging even if I had all the time in the world.
I plan to take some time to hopefully recentre myself, and see how things go on from there.
I'll still hopefully be around, here and there.
And maybe someday I'll be back, perhaps in some different form.
I don't intend to give up being an idol wota any time soon. After all, Momo herself has said that she hopes we keep on supporting idol culture.

But when all's said and done, with all the recent changes in H!P, it feels like a whole different ballgame nowadays.
In some ways, it's barely even the same H!P that I remember from a couple of months ago.
Guess it's now my turn to wave off.
After all, to me, it feels like the H!P that I remember has already waved goodbye...

Thank you again for these four years.

Mata aeru yo ne
(We'll meet again, won't we?
- Love Together/Berryz Kobo

Four Years of Translating

My fourth cake day as a translator!

So a couple of days after my previous birthday post, ℃-ute announced that they would be breaking up. As sad as the announcement was, I wasn't going to let anything bring me down for my trip to see Buono! at the Holy Land of Rock, the Nippon Budokan.

It was only later on Country Girls' second anniversary that the bomb dropped - Momochi announced her graduation and retirement. 30th June 2017 had been marked as the end of days.

A lot has happened in between - illnesses, sudden graduations, a reshuffle of Country Girls - but honestly, over this past year, Momochi's graduation was and still is the biggest thing to me. Coupled with increasing pressure from my work life, I came to the decision that it was high time for me to close the curtain on this blog.

In the meantime, I made some more excursions to Japan to catch a ℃-ute concert, Buono!'s Yokohama Arena show, and of course, Momochi's graduation concert.

To cap off the year, Pink Cres. dropped by my neck of the woods a couple of weeks ago. Took the opportunity to have a look, and even got a photo with the girls.


And as I did last year and the years before, here are some translation highlights over the past year. For obvious reasons, expect this to be heavily Momochi-biased, even more than usual lol

Rival - 12 shoujo no 10-nen monogatari -
Momochi no Kimochi
Both these books are pretty important to me, and while I couldn't finish either completely, I'm glad that I got translations of them out there, as niche as they are. While BeriKyuu may have graduated fully from H!P, BeriKyuu's 10th anniversary book was an interesting insight into the relationships between the girls. While the essays from Momochi no Kimochi of course provide an interesting insight into Momochi. XD

Miyamoto Karin loves 80s idol songs and ballads!!
Had to put in quite a bit of research into translating this, but as tough as it was, it was fun. Karin-chan talking about her obsession over 80s idols was a treat, and I'm glad this seems to have piqued people's interest in Karin-chan as well.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Danbara Ruru: The Future Legend (Top Yell Sept 2017)

(Summary of Danbara Ruru's solo interview)

♪ Ruru was very shy when she was small, so her mother sent her and her sister to a performance school. Ruru had always liked singing, but she couldn't sing in front of people, she'd only sing at home.

♪ Sayashi-san was what got her into Morning Musume。Ruru went to every Musume concert that happened in Hiroshima after Sayashi joined.

♪ Once she joined the Kenshuusei, Ruru was surprised at how much emphasis was put on capturing the rhythm. At the school she had previously attended in Hiroshima, the focus was more on singing with personality.

♪ With many of the girls from her generation getting into groups before her, she had thought about quitting. She'd actually gone out and said that she wanted to quit three times. But when asked in return if she'd quit if that were the case, she'd reply 'It's not like I particularly want to quit!' and keep at it. She's competitive, and is the type who doesn't want to quit until she gets some sort of result.

♪ Haga Akane-chan's debut was the most surprising to her. She was more mentally prepared for the debuts after that.

♪ When her group had yet to be made known, the Musume would have been her first choice. But she was happy to have gotten into Juice=Juice. Juice=Juice hadn't crossed her mind as a possibility because the group had never taken in new members before.

♪ On Yanagawa - Ruru: That machine gun chatter is crazy.

♪ Her goal in Juice=Juice
Ruru: I want to be doing work where I always bring smiles to people's faces, so I hope to become someone who can provide smiles and energy through my singing and dancing!

♪ Bonus from the 47 questions segment
What's the origin of your name?
My older sister is Riri, so I became Ruru.

Jidanda Dance / Feel! Kanjiruyo / Juice=Juice

Twitter Tidbits: Country Girls on tour

Country Girls Concert Tour 2017 Haru - Momochi-ism - / Country Girls

22nd April Momochi-ism tour in Nagoya [x][x][x][x]

Yamaki: Mai-chan, Yanamin, you've become senior high students. How are you finding it?

Ozeki: I'm cute, right!

Momo: Well, it'll take some time if we go in that direction, so let's just put it aside for the time being...

Ozeki: As senior high students, we have new teachers as well. So at our first lessons with the new teachers, we have to introduce ourselves. Since I'm cute, I've get told that I'm cute dozens of times a day.

Momo: Hmm? Okay.

Ozeki: Like my friends tell me that I'm cute. But it'd be awkward to start off with a, 'Yeah, I know'. For me to suddenly come out to say it, the people around might wonder, 'What's up with this girl?'

Momo: I can relate to that, obviously (laughs)

Ozeki:  So I modestly tell the speaker that they're cute too. But humility just doesn't fit with me! I can't lie, can I? We started off with science classes, and we had to introduce ourselves with something that made us happy recently. So I was like 'I'm Ozeki Mai, and my cuteness makes me happy every day!'. The mood of the class was like, 'What's up with this kid?' But what I've learnt from Country Girls is that persistence through difficulty makes one stronger. Regardless of how down class' reaction made me feel!

Audience: Ohhhh~!

Ozeki: Next class was English. When I had to mention what I like, I went 'Hello, my name is Mai Ozeki, I like looking my face.' While the mood at the previous class was underwhelming, it was somehow well received at this class!

Momo: It went well!?

Ozeki: Our teacher was a native speaker, and even they were excited, going 'Oh, wonderful, beautiful'. My friends and teacher understood that that's the kind of person I am. And that's how I started my life as a senior high student.


22nd March Happy Dinner Time ~Momochi ni Sachi Are~ Dinner Show in Cotton Club [x][x]

Momo: I discussed the setlist with Yamaki Risa-chan. I wasn't sure if I should put in my favourite non-Hello! songs. And then she was like 'Momochi-senpai, what are you saying! The fans have come to watch their oshi have fun, as she enjoys singing the songs she likes!' I'm sure that she must have said that with Misshige-san in mind!


22nd April Momochi-ism tour in Nagoya  [x]

Yamaki: If I may say so myself, I think that we've grown compared to how we were in the past. And I've got a proper basis for making that statement. Do you remember the opening day of our second tour?

Morito: At the opening day of our second live tour, the first song was Kakumeichikku Kiss. We couldn't even get to our positions in time while the introductory song was playing. We completely missed the timing. We had to dash to get to our positions in Kakumeichikku Kiss. In a sense, it was legendary. It was just a week before when Momochi-senpai had to go on a break because of vocal cord polyps. Out of the blue, the four of us had to practise for the opening day, and we were nervous wrecks.

Momo: So it's because of my scheduling?

Yamaki: Momochi-senpai, without you, we were like mere children, completely clueless!

Momo: I was in the ward, worrying about you guys. Then I got a call. I was told, 'Momochi-senpai, it went perfectly!' That gave me some relief. Later that night, I got a video from the show. It only took 30 seconds of watching for me to see the first mistake.

Yamaki: On Hello! Sute, Hello! Project's YouTube programme, I hosted the show for my first time with Momochi-senpai. I was fully dressed up, putting in everything I had in my own way. To bring up my luck, I wore pink. And obviously, Momochi-senpai was also completely decked out in pink. As we were hosting, we were happily commenting about how we were both in pink. By the time I rewatched that Hello! Sute a couple of years later, I'd realised that I should make sure that my clothing doesn't overlap with the senpai.

Momo: I'm fine if that happens. But if it was some senpai who wasn't me, there might have been trouble. I won't name any names though.

Fresh Idol Kobushi Factory

First half of a November 2015 Hustle Press interview with Kobushi

The dreamed-of major dรฉbut
They froze in surprise!?

――How did you feel when you found out that your major dรฉbut was set in stone?

Hirose「It was a surprise announcement, so my mind was completely blank immediately after. I couldn't make head or tail from it、 but when I got back home and my parents greeted me with a 『Congratulations』, that was when the feelings gushed forth。 While we ushered in our major dรฉbut on the 2nd of September、 there hasn't really been any drastic changes. But it's a big step on the way to our dreams、 so I'll be grateful and will do my best」

Ogawa「Kobushi Factory had no idea whether we'd be able to make our major dรฉbut when we were formed. But our dรฉbut came as a surprise when they made the announcement、 and we got to go around the whole country to do promotions. The realisation gradually welled up」

Hamaura「I'd been a Kenshuusei for about 4 and a half years、 and I had lots of worries, like would I be able to make a major dรฉbut? Would I get into a new unit? I was really glad when Kobushi Factory was formed, and my tears really flowed despite me being completely clueless. On the way to our major dรฉbut、 Kobushi Factory got to experience all sorts of things like stage-acting。 I don't think that anything changed on the 2nd of September、 but at handshake events、 everyone would give me words like 『Congratulations』、 『You'll be making your major dรฉbut』 That's when the realisation hit me、 and I was really glad」。

Taguchi「For me, the announcement went 『You'll be making your major dรฉbut this autumn!』、 but at the time、 everyone froze for a moment. After that、 everyone was screaming out 『Kyaใƒผ!』。 However、 at the time、 I didn't cry。 I was looking at it quite objectively、 without thinking about myself」。

――Ah、 that's somewhat mature。 Taguchi-san commenting about the rest in such a way doesn't jive with your image though (laughs)。

Taguchi 「Thank you very much (blushes)。 I was glad、 but we had to do all sorts of things until the 2nd of September。 I was a Kenshuusei for ๏ผ” and a half years as well、 so I've been active just as long as Hamaura Ayano-chan、 and we were able to do performances and promotions at places that we hadn't been able to go to as Kenshuusei…Ah、 I'm gonna sneeze…」。

――(laughs)。 That's fine。

Taguchi「…It's gone (laughs)。 When the 2nd of September came、 I understood that I was able to make my major dรฉbut as a member of the Hello! Project that I admired」。

――Amongst the songs in your 3 major dรฉbut songs、 please tell us what you'd like to highlight。

Hirose「I like 『Nen ni ha Nen (Nen-iri Ver)』. The whole song is cool and makes use of all our members' punchiness。 But、 what I want you to keep an eye out for most is the interlude for 『Dosukoi! Kenkyo ni Daitan』、 where Fujii Rio-chan and Wada Sakurako-chan have a sumo match、 and I act as the referee。 I'm also in charge of saying the line 『Mattanashi!』、 so I want you to watch that!」。

Ogawa「Mine is from 『Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san no Uta』、 where there's a call & response after the interlude。 We couldn't really hear the voices the first time we performed it 、 but slowly、 everyone matches their voice to our call、 and that sense of unity lifts me up」。

――Because it's built up with the fans、 you can enjoy how it gradually grows。

Hamaura「For 『Dosukoi! Kenkyo ni Daitan』、 I'd like you to keep an eye on the choreography when you watch it at concerts. But since it's a song with positive lyrics、 I hope you pay attention to the lyrics when you listen to it」。

――Eh? Although I'd heard that Hamaura-san was the one who liked ramen the most…(laughs)。

Hamaura「I really love ramen! As for how frequently I have it…。 I had it at night the day before yesterday、 but I had it in the morning of that same day as well…。 If we go far away、 I'll have it in the mornings、 and I'll eat ramen again at the hotel」。

――You eat it in the morning!?

Hamaura「If I go to a place that I've never been before、 I'll find cup ramen that doesn't get sold in Tokyo or Saitama。 I want to give them a taste、 so on days that we'd be staying overnight、 I'd buy ramen from the convenience store、 and I'd put in about 4 into my bag」。

Hirose「If I'm in the same room as Hamaura Ayano-chan、 there'd be the nice smell of ramen in the morning (laughs)。 Ramen or edamame (laughs)」。

――Doesn't that make her like some hybrid of an old man and a young girl (laughs)!

Hirose「When I get up、 I'd see Hama-chan in her pyjamas, slurping up some ramen (laughs)」。

―― 「Ramen Daisuki Hamaura-san」。 I wonder if the fans know about this?

Hamaura「I think they know about it。 They'd tell me 『Be careful about eating too much ramen!』 at handshake events」。

―― I heard that you actually do eat a lot though…。

Hamaura「I don't know if it's a lot、 but I only eat the things I like。 Like Hamburg steak or omurice or noodle dishes」。

―― How impish。 Do you eat quite a lot, quantity-wise?

Hamaura「To the extent that I eat other people's ramen portions!」。

Dosukoi! Kenkyo ni Daitan / Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san no Uta / Nen niwa Nen (Neniri Ver.) / Kobushi-factory

1001 Nights in Osaka - The 2nd Night: Miyazaki Yuka and Miyamoto Karin

Just like the Tokyo Hello! Store in Akihabara, the Osaka Hello! Store runs its own series of the 1001 Nights talk events. This event was held 22nd April 2016, with the generic hashtag #ใƒใƒญใ‚ทใƒงๅคง้˜ช (#Hello!ShopOsaka).

Usual disclaimer that these are from fan reports and are more snippets from the events rather than a comprehensive overview.


What's comes to mind when you hear Osaka?
Yuka: Old ladies from Osaka.
It's not that Yuka-chan has some sort of stereotypical image of them, but her grandfather's sister who actually lives in Osaka has a very loud voice. Her family enjoys travelling, so they've been to Universal Studios Japan multiple times.
Karin: Takoyaki, Downtown-san
On that day, Nishiguchi-san had given the both of them takoyaki as a gift. Karin-chan has been watching Downtown-san's DVD from when she was small, thanks to her mother's influence. Karin-chan lets loose some of Downtown's joke material, which has Yuka-chan stunned.


Memories of Osaka
Yuka: I saw a UFO at USJ
Nishiguchi: Are you alright?
Yuka: It's true! It's true! My dad saw it as well!

Karin: It's where I had my first Hello! Project concert.
Karin-chan was announced as a new member in November 2008, but didn't get called for the New Year's Hello! Con. Instead, she went along with the tour at the next summer Hello! Con as part of Shin MiniMoni。To Karin-chan, it felt like she was on a trip.


What do you like about Osaka?
Yuka: The dialect resembles Kanazawa dialect.
Yuka speaks in dialect when speaking with Uemura Akari-chan.
Karin: I like how everyone's funny.

Places in Osaka that they like 
Yuka: Kaiyukan.
She went there when she was in primary school, and saw whale sharks. Karin-chan has never been there. Yuka finds that it has similarities to Notojima, so she feels a sense of affinity
Karin: Amerikamura.

Favourite food from Osaka
Yuka: Takoyaki.
Karin: Why do people from Osaka use takoyaki as a bento side-dish! It's carbs on carbs!
Yuka: Couldn't you just not think about that?
Karin: Takosen. (Takoyaki hot-pressed to form a cracker)
This was well received by the wota in attendance.

PokeMo infographic: Favourite voice

PokeMo Question: Whose voice do you like best in Hello! Project?

Posted this relationship graph on Twitter before, but would just like to keep it here for records.

You can find translations at Hello-Online: