Thursday, 6 March 2014

Words by Tsugunaga Momoko

{Translated just in time for Momoko's 22nd birthday, here's the piece that she wrote for Berryz Kobo 7 Shuunen Kinen PHOTO BOOK 「7」, the photo book published in commemoration of Berryz' 7th anniversary.}

Berryz Kobo 7 Shunen Kinen Photobook "7" / Berryz Kobo 

I've definitely forgotten about what's happened in the past (laughs). But the (14th January 2004) event where we announced our début definitely left a strong impression. The name 'Berryz Kobo' was given to us on the day itself, and I was the person in charge of introducing the group name. And yet, at the time, I couldn't really wrap my head around our group's name. Even now, I still remember introducing our group name while reading it off the panels at the back (laughs). But I wasn't nervous. Since way back, being on-stage has never made me tense. But since the name had been thrown at us just before the event, I forgot our group's name. It was a tricky situation (laughs).

I was surprised when our début was set. Previously I had been part of the group ZYX, but Yaguchi (Mari)-san was in ZYX, so she had the centre position. It felt unbelievable that we were going to be in a group that was just made up of the Hello! Pro Kids! At the outset, rather than being all 'We'll work hard towards our début', we couldn't think, our minds were completely blank. Hmm? When did we start thinking that we had to give it our all!? It came naturally, I suppose (laughs). The CD came out as we were doing recordings and fitting sessions. It probably hit us as we were doing things one after the other, and we ended up thinking that we had to do things properly.

Work felt different from school. I attracted attention, and I had to work while everyone was studying for tests in school, so my circumstances were different. That said, it doesn't mean that I had an extremely strong sense of professionalism towards my work (laughs). But I had to switch between work and the life of a normal student. I wasn't treated as an entertainer by my friends when I was at school, and that's how it is now too. I clearly made a distinction: Work is work, school is school. For example, if you were to look at it another way, it would definitely irritate me if a friend of mine were to comment about me having work after school. And I hate how weird it feels if I get fussed over in school. It's something I'm adamant about, I definitely won't talk about work at school!

But switching between school and work was difficult, it was quite troublesome...... Saying that, I probably don't really change that much, whether I'm at school or work. I don't talk about work at school, but I guess my character is the same wherever I am (laughs). Now that I'm going to university, my friends ask, 'Momo, are you always like this?' When I tell them that this is how I'm basically like all the time, they comment that the members must have it rough...... (laughs).

At the time of our début, we didn't think at all about how we presented ourselves. But if we weren't charged up in the middle of an interview, no one would say anything, so as one of the older ones, I was compelled to fill in the silence. At the outset, none of us could really speak well back then. I was at my wits end, having no idea what to do, but it was like I had to do my best since I was one of the older ones.

The managers would also comment that I was one of the older ones, and there was a time when they really stressed on that fact. At that time, I thought that things must have been great for (Sugaya) Risako, the youngest member. Like, "You're telling me off, and yet you don't get mad at Rii-chan!?" (laughs). In the end, even once we've grown up, the ones who are younger will remain the younger ones. And while Risako is the youngest, it doesn't feel like there's an age difference any more. We've all grown up (laughs). But, looking at the younger kids doing their homework, I remember having worked on those problems before. And despite being in different school age groups, when I hear them sing the same songs at their graduation ceremonies, it's nostalgic. So I feel a little bit like an older sister (laughs).

However, though there were times when I was working hard as one of the older ones, I didn't really become a level-headed character, did I!? I don't have that characteristic at all, and have ended up being in a free position. Well, (Shimizu) Saki-chan could be counted on to bring us together (laughs). Once, I thought for a bit that I'd also like to be in that position. The staff told me that I wasn't in that position because I hadn't asked to take responsibility. But they also told me that it would be fine for me to stir things up, because Shimizu would bring us together. I thought at the time that the image I was aiming at the most would come from a completely different direction. I think that's it's good that I ended up in my current position, I enjoy it, it's comfy. However, there are times when I'd like to occasionally bring out that reliable aspect a little. If I unexpectedly become firm, it might seem like there's something extra to me. A person with a contrast to her character? (laughs) Even now I'd like to aim for that though.

Everyone says that neither my face nor my personality have changed from the time of our début, but I think I definitely have changed. Particularly if you watch videos from the old days, you can really perceive the changes. At the time of our début, the pitch of my voice was more conspicuous, and I sang with a shrill, piercing voice. That was a bit of a issue for me, but my voice gradually came into to its own, so I guess I've grown a little.

Also, I've gotten a bit plumper (laughs). When I look at old photos, wasn't my face a lot sharper!? I'm a little envious (laughs)!! But, I wonder what was up with my bangs. Back then my bangs were all over the place, it's like I didn't care about them at all. They were going here and there. Presently, I make sure that my bangs are absolutely straight. But in those days, I'd raise them up if they got in my way. In that sense, I respect my past self a little (laughs).

For Berryz itself, everyone used to quarrel a lot in the old days. Thinking about that, I feel that we've matured. We even fought over curry rice (laughs). Like someone would just go and take a bite, or not eat it at all. Looking back at it now, wouldn't things have been fine if all of us ate it!? We even fought over such things (laughs). Then we held meetings, we held discussions together. We would hold these Berryz meetings pretty regularly in those days. They ended as we got older, but I think that it would be nice to hold one once in 2011. The theme would be our goal for the year! Because it's our seventh anniversary, I'd like to decide on a firm target.

Seven years seems like a short time, but at the same time, it also feels very long. I feel that perhaps my body clock probably has spent about a similar amount of time in between those two extremes (laughs). Our 10 year anniversary will be in three years time. It's actually pretty soon, right!? My hope is that I'll get through it while keeping healthy. Currently, within Hello! Project, the average age of Berryz is the highest. Since we're already senpais, so I'd like our younger kouhai to think, "Berryz is cool". But I'd like us to maintain that cherubic feeling and our idol-ness as well. I'd like Berryz to properly sing even orthodox idol songs. Personally, I like those kind of songs, so I'd like to sing them forevermore.

As for myself, I'd would like my age to stop at twenty (laughs). Currently I'm 18, so half the time I'm treated as an adult and the other half I'm treated as a child. In a good sense and a bad sense, it's a half-baked aged. After 2 years, fulfilled with all my might, I want to welcome our 10th year anniversary as an eternal 20-year old (laughs).

Berryz Kobo 7 Shunen Kinen Photobook "7" / Berryz Kobo

1 comment:

  1. A nice post. I must say, Berryz looks really nice in that picture.