Excerpts from Sato Masaki and Kudo Haruka's interview of Hagiwara Mai in the 12th instalment of their serialisation 'Maachan Kuduu no HaroPuro Senpai Tanboudan' in the magazine 'Top Yell'.
Kudo: There's a legend that Maachan called Hagiwara-san 'Mai-chan'. Should I believe that? Even as a joke, this was in regards to a great-senpai, right?
Hagiwara: Well, Mai-chan would have been more preferable! The time I couldn't believe my ears the most was when my name got messed up. All of Hello! were gathered for a goods photo shoot, but it seemed that Maachan still didn't know everyone's names and faces at the time. While pointing at the members that were there, she was giving names to each and every one. 'That person is XX-san, that person is XX-san'. It's just that, most of them didn't fit (laughs).
Kudo: What a horrible story...... (bitter smile).
Hagiwara: And, as Maachan was giving out names, she gradually got closer to my name, it was then when I heard her half-give up, 'At any rate, I can't memorise them at all'... I was called 'Akihabara' (laughs). At that moment, I was crushed, 'It's not~'. Akihabara... even if you were to get it wrong, I would at least have wanted a person's name (laughs).
--- How was it that you made such a weird mistake?
Sato: There's this senpai in the 9th gen, Suzuki Kanon-san......
Hagiwara: What's this, a sudden change of topic (laughs). We know that!
Sato: I discussed with that Suzuki-san 'How do I remember people's names?', and we ended up talking about 'It'd be best to apply similar names'. Hagiwara(萩原)-san would be 'Akihabara' (秋葉原), for Tsugunaga-san it would be 'Tsunagaru' (connected), like that. I was looking for something that sounded similar......
Hagiwara: So it was wordplay? But to Mai, the girls who join Hello! generally take up the auditions because they like Hello!, so it was kind of unbelievable that you didn't know our names. What's more, on top of calling out people's names in a loud voice when they were around, you unhesitatingly got them wrong...... There are limits to a lack of common sense (laughs).
Kudo: I'm truly sorry. Immediately after joining, Maachan told all sorts of lies. [...] And when I heard 'It seems that Hagiwara-san was recklessly called Mai-chan', I was at my wits end.
Hagiwara: At least Mai-chan's still cute. Compared to Akihabara, that is~ (laughs)
Kudo: Maachan's even called Yajima (Maimi)-san as 'Yaguchi-san'. Next to her, I'm always on my toes.
---However, Hagiwara-san has also referred to the producer without a honorific in the past, 'Tsunku♂ or something came and it was fun' (laughs).
Hagiwara: It makes me weak to hear that though. Because it's the truth (laughs)
Sato: So, Hagiwara-san, what's your favourite tree?
Hagiwara: Tree!? What's up with this question!? It's no good, I definitely can't get into it (laughs).
Sato: Do you dislike trees?
Hagiwara: Putting it like that, Mai doesn't really know much details about trees......
Sato: Sakura and white birches are a no-no. Since other senpais like Sugaya-san have answered with those. Please give trees besides those.
Hagiwara: Risako answered this question?
Kudo: Sorry. For the time being, everyone's answered it......
Hagiwara: They're all so admirable (bitter smile).
Hagiwara: .......If I had to say, the palm trees that grow in Hawaii.
Sato: That's no good. Okai-san and Natsuyaki-san have answered with that. Don't you have any trees you like besides that?
Hagiwara: Well, those big trees in Hawaii, it's the same as that tree that's 'What tree is this tree'. Was it at Diamond Head?
Staff: I think that tree is called the monkey pod.
Sato: Amazing! If you read this serialisation, you gradually get more informed about trees!
Hagiwara: But please write this down clearly in the magazine. 'I don't actually like this tree in particular'. 'It's just that I'm answering because I was asked' (laughs).
---Got it (laughs).