Tuesday, 26 May 2015

What's your favourite tree?

If you've been following the Maachan Kuduu Senpai Tanboudan series, you might have noticed a common point: Every interview, Maachan will ask, 'What is your favourite tree?'

According to the editor's notes in the compiled book, their interview with Tsugunaga Momoko was the sole interview where this question wasn't asked in the original published version. This became such an issue that fans contacted the magazine to ask whether Maachan had forgotten to ask the question to Momochi. Turns out that Maachan had done her job - they had just edited the question out. Thankfully for everyone who was anxious to know Momochi's horticultural preferences, it does turn up in the compiled book version.

Momoko's answer, in fact, was fairly direct - the peach (momo) tree, obviously. On those lines, Maro was the only one who had done her homework for the serialisation and came ready with an answer. However, not everyone was as prepared as the two of them, and generally needed some time to think about this question. This happened despite Risako having already warned most of the Kids. Being the experienced professionals they are, some of them pulled the classic trick of turning the question back to Maachan.

So what was Maachan's answer?

When the question was turned back to Maachan in their 2nd interview, with Risako, this is how she responded:
Sato:...... No idea.
Kudo: What's up with that! You don't have any idea!
Sato: For me, it's got to be that one. Something like the suzuran, the lily of the valley......
Sugaya: That's not a tree, isn't it a flower?
Sato: Like red cherries....... It becomes pitter patter pitter......
Kudo: The kinmokusei, the fragrant olive?
Maachan continued answering with the kinmokusei up until their interview with Chinami. Chinami, trying to buy more time, started describing the fragrant olive. 'No, that's not it,' Maachan replied. The staff spent some time showing her photos they had Googled, but she declared that none of them were right. With the question unanswered, Maachan was asked to check with her parents what tree it was.

In the next instalment, after Maasa turned the question back to Maachan, it turns out that even her parents couldn't figure out the tree she had in mind. This lead to the staff once again using the 'Net to look up trees, with Maachan rejecting each and every suggestion. Appended to the interview was a drawing by Maachan of the tree she had in mind, and a request for assistance from the editor.

Maachan's drawing: Explains everything, doesn't it?
By the time the interview with MaiMai came around, an astute reader had mailed in with a suggestion - onko no ki, the yew. With Maachan giving a confirmation of it, finally, the mystery of Maachan's favourite tree was resolved.


As a side note, this brings me to the end of this series of excerpts from Maachan Kuduu no Haro Puro Senpai Tanboudan. For the time being, I'm already starting on a new book (Idol Frontline 2015, if you're interested). Perhaps someday I'll get back to the earlier interviews. There's also extra interviews in the compilation with choreographer Yoshiko, MM OG Niigaki Risa, and then-Musume Michishige Sayumi. That last one is partially done in my drafts somewhere, so you might see it turn up when I have enough time, one of these years.

Here are some of the highlights I can recall from the earlier interviews I didn't get around to:
  • Mano-chan and Duu bonding over how tough it was making their début before their Egg senpai
  • Risako starting out being in good enough spirits to nori-tsukkomi, only to gradually grow more and more annoyed by Maachan's silly questions
  • Momoko: Everything.
  • Okai: Being amazed at how much MaaDuu had achieved prior to becoming idols - Maa choosing to not go for her piano teacher qualification in order to audition, and Duu for participating in swimming competitions
  • For miya's interview, MaaDuu quarrelled for most of the first part, while miya watched on, seemingly amused. Readers apparently asked the magazine if they had a video of this exchange XD


  1. Isn't it funny how we have people in our lives that remind us of others? My friend Zoe is a lot like Maa-chan (my oshi) in facial expressions and wackiness. Zoe will ask your favorite flower and not be able to answer the question herself.
    The world is more interesting with people like those two. And with you for translating so much Sato. ありがとう。

  2. If I had to guess what Maachan's drawing was, I'd have said a stage from Frogger.