Shimizu Saki X Suzuki Airi
The 2 of them have interacted since they were in the Kids. As they grew older, they had many opportunities to meet together outside of work!?
First of all, how did you get to know each other?
Suzuki: We were together in the back dancer team for Fujimoto Miki-san's 'Boogie Train '03'. It was a 4 person team, but 1 person would get replaced each time, while 3 of us were fixed - Me, Saki-chan, and Umeda Erika-chan. So we were always together.
Shimizu: We also went for meals, and we'd hang out at exhibitions, we went to all sorts of places.
Suzuki: Do you remember when the 3 of us went to 'Namco Namja Town'? And there was a purikura there. I was super uncute (laughs). It was a surprise.
Shimizu: Just like Erika, Airi had also joined a performing school, and her singing and dancing were flawless. Thinking about it now, I really have no idea how I got into such a team though (laughs).
Suzuki: But Saki-chan, you've always been dancing since you joined the Hello! Project Kids. At the time, we had this system where the people who could dance were allowed to go home early. It might just be what I think, but maybe it was because we were together as the team that could go home early.
Shimizu: Was that it (laughs)?
Suzuki: Me and Erika knew one another, and we both knew that we could dance, but I thought that Saki-chan had learnt somewhere. But when I heard that you hadn't, I was like 'What sort of person is she!?' (laughs).
In the middle and high school sections of the same school
Lifestyles with one another at school
You became close as back dancers together during the Kids era. And after that, there was a common point that made the 2 of you even closer.
Suzuki: We were split into Berryz Kobo and ℃-ute after that, but beyond that, we were linked through school. We individually went to the middle school and high school sections of the same school, so we'd be at the same place despite not being at work. I got handed down Saki-chan's uniform. I still haven't used it yet, though I'm still a student (laughs). The skirt and cardigan that I'm wearing now were given to me by Saki-chan. Because what I had was nothing but the school's standard clothes, I didn't have any cute clothes at all (laughs).
I'm able to have calm conversations with Saki-chan by Airi
Shimizu: The time Airi entered her first year of middle school was the same time that I entered my first year of senior high, so we had the same school entrance ceremony.
Suzuki: While middle school and senior high were different, it was reassuring to know that if anything happened, Saki-chan would be around. Middle and senior high students would also come together at school events. I consulted her on all sorts of things.
Shimizu: Airi can study very diligently, and even became the class representative, that's the kind of person she is, so I thought she was amazing. This was in addition to her ℃-ute work, and she also had Buono! and other things besides that, she was busy with all sorts of things, so I thought that she was truly an admirable girl.
Suzuki: I was class representative only in my 1st year though (laughs)!? When I went up to senior high, Saki-chan often asked me, 'How is senior high?' I'm able to have calm conversations with Saki-chan.
Shimizu: We'd have chance meetings on the school premises. Or rather, I'd go to meet you. My friends called Airi 'Angel'. Like 'So cute! Angel!'
Suzuki: Ahahahaha. They did!
Shimizu: Airi would engage everyone seriously, so everyone liked her. I think it's just as true at work as it was at school. I thought 'That's Airi for you!' My friends would often invite me, 'We want to go and see the angel, let's go together' (laughs). You were cute and soothing.
Suzuki: Those people just happened to come to school the other day, and they called me 'Angel' at the time (laughs). But as they did that, they warmly accepted me, so I was able to make different friends at school, which made going to school easier.
The impression you had of one another at school, was it different from at the workplace?
Suzuki: I wonder!? When the both of us were at school, we'd completely turn off our work modes, so we were really just your run-of-the-mill students. Looking at Saki-chan and her friends, I thought that senior high students were ladies. My class in middle school was filled with girls from sports clubs, so it didn't have a ladylike atmosphere. That said, school activities were fun, but looking at Saki-chan and her friends, they were well dressed in stylish uniforms (laughs). In my mind, Saki-chan often wore spectacles at school.
Shimizu: But Airi, when you were changing classes, and had to move past my school year's floor, were you nervous? While walking quietly with your textbooks in hand, you put out this air of 'I'm not here!' (laughs). I thought about calling out 'Airi!', but it felt like you were minimising your presence, so there were times when I didn't call out. It was weird (laughs).
That sort of aura where one tries to minimise their presence, yet instead it makes them stand out more, right (laughs).
Suzuki: That isn't good, right~! It's embarrassing (laughs). I had classes in a separate course, so there were times when I had to change classes by myself. It really makes me nervous when I have to go past senior high senpais, so as I walked past, I'd act like I was messing around with my phone, or like I was looking for something in my bag.
Shimizu: How funny! That's weird (laughs).
Suzuki: Now that I've become a senpai, I've gotten used to it, so I'm fine...... Nope, I probably can't. I really keep a close eye on people, so if there's someone funny making jokes, even if I don't know them, I'd laugh. Isn't that unpleasant (laughs)? Even now, I've got to rush through the corridors. It's just that, the way I hid my presence during middle school, I was a bit too aware of it. Like I put in too much of a performance (laughs). I was so concerned about being seen that it looked like I was putting on too much of a strange air~
10 minute breaks and lunch breaks were youth
In 10 years, how will this senpai and kouhai be like?
Being together to that extent, Airi-chan must have been saddened by Saki-chan's graduation.
Suzuki: It wasn't just Saki-chan, the senpais I knew would also be gone, it felt strange. I graduated from middle school the same time that Saki-chan graduated, and then I had my senior high entrance ceremony, so there was a change of mood. On the other hand, since Saki-chan had advanced through and graduated while she was working, I had to learn from her example. It occasionally came out when I talked with the teachers. 'Your senpai Shimizu really worked hard!'
Shimizu: I didn't work hard at all (laughs)! It was more like I almost had a tendency for skipping class. Suzuki's more hard-working (laughs)!
Airi was really diligent..... by Saki
Suzuki: The heck is up with that~ (laughs). Also, this is totally unrelated, but they'd often get Shimizu and Suzuki mixed up.
Shimizu: Ah, I've been mistakenly called Suzuki sometimes (laughs).
Suzuki: Even now there are teachers who look at my face and call me Shimizu. I wonder why (laughs).
Shimizu: I'm really interested, wondering how Airi's doing at school. When we meet after a while, I get concerned and ask 'How's school been recently?' Because Airi was there, I worked hard too.
Airi-chan will be graduating next year. Have you ever though about things like 'For my senior high student self.....'
Suzuki: I can't wear uniforms any more, uniforms will be considered cosplay (laughs). It feels sad to think that, so I'll be wearing uniforms a lot this year. And as I won't be going to school, there won't be any chances to talk to the teachers. So I'd like to treasure those times as well. I've recently been thinking that, while lessons are important, breaks are also important. It doesn't mean that we really stay back after school, but breaks are the only time to interact with everyone. I think that the 10 minute breaks and lunch breaks are marks of youth.
However, you'll be able to hang out once you've graduated. Not just during work, but based on the fact that you know one another when your 'work modes are turned off', how you do you think the 2 of you will be like in 10 years time?
Suzuki: I'd like to hang out. Saki-chan's already a grown-up, but you can catch a peek of her puppyish aspects (laughs), so I think she'll become a grown-up with that puppyish aspect remaining. My father said that Saki-chan's the one who seems most likely to become a good married woman. So I feel that she'll become a proper mother. But after 10 years have passed, Saki-chan will be...... 30? In your thirties?
Shimizu: Oh my god (laughs). Airi's always been diligent, so I feel like that won't change, like she'll become a woman that's looked up to by everyone. A woman that's capable at work, and has a good atmosphere both outwardly and inwardly. Like a woman who gets things done.
Suzuki: Everyone says that, but if I do nothing, I'd end up like Hotaru-chan in 'Hotaru no Hoshi'. Also, it doesn't seem like I'll get married, right? It's fine, give it to me straight!
Shimizu: Yup, it feels like you'd be work-minded (laughs).
Suzuki: I can't even imagine seeing myself as a mother, it makes me laugh.
Shimizu: But I think that's fine!
Suzuki: Senpai, thank you (laughs).