Sunday, 27 September 2015

Hello! Shop Event - Country Hiroba (20th & 21st September 2015)

With the long Silver Week holidays happening in Japan, the Akihabara Hello! Shop held a series of solo talk events by the 'Fresh Team' of Country Girls. The 'Country Hiroba' (Country Plaza) would be the first time for these girls to do a solo talk event by themselves. Adding to the challenge, unlike the 1001 Nights series of Hello! Shop talk events, the girls were left completely to their own devices, responsible for advancing the event, with no member of staff supporting them by chairing the event.

As is usual with these Hello! Shop events, these are based on fan reports, mainly on Twitter. No hashtag specific to these events, so it was mainly whatever could be culled from the #country_girls hashtag from around that time. Normal disclaimer that these are based on fan reports mainly on Twitter, and what with the translation process, and putting reports together into a cohesive whole, please bear in mind that there are bound to be mistakes and/or inaccuracies.

Here's the order in which the girls held the events:

  1. Morito Chisaki (20th September)
  2. Yamaki Risa (20th September)
  3. Inaba Manaka (21st September)
  4. Ozeki Mai (21st September)

Without further ado, let's start with the easy-to-blush Morito Chisaki!

Morito Chisaki

For Country Girls' Fresh Team First Solo Event 'Country Hiroba', the 'Morito gathering' is starting soon!
Morito-san can't stop grinning because of nerves......

I'll get hyped up and do my best! by Morito


Greeting everyone immediately upon appearing on-stage
Morito: 'Today, for ma, ma, ma, making your way here... '

The event had just started, and Chiitan was already flubbing her lines [1]

The event starts with Chiitan going through her profile.

Skills: Dancing, swimming, making face go red
Morito'I did swimming for quite a while. From about the age of 5 to my 6th year of primary school. I haven't swum for about 3 years though'
Morito'I didn't write [making my face turn red]! There's no reason for me to write that!' [2]

Favourite food: Karaage
Morito'I like the taste of chicken meat'

Disliked food: Sakura Mochi
Morito'I can't stand the smell, the smell of the leaf and the sakura. I like mochi though'

Favourite subject: Science
Morito'I liked it in primary school'

Weak subject: English
Morito'I'm bad at it for some reason. I can't really get good marks'

Personality: Competitve, Shy, Positive
Morito'Competitive, is that so?'
Morito'I am shy. I can't imagine starting a conversation with someone I don't know'
Morito'Positive, well, I actually am positive. I don't get in a slump'

Motto: Hark work will definitely be rewarded

Nerves? Naturally?

At any rate, Morito-san's been defeated by her fumbling of words


Next part of the event has the girls undergoing a series of games to confirm whether there are errors in their profile. If there are any incorrect facts, the shop would sell photos of the girls doing funny faces.

For her challenge, Chiitan had to explain about erythromania (dictionary: A compulsion to blush over minor incidents), but she had trouble reading out the explanatory note [3]


Janken showdown
Continuing on to fumble her words, for the janken showdown, Chiitan stated that 'Seven (shichi) people will get a signed product'
Venue was confused, until she corrected herself - it would only be one (ichi) person getting the prize [4]

For the winning fan, she checked that she had got their name countless times. Even then, after it had been handed over, there were still errors, so it had to be re-corrected.


There was a bit of a gap in time, and the fans were wondering what was going on, when suddenly-
Morito: So, does anyone have questions!?Wota: Eh? lol
Everyone was surprised as they hadn't heard about a question corner (lol) [5]

Question: Favourite Babymetal songs?
Morito'"GimiChoco" and "Ii ne"'

Question: For WakaGome, what sort of face do you make when you turn to face Ozeki-san?
Morito'A normal face. Because I'll be unable to sing my next lines if I make a silly face' [6]

Question: Do you do the cleaning?
Morito'Of my room?  I doー'

Question: What do you do before going to bed?
Morito'It's pretty busy before I go to bed! I apply face lotion!'
Morito'And then I put on socks that'll stop my legs from getting swollen before going to sleep!'
Morito'Ah, recently, I bought some liquid to keep my eyelashes pretty, and I had my eyelashes cut, with scissors' [7]

Question: To survive the Idol Warring States Period, what did you arm yourself with?
Morito'That question gets asked a lot recently.... It got asked the other day... What could it be... Let me see, arms? My charms? Hmm.... But, you what mine are, right? Right!'
Applause from wota [8]

Question: If you come up with a shuffle unit at a Hello! Con, who would you like to be with and what would you like to sing?
Morito'My favourite Sayashi Riho-san, Iikubo Haruna-san, Hagiwara Mai-san, it'd be the 4 of us'
Morito'For the song, hmm, anything would be fine' [9]


Closing remarks:
'This solo event, it was really nerve-wracking. I was the first person up, so I couldn't ask the thoughts of the other members. So I was really nervous, but I'll do my best to reflect on this time, so that I'll be able to take advantage of it next time'

Without waving the guests off, she immediately retreated backstage
It happened so suddenly that it surprised the wota, who responded with a great, laughing 'Eh-!'
Confused, Chii came back on-stage to wave and see the audience off. [10]

Generally, the fans all seemed to agree that while the talk event generally had gone nowhere, it had been a deeply satisfying experience. This tweet explains it well:
The talk was repetitive, going all over the place .
Yet every time she'd make a mistake, the sight of her being all 'Ufu♥' had the crowd all in smiles.
Of the Hello! Shop talk events that I've been to so far, this had the least in terms of content, but it was a strange experience which left me fully satisfied somehow. [11]


Yamaki Risa

Continuing on from the smiley Morito Hiroba,
Yamaki is indeed a bundle of nerves.

Actually, Yamaki was listening back-stage during Morito's event.
With your intelligentsia air, good luck!!


Opening remarks
Yamaki: 'Everyone, how did you spend Silver Week?'
Yamaki: 'Wota activities? Well, this is something like a wota activity as well'


Going through Yamaki Risa's profile.

Birthdate: 1997/10/14
Yamaki: 'It's almost my birthday, I'll turn 18, finally. It's my last year as a senior high girl, then I can't call myself that any more'

Blood type: B
Yamaki: 'The same as Manaka-chan'

Hobbies: Going around cafes, manga, computers
Yamaki: 'At cafes, I don't drink coffee, but I like milk tea, So I look up "milk tea delicious stores"'
Yamaki: 'I do like manga. I borrowed some from Iikubo Haruna-san the other day, they were interesting'
Yamaki: 'I like computers, but I don't do net patrols!' [12]
Yamaki: 'Typing out things on the keyboard, when I need to use it to edit sounds for school classes, drawing, those are the only things that I use it for.'

Skills: Horse-riding, piano, swimming, detailed work, sewing
Yamaki: 'My mother enjoys sewing, and I've been doing it with her since I was in kindergarten, embroidery, bead-making, cross stitching...'
Yamaki: 'I also did swimming! From my 4th year of primary school until the 6th......'
Yamaki: 'I got 7th place for the breaststroke! One digit, isn't it amazing? '(Wota: Eh~)
Yamaki: 'As for detailed work. I like small work!'
Yamaki: 'I'm currently messing with Shrinky Dinks, but I won't just be continuing with that. I'm interested in so many things that I'll shift interests. The other day, I saw resin at Hands, which piqued my interest, and I thought "Ah, I want to do that", so I'd like to try  that once I tire of Shrinky Dinks.'

Favourite food: Koshian (strained bean paste), Akara (bean curd lees), Conjac, Tapioca
Yamaki: 'Ah, this isn't "akara" and "conjac", it's "akara conjac"'
Yamaki: 'Do you know about akara conjac? As soon as you cook it, it looks fried, you can season it in all sorts of ways, it's delicious'
Yamaki: 'On the other hand, what I don't like are high class seafoods. And so, turban shells, sea urchins, scallops, abalone...'
Audience: How about ikura, salted salmon roe?
Yamaki: 'I like ikura. So, maybe it's shellfish that's a no-no'
Yamaki: 'I only eat tuna when I go to sushi stores. Yup, I love tuna!'

Favourite subjects: Art, maths
Yamaki: 'Art is right, at my school, they put up your ranking, and my name constantly comes at the top for art' [13]
Yamaki: 'Maths... It's gotten gradually more difficult as I entered senior high, now I have no idea what we're doing'
Yamaki: 'I also liked chemistry, but it's gotten hard'

Weak subjects: Classics, Civics
Yamaki: 'Classics and civics, since I'm bad at memorising. Classics and civics start with memorisation, right?'

Personality: A typical ojousama, Curious with a varying temperament, Hikkikomori disposition
Yamaki: 'What's this, I didn't write [a typical ojousama]! I did write the final two though...'

Local Place You Like: Kyoto
Yamaki: 'That's right, I like Kyoto. Chii said she wanted to go there as well recently, so maybe the two of us should go'

Motto: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
Yamaki: 'Right, this is a bit show-offy. It means that you should do everything with everything you've got'


In the next corner, the girls undergo challenges to check if there are any errors in their profiles. Failure in the challenges would lead to the Hello! Shop selling photos of them making funny faces.

Her first challenge, based on her skill with 'sewing', was to thread 10 needles within 1 minute. Her hands were really trembling, and she had done only 3 when time ran out.
Yamaki: 'I used to be good at threading in the past......'

Next, based on her skill with 'detailed work', she had to use chopsticks to move adzuki beans from one plate to another. With 1 minute to move 30 beans, the chopsticks were plastic and really long, so they seemed difficult to use. However, this was a success. Her hand had been shaking for this challenge as well, but once she moved the last one, she had a triumphant look on her face.

The final challenge was a quiz about Kyoto, based off her love of Kyoto. The answers were pretty specific, so Risa-chan couldn't pull this off either


After the janken showdown, we come to Risa-chan's closing remarks:

Yamaki: 'Just now, when it was Chii's turn, I was listening [backstage], but Chii really fumbled her words, and she slipped up with her signature, it made me nervous, but thanks to all of you, it ended up being a fun event. If we have the opportunity again, I like the Hello! Shop, and I visit it. It would be nice to have an event here again.'


Thank you very much for gathering for Morito and Yamaki's first solo event 'Country Hiroba' today! It's a fairly specific event, but we'd love it if you came to like these 2 more!
Tomorrow it'll be Inaba and Ozeki! Look forward to it!!

Inaba Manaka

Country Girls' Fresh Team First Solo Event 'Country Hiroba', 2nd strike!

Continuing on from Morito yesterday, Inaba-san's so nervous that she can't stop grinning...
Let's make this a great time (voice quaking) by Inaba


Sadly for us Manakan fans, there weren't a lot of fan reports, not under the  #country_girls hashtag at least. Still, she does a rough summary on her blog post for the event:

We only found out the agenda of what we'd be talking about on the day itself, so the whole time, I was at my wits' end (lol)

You could say I'd forgotten how to breathe...

That's how nervous you could say I was, lol


With all your eyes looking warmly over me,
I was able to enjoy speaking 

In order to verify whether what was written on our profiles was true or not
Manaka had to perform tongue-twisters and puns

I pulled off 5 of the 6 tongue twisters
So it was acknowledged as a skill (*´▽`*)

When I was told that I had to make 8 puns in a minute
I thought it was impossible~
Yet I managed to do 11 

(Putting the quality aside...)

It was great that this was acknowledged as well 

They had prepared a file
Of Morning Musume。´15's Kudo Haruka-san
I couldn't make a pun using it,
And I only hit on one after the event had ended!!

Kudou-san no hanashi bakari de Kudoku (Making advances by talking lots about Kudo-san)
I'm sorry (。-∀-)

It's difficult to explain in writing
But put into words in Manaka's own way
It's a pretty good pun lol

Hoisting the championship for the janken tournament
Was really fun \(^^)/

For us, being able to connect with you in this way
It became a great experience
It was a new joy (/≧ω\)

There are things to reflect on
For when I have the opportunity to do something like this again,
So I'd like to make it an enjoyable time
Where you'll get to know even more about us

To everyone who came, thank you very much ♡˖꒰ᵕ༚ᵕ⑅꒱


And a sprinkling of fan reports:

For the corner to check the veracity of what was written on her profile
In one minute, she had to make puns with the things on the table
She was clearing it well, then when she saw the file of Musume Kudo, she was like 'Kudo-san... how adorable!', nothing to do with puns [15]

Her hobbies were listed as 'making abstract art' and 'aroma candles'
Inaba: 'I'd previously put up an illustration on the blog, and people asked "Are you okay?", "Have you gotten worn out?", but there's no need to worry at all'
Inaba: 'I like looking at the flickering of the candle's flame, it calms me down....'
Inaba: 'I said I'm fine!' [16]

Not a cause for concern. Supposedly.

Ozeki Mai

Continuing on, Ozeki's Hiroba!
The last inning of the Country Hiroba!
As Country Girls' most high-spirited member, we have high hopes for her solo event début!


Ozeki: 'In my 1st or 2nd year of primary school, my friend had a unicycle, so I asked Santa-san for one'
Laughter from the fans
Ozeki: 'I asked for one even though I didn't know how to ride it, thinking that I had to practise it no matter what, and when I got it, I practised so that I wouldn't lose at it' [17]

Ozeki: 'I like playing around outside, but recently I've been watching dramas at home' [18]

Favourite subject: Social Studies and History
To show her knowledge, she mentioned that 'Nagaoka-kyo was between ancient Nara and ancient Kyoto'
She dislikes the Meiji Restoration, but knows that Perry's ship was black, and that they came to Shimoda.
Her favourite age is the Showa era, she'll always spend time reading the pages about the Showa era in her textbooks. (This got some murmuring from the audience, as the Showa era that spanned 1926-1989 isn't exactly 'history' for some of them.) She's got no interest in the current Heisei period though. [19]

Weak subjects: Maths, Science, English
She has no talent at it, and she's bad at subjects you have to study
For Country Girls' English needs, 'I'll leave it to Risa-chan' [20]

Special skill: Talking
Ozeki: 'It's written on my profile that talking is my special skill, but it's in terms of potential!'
Messing around with the guests while singing her own praises, at last, she's picked up the technique of Momochi-senpai's speciality of dealing with older people [21]

Height: 162 cm
Ozeki: 'Eh!? 162 cm? How'd this come up, I'm now 157 cm'
Fans: 'Eh~?'
Ozeki: 'Well, my good figure won't change whether I'm 157 cm or 162 cm, right?'
Laughter from fans [22]

Ozeki: 'I'm the tallest in Country Girls, so in order to manage the balance between members, I'm the only one not wearing heels'
Ozeki: 'But my legs are long, which makes it just right though' [23]

Validating her profile: Basketball
She was allowed three shots at a small hoop.
A loss would end up with the following punishment: a funny face photo
Ozeki: 'But my funny face is cute as well' [24]

With one hand holding the microphone, she threw the ball one-handed
Several fans made retorts, 'Won't you put down the mike?'
She took a firm stance, 'I'll be fine!'  [25]

Another miss
Fans: 'The mike?'
Ozeki: 'I'm fine!
Result: All misses
Ozeki: 'Time and time again, please don't make any sounds!' [26]

Ozeki: 'This time I failed, but I really am skilled at basketball!'
Machine makes a 'failure beep'
Ozeki: 'That's mean!'
Fans laugh and applaud [27]

Ozeki: 'I started learning the violin since I was four, so this is my 9th year. This is the only thing I've continued on for so long, so I definitely would like to continue doing it even when I grow up. I don't have a score at hand, so I can't play anything difficult, but I'd like to do my best so that can play without musical score in the future' [28]

Mai brought along their own violin
She had poised look on her face as she took out the violin
Fans: Oh!
She had a poised look on her face as she took out the bow
Fans: Oh!
Mai-chan, good at manipulating the fans [29]

Ozeki: 'Well then, I'll start playing. Méditation by Thaïs'
She played it with a serious look on her face, though the slip-ups that occurred here and there put small smiles on her face [30]

She had a victorious look on her face after she finished playing
The pumped-up venue applauded
Ozeki: 'Did you hear that! I'm sure you thought that I'd play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! That's not the case!
Laughter from the fans [31]

Closing words:
Ozeki: 'Well then, it was a short time...'
Fans: Eh-?
She spreads her arms, which the fans laugh at
Ozeki: 'I didn't sing today, so I couldn't hear your 'fu' responses, But your 'eh' just now made me happy. How was this Country Hiroba?'
Great applause from fans [32]


All the 'Country Hiroba' performances have ended succesfully! Thank you very much for gathering for it! It seemed that the youngest was the calmest before it started...
Did you make any new discoveries? We'll do our best so that you can meet them again at another Country Hiroba!!


Sources: @countrygirls_ufHelloProHealing, Chisaki event fan report, Yamaki event fan reportEntame Alive report, @3darksky, @country_oyaji, @angela_seki, @houkouonchi119@allilan

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