Thursday, 29 October 2015

Berryz Kobo x ℃-ute Cross Talk: Yajima Maimi x Tsugunaga Momoko

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Hello! Project Kids in 2012, a book entitled Rival - 12 shoujo no 10-nen monogatari - (The 10-year legend of the 12 girls) was released. The book contains 2-page discussions between various pairings of the girls, covering all 66 possible combinations. In the process of reading this book, I'll be putting up some highlights as I read through the interviews.

Yajima Maimi X Tsugunaga Momoko


The 2 of you, along with fellow H!P member Mano-chan, are good friends.

Yajima: The 3 of us are in the same school year, so we're on the same wavelength. We used to hang out a lot in the past, but our schedules don't really match up at the moment, so we hang out separately.

Tsugunaga: But I'm really disappointed with Mano-chan! Despite becoming friends with me earlier, she's already started referring to Maimi as 'Maimi-chan', while I'm still stuck as 'Tsugunaga-san'.


What do the each of you talk about with Mano-chan?

Yajima: When I'm with her, it's often about work, particularly about stage-acting.

Tsugunaga: It's normal chat for me. Like 'Did you watch yesterday's variety programme?'

Yajima: The other day, she seemed to have something on her mind, so I heard her out.

Tsugunaga: Ah, that might be it! Serious topics might be all right. Because she's talked about things like weight with me. On the lines of 'I've eaten too much recently, so my weight is like~'

Yajima: I think that's true. Since she's able to have serious discussions with us, she opened up her heart. And it also seems like she enjoys talking about play-acting.


Tsugunaga: Maimi's definitely inattentive, but she keeps an eye on those around her, she wants to do her best, with a force that makes me feel that she'll definitely end up as Hello!'s leader. Even the juniors admire her.

Yajima: You know, I never had the leader temperament originally (laughs)

Tsugunaga: It's not just taking the lead, there are times when a leader has to take a step back from their environment and take an objective look, right? It's because I think you can do that.

Yajima: Momo, aren't you yourself are cut out for the job?

Tsugunaga: But the staff-sans have said that the possibility of that happening is close to zero (laughs).

By the way, Tsugunaga-san, do you not have such aspirations? To become leader or centre?

Tsugunaga: Putting aside being the leader, I don't really feel that way about the centre position. I am myself, wherever I am, so those who watch me will watch me. Besides, there are many ways to stand out besides being the centre.

Yajima: It's very like Momo to put it that way. But you've had leadership skills from the past. During the movie 'Koinu Dan no Monogatari', while everyone was nervous as it was our first job, only Momo said 'Let's gather around to play tag', leading everyone. I was shy, but I joined in without thinking.

Tsugunaga: Did something like that happen? After that, I was together with Maimi in 'ZYX'. Maimi and I would always get a terrible scolding.

Yajima: The other members were good at dancing and good at singing, but the both of us were both inexperienced, so we really dragged our feet. It was really troubling, it strikes me as a frustrating memory.

Tsugunaga: The dance move where we had to swing our arms round and round, we couldn't do it well, and we had to be corrected countless times. Also, during 'ZYX', Yaguchi-san gave me a nickname. 'Maru-chan'.

Hmm? Why Maru-chan?

Tsugunaga: The author of 'Chibimaruko-chan' is Sakura Momoko-san, so it was because of the Momoko connection, but Maru-chan has not a single thing to do with Tsugunaga Momoko. It might be rude to talk this way about something that a senpai bestowed with such attention, but I wish she had honestly given more though to something that had Tsugunaga Momoko-ness to it (laughs). It was during an interview for a newspaper or something, when a reporter suddenly touched on the topic, so Yaguchi-san must have been in flustered though.

So did Maimi-chan also get one?

Yajima: I was Cherry-chan. Because I liked cherries.

It seems like she was really at her wits' end (laughs). Did those nicknames spread?

Tsugunaga: It was only at that interview. Only for that occasion (laughs). But it was in the papers, my Maru-chan. If I had continued to be called that and grown attached to it, maybe I wouldn't be Momochi now, but I'd be Maru-chan (laughs).

But you really remember it, for something that happened only once.

Yajima: We do remember it.

Tsugunaga: Because to be given a nickname from the Morning Musume。-san we looked up to, it was really something to be happy about (laughs). But when I mentioned it to Yaguchi-san the other day, she couldn't remember giving us nicknames. It became a story we laughed over.


How do you think the 2 of you will be like 10 years in the future?

Yajima: Momo has her own opinions, and I think she'll be career-oriented. I think she'll work until she's satisfied. Once she's completely satisfied, I feel she'll get married. Though I can't see her taking up home-making.

Tsugunaga: For me, in that situation, probably all's well that ends well, but I don't really know what'll happen until we get there. But after 10 years, Mano-chan will definitely call me 'Momochi', and it'd be great if the 3 of us could go for drinks. I have no idea if I'll be calling Maimi Maimi-chan or Cherry-chan at that point though (laughs).

Yajima: Well, with the bonds of Maru-chan and Cherry-chan, we'll call each other by our nicknames from 20 year ago.

Tsugunaga: Mano-chan will be the only one without a nickname, she'll be jealous of the 2 of us. Well, sometimes it's fine to make her jealous, right!


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