Yajima Maimi X Tokunaga Chinami
Do you remember the first time you met at the auditions?
Yajima: I remember it well. Don't you?
Tokunaga: Not to that extent (laughs).
Yajima: We were behind the panels, about to go on-stage, when you appeared from somewhere, spinning your arms, and saying 'This is nerve-wracking, isn't it!' (laughs). But since I was more shy than nervous, the fact that you were speaking to me was a great relief.
Tokunaga: We were together at the final auditions, but the only thing I remember was that Maimi was before me (laughs).
Yajima: For Chii, that was you operating as usual (laughs). And then we got to talking, and it turned out that we both liked Shimura Ken-san. Then we gradually became friends, while doing impersonations together (laughs).
Yajima: Chii hasn't changed at all.
Tokunaga: Maimi didn't have her current airiness she has to her now. In the past, she seemed to be a level-headed person. The impression I had was if someone had drank some juice, and just left it around, she'd tell them to 'Clear it up properly!'.
Yajima: I don't remember that at all (laughs). Because my other always told me to clean up my act (laughs), I might have been trying hard at it. What I remember is that there was a time in primary school when I fought with the boys. I told Chii about it, and asked her to keep it a secret from my mother. But Chii forgot about that promise, and jsut talked about it normally with my mother. After that, I got a good scolding from my mother. Then Chii was like 'I'm really sorry' (laughs).
Tokunaga: That did happen, didn't it (laughs)?
For each of you, what memory of the two of you was the incident that left the deepest impression?
Tokunaga: For me, it was probably the time when Berryz Kobo's début was announced. The Kids were having dance lessons, and without any explanation, they called up the names of the members, and we were gathered into a different room. I thought that we'd be getting a scolding or be told to quit (laughs), but we were told that we'd be forming a group. While I was happy at the time, I was shocked that Maimi wasn't in it. I had mixed feelings. Despite us being together up until then, we ended up doing activities separately.
Yajima: I didn't think about it too deeply at the time. At first, we obviously didn't know about the formation of a group, so I felt like 'Chii got called'. But when we went to watch and learn from Berryz Kobo's first concert, that was the first time that I felt the difference between us.
Tokunaga: When it came to ℃-ute, that happened to me as well. When ℃-ute was set to début, while I personally felt like congratulating Maimi, as a group, I thought that there was huge pressure on us. When I went to watch Morning Musume。-san's concert, ℃-ute sang 'Massara Blue Jeans'. The way you got the crowd pumped out was out of this world, like 'This pumped-up atmosphere goes even beyond our performances!?' But that was really good motivation.
[W]hat do you like about one another?
Yajima: Chii's got a friendly personality, and in a good way, she's got this childishness to her. Honestly for me, that's really great.
Tokunaga: We've been together for 10 years, so there's nothing I like or dislike, it's all Yajima Maimi! So I like everything about her (laughs).
How about expressing a brief comment about the other?
Tokunaga: For me, Maimi's like a protective charm. Because whatever I say, she'll be calm, she gives out this sense of security. When there's something that's making me anxious, I want to call Maimi. Even if we haven't contacted one another for half a year, I'm able to contact her as always, and talk normally. Because Maimi really understands me. The place where I belong is next to Maimi! Though I'm just selfishly thinking that myself (laughs).
Yajima~: It's the same for me! How would you put it, Chii gives me a place where I can relax. When I'm facing really tough times, I want to see Chii's smile there and then. She understands me, so I enjoy being with Chii, and she really soothes my heart. It's truly great that Chii is around.