Thursday, 30 June 2016

Berryz Kobo x ℃-ute (Hello! Project BEST SHOT!! Vol.22)

Hello!Project BEST SHOT!! / Wani Books

The Hello! Project Best Shot series of mooks are periodic publications by Wani Books containing a selection of shots from recent photo books as well as a selection of shots taken for their magazine, UTB. From the two that I have, it looks like they also provide something new as a feature, probably to make it worth your while. For this edition, released early 2015, we have a BeriKyuu feature!

Shimizu Saki: I was reminded once again of what wonderful companions we have
Seeing the members of ℃-ute cry when we told them about our hiatus, I was reminded once again of these wonderful companions that we had. They understand our feelings, they're comfortable to be with, it's like we're one big family. I imagined that they would be surprised when we told them of our hiatus, but I never would have thought that they'd break down in tears. And since it was before our concert rehearsals, we were in a panic, thinking 'OMG! We made them cry before the rehearsals!!' (laughs).

When it comes to ℃-ute, I'm not worried at all about the other four besides Maimi (laughs). I think that Maimi might be feeling the pressure, suddenly becoming Hello! Project leader. And up to now, there have been times when she's depended on me, so I felt that it was inexcusable to make her suddenly go from that to being entrusted with everything. But since I knew that Maimi would properly watch over the kouhai with her gentleness and sense of responsibility, I expect that she'll be a good senpai.

My top BeriKyuu memory was when everyone celebrated my 21st birthday in the middle of BeriKyuu's tour. On-stage, Chisato thanked me for being born into this world, and those words made me really happy. It's sad to part, but in the future, I'd like to cheer ℃-ute on as a friend and as a fan. I too would like to learn lots of things, and do my best as a 23 year old woman.

Yajima Maimi: Doing our best to make up for Berryz Kobo
If you were to ask me about BeriKyuu memories, I'd talk about our very first movie, 'Koinu Dan no Monogatari'. That's when we started to deepen out bonds. We messed around together, and even got into fights, all sorts of things happened (laughs). Because of those memories, when I heard that Berryz Kobo would be entering a hiatus, for a moment, I was hit once again with how long we had been doing this. We had been so small, and yet the time had come for them to make such a decision.

Of course it's sad to part, but I hope that all of Berryz Kobo will continue to challenge all sorts of things from now on. Since I'd like us to maintain our unchanging relationship forever, I'd like to meet up with them occasionally. Since all of them will be going down new paths, it'll be fun to listen to their stories of a different world that isn't just Hello! Project. Probably by that time, all of Berryz Kobo will probably seem like such adults. Up to now, we've been in the same environment, and I think that they'll have a good look at worlds that we don't know about, so we can't let ourselves be left behind (laughs).

Berryz Kobo said to us, 'Do your best to make up for our part', and I feel that we can't let the things that Berryz Kobo have done in these 10 years disappear. For that not to happen, we have to keep continuing on. As Hello! Project leader's as well, I'd like to do my best with that resolve. Saki, are you worried about me? (laughs) Borrowing everyone's strength, I intend to do things in my own way.

Tsugunaga Momoko: I'd like to maintain an unwavering relationship
I really remember the first time we appeared at a Hello! Project concert, and all of us had to introduce ourselves. It was just a self-introduction, but we were really nervous. My comment was 'While we total 15 in number, I'll do my best to stand out!', but I haven't forgotten the sight of each and every one of us earnestly practising the comments we would be giving. Like who said what, and what we all said together. That shows you just how much we practised (laughs).

Berryz Kobo will be entering a hiatus, but I'd like to maintain an unwavering relationship with all the Berryz Kobo and ℃-ute members. I will still remain in Hello! Project, so I'd like to have a meal with the members of ℃-ute when we have concerts together (laughs). I plan to drop by their dressing room, so I'd be happy if they received me without any awkwardness. I'd like to have a relationship where it's possible that I might enter the room at any time (laughs).

Also, I'll be active as part of Country Girls after this, so I'd like to do my best to support the kouhai. Because the members of Berryz Kobo are from my own generation, I'm not used to all of the others being kouhai. I'd be glad if I could lead them by example. Also, I'd like to do my best to polish myself further. The other members of Country Girls are still undergoing compulsory education (laughs), so I'll be able to experience lots of things while they're at school...... I'll do my best so that my 2nd life as an idol won't be any lesser than my life in Berryz Kobo.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Berryz Kobo x ℃-ute Cross Talk 36: Natsuyaki Miyabi X Suzuki Airi

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.

Special Crosstalk Book "RIVAL 12 shoujyo no 10 nen monogatari (10 years stories of 12 girls)" / Berrz Kobo / Cute

Natsuyaki Miyabi X Suzuki Airi

Natsuyaki and Suzuki have worked together in units such as Aa! and Buono!
As they talk about their eagerness to show-off (!?), for some reason, we get shown drawings of baby chicks?

Has the impression you have of one another now changed from when you met at the 'Hello! Project Kids Audition'?

Natsuyaki: At the auditions, we didn't really have any opportunities to talk, so from what I saw, Airi was really good at singing, and she could dance as well.... that was what I felt. But when we were in the same group, 'Aa!', I found out that Airi really does things at her own pace. And recently through Buono!, I found out that she's a real gourmand (laughs). When I talked with her, I thought that she was level-headed, a girl of this generation, who, just like (Sugaya) Risako, will give out her own opinion.

Suzuki: Miyabi was already cute from back then, so I was sure that she'd pass. We started talking when we joined 'Aa!', but since we were kids back then, we'd talk about work. But I really liked how, even from back then, Miya was able to catch the rhythm, and she was fashionable, so I had this great impression that she'd be admired by girls. At rehearsals, I watched her in secret, but there weren't any occasions for me to tell her that (laughs). Miyabi has all sorts of unexpected facets to her. When I'm thinking that she's cool, she'd be anything but, talking with a with a shriek, building up a fuss with a 'yay' (laughs). Also, Miyabi eats quite a lot as well (laughs).

The 2 of them thought up moves that would make them completely stand out!?

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Tanaka Reina:Earnestness (Idol and Read 004)

Coming from the same issue of Idol and Read as Karin-chan's epic interview, we have a special interview with former Morning Musume。 Tanaka Reina. While Karin-chan's interview documented the struggles of a young girl making her way in the idol world, Reina is as candid as an (ex-)idol can get, despite having faced hardships herself. What can I say? It's Reina being Reina. Let's get on with the show!


[On starting a band]

In my mind, people who started bands were people with all sorts of dark pasts. Like people in bands had some sort of shadows lingering behind them. The delusions swelled up in my mind, like 'With such dark pasts, they might have started their band in order to drive away the darkness, so might there be lots of crazy people?'! Besides, battle-of-the-bands are scary (laughs). But LoVendoЯ don't just do covers, we've got increasingly more original songs, and now we've got a major début song. Ever since we performed it at concerts, I'm finally like 'This is really fun!'


[On no longer receiving Tsunku♂ compositions]

When I was in Morning Musume。, it was a given that we'd be singing songs by Tsunku♂-san, and since I'd spent over 10 years in that environment, it didn't hit me just how amazing that was. It was just 'This time around, it's this kind of song huh'. However, once we'd been separated, I kept thinking 'I'd like to sing Tsunku♂-san's songs again', and this time I got to come into contact with Tsunku♂-san's lyrics [through 'Futsuu no Watashi Ganbare!']. I was blessed back then.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Berryz Kobo x ℃-ute Cross Talk 20: Sugaya Risako X Okai Chisato

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.

Special Crosstalk Book "RIVAL 12 shoujyo no 10 nen monogatari (10 years stories of 12 girls)" / Berrz Kobo / Cute

Sugaya Risako X Okai Chisato

With slightly different characteristics from what you'd call an idol, these two talk about their view on idols.
They tell us about what they think of their positions over these 10 years.

It may be quite a sudden leap to start our discussion off like this, but everyone says that the two of you seem like the most likely people to be the first to get married in your own respective groups (laughs).

Okai: Is that so (laughs)? But I feel that Risako will get married before me.

Sugaya: Isn't there a pattern where everyone says that, but it actually ends up with that person being the last to get married (laughs)?

Okai: In 10 years time, we'll be almost in our thirties, and most people at that age will normally be married, so I'd like to have gotten married by then.

Sugaya: Since you have lots of siblings, I feel like you'll become a Mama with lots of children.

Okai: I feel like we'll mingle as fellow mothers. All of us with children will gather together.

Sugaya: But amongst the members of my group, Captain will definitely be late.

Okai: I feel that Miyabi-chan will somehow or the other be late as well. As for Kumai-chan, I feel like she on the other hand might get married before we know it.

Sugaya: I think that if someone's going to get married out of the blue, it'd unexpectedly be Momo (laughs). I think that Kumai-chan will be really late. I've been together with her all the time, so I know her, and Kumai-chan is the type of person that thinks very carefully. It would worry me if she rushed. I'd be shocked if Kumai-chan got married before me (laughs).

Okai: I feel that ℃-ute's Yaji will unexpectedly get married early. I feel that we'd be be fine with Yaji getting married, and that we'd start saying things like 'It's about time to think about marriage'.

The 2 of them who are un-idol-like
What are their thoughts on what a proper idol is?

Thank you very much for the analysis (laughs). Talking about marriage, we started on a topic that in a way is a taboo discussion for idols, but I think if it's the 2 of you, the fans will be able to read this without suspicions. 

Okai: That does seem so (laughs).

Sugaya: I really get what you mean (laughs).

Saturday, 18 June 2016

[2ch] 1 year has passed since Berryz Kobo's hiatus

Berryz Kobo Last Concert 2015 Berryz Kobo Ikube! / Berryz Kobo

1 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/02(水) 23:59:46.28
How fast

2 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/03(木) 00:00:55.01
It went by quite quickly, didn't it?

3 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/03(木) 00:01:12.62

4 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/03(木) 00:02:07.40
I was unable to go to their last Budokan
I still hold a grudge against my employer, even now

5 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/03(木) 00:02:26.38
The time passed in the blink of an eye, huh?

7 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/03(木) 00:03:02.67
My youth

8 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/03(木) 00:04:41.86
I'd be fine if they didn't make a comeback, I just want to see the 7 of them together

10 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/03(木) 00:05:21.75
Berryz Ikube!

11 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/03(木) 00:05:41.73
Oi Oi Oi Oi

14 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/03(木) 00:10:56.84
All the BeriWota I knew have all graduated
I wonder if they're doing well

15 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/03(木) 00:13:20.99
It's not like I graduated from being an wota
I'm just on hiatus as a BeriWota

16 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/03(木) 00:16:28.83
So yeah, it was exactly 1 year ago huh
I'm glad that Maasa messed around at the MC lol

17 :名無し募集中。。。@\(^o^)/:2016/03/03(木) 00:16:33.95
In the end, I was unable to find something that gave me more joy than Berryz Kobo in this 1 year
Captain, help me

Thursday, 16 June 2016

[2ch] Mob boss Natsuyaki and henchman Nksk

1 :名無し募集中。。。@転載は禁止:2014/10/28(火) 20:52:43.41 0
Here's the latest picture of mob boss Natsuyaki and henchman nksk

By the way, here are past photos

3 :名無し募集中。。。@転載は禁止:2014/10/28(火) 20:58:46.58 0
They're pretty close in height

4 :名無し募集中。。。@転載は禁止:2014/10/28(火) 20:59:07.82 0
Wish we could have seen them in the same group

2 :名無し募集中。。。@転載は禁止:2014/10/28(火) 20:56:38.22 0
There definitely isn't a henchman photo that can beat this one

11 :名無し募集中。。。@転載は禁止:2014/10/28(火) 21:15:37.79 0
I really like this photo

7 :名無し募集中。。。@転載は禁止:2014/10/28(火) 21:02:55.67 0
Anyone will look like a henchman if they're together with Natsuyaki
nksk isn't at fault!

16 :名無し募集中。。。@転載は禁止:2014/10/28(火) 22:08:50.10 0
No, you're wrong!
When nksk's around, anyone will look like a mob boss

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Berryz Kobo x ℃-ute Cross Talk 38: Nakajima Saki x Hagiwara Mai

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.

Special Crosstalk Book "RIVAL 12 shoujyo no 10 nen monogatari (10 years stories of 12 girls)" / Berrz Kobo / Cute

Nakajima Saki X Hagiwara Mai


You're now able to speak pretty freely [when Mc-ing]. However, when you were small, did you have to make arrangements, like 'You should say this here'?

Nakajima: Even back then, I wondered why we had to follow the script. Why couldn't we say what we wanted to say? I can talk about it now, but there honestly were times when I thought about deviating from the day's script. 

Hagiwara: And for those people who were coming to watch us several times, they'd hear the same lines each time, wouldn't they? It would seem like we were only thinking about the same things, but we were just following the script... It was a dilemma.

Nakajima: And in the midst of that, I guess the staff members noticed that we'd grown up, so we'd have our own take on things, and they left things to us. The scripts went away about 2~3 years back. They would set the programme, but they left it to us to speak our thoughts. We were free to choose our words, so it became absolutely more fun.

How did the fans respond?

Hagiwara: It went over even better than before. We were told that there were too many inside jokes, but we were also told that it was enjoyable, that it was very '℃-ute'.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

H!P Maruwakari Winter 2016: Number one in dancing

Haropuro (Hello! Project) Maruwakari Book 2016 WINTER / Hello! Project

Q7: Please tell us who's H!P's number one for each of these genres? - Dancing

I like how this graph basically can be summed up like this:
Are you Team Manakan or Team Riho?

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Bimajin Special Interview Vol.7 Arai Hitomi & Shoji Mei from Tokyo Girls' Style 【Work edition】

Appearing in this month's Bimajin Special Interview, we have Arai Hitomi-san and Shoji Mei-san from the avex-linked 4 person dance & vocal group 'Tokyo Girls' Style'! With their powerful and cute live performances, these girls are currently at the centre of attention, highly regarded not only domestically but overseas as well ♡ In this first 'Work edition', they talk about their Taiwan (Taipei) live performance and what they want to challenge most at the moment ♪

● You had a concert by yourselves on the 14th of May at Taiwan (Taipei), a place which also has deep links to bimajin. How was it?
Arai:It was our first individual performance in Taiwan, but this was actually our 7th time there due to work! Amongst the jobs overseas we've received, Taiwan's the place that's given us the most work. Every time we go to Taiwan, the fans would greet us at the airport. It truly is a wonderful country.
Shoji: Something that left a huge impression on me was the large number of girls. There were lots of girls of our age! They'd made boards and uchiwa fans for the concert, and let us see what they'd made... Seeing them welcome us warmly from the very beginning of the concert reminded me again about the kindness of the people of Taiwan~.
Arai:As this was our first individual concert, we tried singing 'Partition Love' in Chinese, and we also tried to do all the MC segments in Chinese! We'd try to ask them if they were having fun in the middle of songs, and we tried to talk a bit about how we had hot pot and how much we'd like to eat it again... And of course, we also used Chinese to tell them that we'd like to go to Taiwan again. We received happiness from the people who had come for the show, it was a really fun concert. These Taiwan and Hong Kong concerts came from a plan on our Showroom programme: if we spent a year studying the language and passed a test, we would be able to hold concerts at Taiwan and Hong Kong. It was a really good experience.
Shoji:I was deeply moved at the encore! The fans sang our debut song 'Kirari', you could even hear it in the backyard. It made us really happy that they sang that song for the encore call. What's more, the fans had made their own lyric cards, and all the fans that came to the venue held those cards, where there was a surprise for us. Written on the opposite side of the lyric cards was 'Okaeri', 'Welcome back' in Japanese... It really pumped us up, as we wanted to live up to everyone's expectations. And I also really remember them thanking us and asking us to come again in Japanese at the handshakes.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Berryz Kobo x ℃-ute Cross Talk 31: Shimizu Saki x Sudo Maasa

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.

Special Crosstalk Book "RIVAL 12 shoujyo no 10 nen monogatari (10 years stories of 12 girls)" / Berrz Kobo / Cute

Shimizu Saki X Sudo Maasa

Having gone through a lot of stage-acting work, we have Shimizu, who enjoys watching, and Sudo, who loves acting. 
They talk about the opportunity that led them to deepen their bonds, a combination of 'plays' and 'behind the play stage'.

I'd like to have a discussion focused on acting, particularly in stage-plays. You've appeared on various plays up to now, but which left the biggest impression on you?

Shimizu: For me, It would be 'Taishou Roman Haikara Tantei ou Aoi Ruby Satsujin Jiken', starring Tanaka Reina-chan. I played an air-headed, clumsy police officer, a role I'd never done before, and that was a really tough challenge. I was instructed on how to do it, and was unable to make it my own. I've always found plays to be a challenge, but that one in particular was a tough one. And it wasn't with all of Berryz Kobo, it was just 2 of us, me and Maasa, so the pressure was huge.

Sudo: Saki-chan seemed really worried at the practice hall. Before I knew it, she would take hold of my arm (laughs).

Shimizu: That did happen (laughs). It was really reassuring to have Maasa around. I was so helpless that I'd constantly be sticking to Maasa at the practice hall. Taking the opportunity with 'Taishou Roman Haikara Tantei ou...', the both of us talked a lot about all sorts of things. It's not that we'd never talked before until that point, but we ended up at the point where we'd call each other 'Darling' or Honey' (laughs). It was like I got to see an inner aspect of Maasa, where she was even able to talk to me about what she was worrying about.

So you would say that the relationship between the two of you is thanks to that play?

Sudo: Saki-chan would always be silently reading the script. And we were a bit late in joining the practices. I felt the pressure, and was uneasy due to shyness. But thanks to my role where I was on a wheelchair, I was able to talk to our co-stars.

Shimizu: Maasa was bold. I thought that she was great, seeing her use nicknames with all the other actors (laughs).

Sudo: But Saki-chan, while you were flustered at first, you picked things up quickly, so you ended up being able to do things quickly. 

Shimizu: Really!? I'd always been averse to acting, and maybe because I had no confidence, it was more like I'd come to hate it. I couldn't get my head into acting at all, and even going to the practice hall was a trial. But in the middle of my second, third time doing it, while it was difficult, I noticed that I could experience all sorts of things through stage-plays. There's that great sense of fulfilment after you've finished, right?

After 10 years, I'd still like to stand on the play-stage! by Maasa

Saki-chan, while your forte is remembering the movements and choreography for live performances, you have a tough time with scripted lines?

Shimizu: I'm good at remembering the moves with my body. But it turns out that I'm no good at remembering the word that I've read (laughs). Indeed, when I think back to my time at school, I could remember things that had regularity to them, like maths, but for history, I couldn't memorise things at all. I wonder if that explains the differences between lines and dancing though (laughs).

Falling, throat-clearing, forgetting to bring things!?
Stories about on-stage slip-ups

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Momo Pro Vol 08 (UTB Jun-Aug 2011)

A bit of a blast from the past, here's a translated version of the 8th part of Momoko's UTB serialisation, MomoPro. I believe you can click the photo to enlarge it.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Arai Hitomi: It doesn't mean that it's the end (LoGiRL)

As part of LoGiRL's 2016 feature on Tokyo Joshiryu, they had solo interviews with each of the girls, looking back on their tumultuous 2015 - in which they declared that they were 'artistes', and lost member Konishi Ayano - as well as touching on their thoughts about the future.

Here are some translated excerpts from Arai Hitomi's solo interview.


Based on the results, do you think that your 'artiste declaration' was a step in the right direction?

I think that it was. Our motivation changed, and we felt the expectations of the fans as well, so we strongly felt that we had to work hard to respond to those expectations as much as possible. Also, there were things that I wanted to do before we did our 'artiste declaration', but I didn't pay them much heed as they weren't likely to happen. We're now able to contribute our own ideas, and we've been having increasingly more natural discussions amongst the members, so we can now see how all of us feel and what we'd like to do. Having gathered together as a group in that way, we're able to set the direction that we should advance along. I wonder if that's because we're proactively engaged with what we produce.

And Konishi Ayano-san entered a hiatus in June. As something that happened while you were coming together as a group that had made an 'artiste declaration', what did you think?

We heard about it (Konishi's hiatus) just before we were about to have our event in Shanghai. At the time, the first impact that it had was the hassle in changing the singing parts and dance positions. Also, we knew that Tokyo Joshiryu was 5 people, so performing with 4 people didn't feel right... We always felt that something was lacking.

And on the 28th of December, Konishi-san announced her graduation from the group and retirement from the entertainment industry. When you found out about that, honestly, what did you think?

Before she decided on her graduation, we talked about all sorts of things with Aachan (Konishi's nickname), and the members wanted her to come back. So, when she herself started talking about graduation, I couldn't believe it was true. It was difficult to believe straight off the bat.