Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Berryz Kobo x ℃-ute Cross Talk 63: Tsugunaga Momoko 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

Tsugunaga Momoko X Hagiwara Mai

The 2 of them were great friends when they were in the H!P Kids.
As we go deep into the discussion, it takes an unexpected turn, and ends up becoming a serious discussion where they talk about what lies behind their hearts!

The 2 of you seemed to be really close friends when you were in the H!P Kids.

Hagiwara: I remember always being together with Momo. Profile books were all the rage at the time, and one of the questions was 'What will you be doing in 10 years time?' Momo wrote 'I'll be living with Mai-chan'.

Tsugunaga: And here we are, 10 years later.

Hagiwara: Not living together at all (laughs).

Tsugunaga: If anything, Mai-chan, you were adorable. You know, you'd keep on practising 'I'm Mai-chan, in my first year of primary school, peace'. I mean, don't you always say 'I'm Mai-chan, in my first year of primary school'? But you were practising just because you'd added 'peace' at the end. Even to this day, I'll never forget you coming to me and asking 'Was that okay?' You were adorable~!

Hagiwara: We really were always together when we were in the H!P Kids. But once we'd been split into BeriKyuu, it was like we naturally had less time to hang out. Now we've settled down as friends who'll have a chat whenever we occasionally meet one another.

Tsugunaga: Recently, I feel that you've been doing self-deprecating jokes. At the concert the other day, you were like 'Buy a yellow T-shirt (Mai's image colour)'. You were so cute that even I thought about going out and getting one. Even while you were trying to act tough with the fans, making self-deprecating jokes, you were still adorable. I'm glad that I got to see you bringing yourself down by going 'That's not the case'~

So rather than saying that Mai-chan is the little sister, it's more like everyone spoils her like a princess since she's so cute? Momochi, did you buy her yellow T-shirt in the end?

Tsugunaga: Eh, of course...

Hagiwara: So you own one? How nice of you.

Tsugunaga: What do you call them, 'Hagimi and Hagishige'?

Hagiwara: 'Hagio and Hagiko'! This is useless. Someone like you wouldn't have a T-shirt of mine (laughs).

Mai-chan, from your eyes, has Momochi changed since your debut?

Hagiwara: She doesn't look like she's 20, and I feel that since way back, she's been grounded on the inside, so in both aspects, she hasn't changed. She's in possession of herself, and I feel that she goes following her own path. But recently, there's been one thing that's a real annoyance (laughs).

Tsugunaga: And what could that be?

I don't want to show the pride and stubbornness behind my heart (laughs) by Mai

Hagiwara: Ever since you started doing your 'Yusuhite-nyan♪', whenever someone makes a mistake, even though it's a ℃-ute only event, the mood will be like 'Do it~'. Or 'Apologise~' 

Tsugunaga: Its influence has gotten that far?

Hagiwara: There are times when I'm really pushed to do it, and my hands quake, seriously. It grosses me out (laughs). It's fine for you to do it, but for me to go 'Nyan♪', it becomes a hindrance in concerts, and even my dancing ends up rushed.

Tsugunaga: As for me, I'm really jealous. Now, whenever I ask if I should apologise, the fans will be like 'No need for that (laughs)!' Mai-chan, when you go 'Yurushite-nyan♪', the fans get all excited, right?

Hagiwara: That is true, but those cheers make my hands shake excessively (laughs). It's a situation where people cheer when I do it, even if they aren't fans. Being cheered while I'm doing something I don't like, it's like 'ick'.

Tsugunaga: I see. Should I apologise?

Hagiwara: No need for that (laughs).

You truly are in sync, maybe because the two of you had been together for such a long time in the past. But even with the same 'Yurushite-nyan♪' schtick, there's a complette difference in how you feel about it, and how those around you react to it. Is there anything that you feel that you can't mimic from the other?

Hagiwara: While I can make self-deprecating jokes smoothly at concerts and such, I can't pull them off impromptu. So I'm amazed at how Momo flourishes on variety programmes. If it was me, I'd definitely have no idea what to talk about.

Tsugunaga: Oh, thank you. It's been some time since I've been praised (laughs). But even at concerts, it's not like my remarks get received with bursts of laughter. I often get people going 'Woo!' or 'Eh?, or no responses at all. But each and every time, you make me laugh until my sides stitch, which amazes me. Your choice of words is funny, to the extent that I'd like to try recording your voice with a voice recorder as you talk backstage, and enjoy it at night all by myself.

Hagiwara: I can do any number of those. I really like to talk, and I really want people to listen to me talk. There are times when I want to be by myself, like when I'm really down in the dumps that I feel like crying, but on the other hand, if I'm not depressed to that extent, I don't want to be alone, I'd like to be in contact with someone.

Tsugunaga: That's right, there are times when one does feel like crying. You can send me a message!

Hagiwara: I don't have your contact address though......

Tsugunaga: Well, you can come to my house, anytime. It's pretty far though (laughs).

These 2 have not let anyone 
Witness their true selves

By the way, Momochi, when you're down in the dumps, when you're burdened with worries, what do you do?

Tsugunaga: I'll decide to do something, and if it comes out wrongly once I've tried it, I'll look for another answer, something like that. I don't really consult with others.

Hagiwara: I don't really tell others about my worries either. I don't want to show that part of me. I want myself to be the only person seeing it.

Tsugunaga: Rather than telling the fans about what I'm worried about at the moment, I want to just show them my chirpy self.

Hagiwara: I really get what you mean. For example, if something unpleasant happens to me, even if I'd like to vent it out by writing about it in a blog post, I definitely don't want it to be left there.

Tsugunaga: We're kindred spirits, aren't we? I don't want to whine either. Trivial things are all fine though. For example, something on the lines of 'I spilt some water, and had to wipe dry some high-class dishes...', that would be fine (laughs), but I'd like to avoid situations where I talk about what I'm worried about.

Hagiwara: I have deep discussions with Captain (Shimizu Saki), but I really think that I haven't shown anyone my true self. I think that my true thoughts are stored deep in me, at a level where I don't want to tell them to anyone.

Tsugunaga: But if you were to ask us what it is, we wouldn't know, and once we find out what it is, we wouldn't mention it.

Hagiwara: I'm really thankful if someone is concerned about me, but concern doesn't resolve things, and what's worse is that I'm receiving concern, which makes me feel like I'm forced to go out of my way to take it upon myself. So I won't mention my troubles. 

I want everyone to just see my chirpy self! by Momoko

Tsugunaga: I understand that you can feel at ease just by having someone listen to your worries, but I feel regret after having someone hear me out. Like, after going through such lengths to hang out together, why didn't we have a fun chat?

Hagiwara: I think I understand you. And it's truly unforgivable if it's with someone you seldom meet. There's no need for lots of people to know about what I'm worried about, or my true self, I think it's fine if just a single person does. While there are people who want lots of friends, I think that I don't need a lot if I have one best friend. 

Tsugunaga: I think that I'd actually be fine with just 2~3 true 'Otomomochi'. Of course I'd be fine with a hundred or two hundred fun Otomomochi, but even if that happened, I wouldn't really speak of my worries.

Hagiwara: Wouldn't it be fine to talk about such things? Momo, maybe you're secretive. Like, wouldn't you say that you've got to go quite deep inside to get to your true self?

Tsugunaga: That might be so. But it's not like it piles up so much that it's crushing. Since I live while enjoying myself, I'm fine with my current state. I generally don't have much worries, not really.

Aiming for Nakazawa-san, Tsuji-san
Becoming the faces of H!P!

This talk is deeply interesting, because you two are normally carefree. That's how you've spent the past 10 years, so how do you think the other will be like in the next 10 years?

Hagiwara: While I think that she might still be working, in Momo's case, if she finds someone she loves, I feel that she'd stop.

Tsugunaga: All the fans are my loved ones. But at the moment, I honestly don't really have any feelings of romance. I think that currently, I'm a woman who lives for work.

Hagiwara: I feel that once you've switched towards that, you'd go at it full power, just as much as how you're throwing yourself at work right now.

Tsugunaga: I've thought about it: if I was able to find a person that I truly loved, then I'd quit being an idol in the blink of an eye. But I can't really imagine myself in that situation, so I've got no idea. Mai-chan, I feel like you'd be designing socks or accessories. I feel like you'd become like Tsuji (Nozomi)-san.

Hagiwara: Ah, I really look up to Tsuji-san, that environment. As a young mother, she even designs things for children. I think it would be great if I could balance work and children.

Tsugunaga: Then I'll aim for Nakazawa (Yuko)-san. That said, Nakazawa-san's gone past the age where people would normally give up. I'll be rewriting the H!P Guinness records. 

Hagiwara: Momo, if it's you, I feel like you can pull it off. I think that you can become the face of H!P, seriously.

And if you'd like to see more of this pair interacting,  you can watch an English-subbed version of HaroSute episode hosted by Momo and MaiMai here.

More interview excerpts from this book

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

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