My fourth cake day as a translator!
So a couple of days after my previous birthday post, ℃-ute announced that they would be breaking up. As sad as the announcement was, I wasn't going to let anything bring me down for my trip to see Buono! at the Holy Land of Rock, the Nippon Budokan.
It was only later on Country Girls' second anniversary that the bomb dropped - Momochi announced her graduation and retirement. 30th June 2017 had been marked as the end of days.
A lot has happened in between - illnesses, sudden graduations, a reshuffle of Country Girls - but honestly, over this past year, Momochi's graduation was and still is the biggest thing to me. Coupled with increasing pressure from my work life, I came to the decision that it was high time for me to close the curtain on this blog.
In the meantime, I made some more excursions to Japan to catch a ℃-ute concert, Buono!'s Yokohama Arena show, and of course, Momochi's graduation concert.
To cap off the year, Pink Cres. dropped by my neck of the woods a couple of weeks ago. Took the opportunity to have a look, and even got a photo with the girls.
And as I did last year and the years before, here are some translation highlights over the past year. For obvious reasons, expect this to be heavily Momochi-biased, even more than usual lol
Rival - 12 shoujo no 10-nen monogatari -
Momochi no Kimochi
Both these books are pretty important to me, and while I couldn't finish either completely, I'm glad that I got translations of them out there, as niche as they are. While BeriKyuu may have graduated fully from H!P, BeriKyuu's 10th anniversary book was an interesting insight into the relationships between the girls. While the essays from Momochi no Kimochi of course provide an interesting insight into Momochi. XD
Miyamoto Karin loves 80s idol songs and ballads!!
Had to put in quite a bit of research into translating this, but as tough as it was, it was fun. Karin-chan talking about her obsession over 80s idols was a treat, and I'm glad this seems to have piqued people's interest in Karin-chan as well.
Karin-chan: 'I'm an angel, so I've never seen that (toilet paper)!' pic.twitter.com/BxQtH0xySZ— IceCream & My Jiggly (@IceJiggly) 2017年4月21日
Passpo☆ no FunFunFun。 Interview - Tsugunaga Momoko
Momochi talks with idol group Passpo☆ about what she learnt in her many years as an idol. H!P in general seem quite revered by other idols, and the Passpo☆ girls seem awed to have a discussion with a legend. Momochi doesn't hold back either, and has plenty to say to the girls.
Suzuki Airi - True Colours
Airi talks about how she's grown and changed from being an idol for so long, how it's like to be a senpai, and how work beyond her group has broadened her horizons. I've probably mentioned this before, but I like how Airi's become more aware of her position as a senpai, as someone who's looked up to. It used to be that she would deny any praise afforded her, but now she seems to take it in stride.
Tsugunaga Momoko: Her thoughts just before the hiatus
A bit of a blast from the past, this is Momochi talking about how she felt as Berryz Kobo were leading up to their hiatus. We all know that she wasn't done with being an idol - after all, the first thing she did was sign up as the Playing Manager for Country Girls. But it was heartbreaking to hear how she stepped away during one of the final meetings because she couldn't fully accept that Berryz would be going on a hiatus. I'm somehow reminded about the misconceptions people had about her, like that she was the driving force behind the hiatus, or that she'd turn Country Girls into an army of Momochis. Time have dispelled those misconceptions, but you can already see her shedding some light on those in her interview.
Hirunandesu 160803— IceCream & My Jiggly (@IceJiggly) 2016年9月30日
When Momochi finds out that she can get free drinks and snacks pic.twitter.com/JgXQStVvUx
Tsugunaga Momoko Last Interview
One of the last interviews with Momo, this interview asks her about her memories as part of the H!P Kids, as Berryz Kobo, and as Buono! The part I like in this interview is how, when it came to her decision to continue on the path of being an educator, she revealed that being PM of Country Girls played an even bigger role compared in her university training. I'm glad to have been able to witness the effectiveness of her training techniques.
℃-ute in Big One Girls
With most of my resources going to Momochi, I think I somewhat neglected her peers ℃-ute. While this article is strongly tied up with their ℃omplete single collection, there are a lot of nice little stories interwoven in it. The messages to other members was nice, and the girls really held nothing back when they got to say their closing goodbyes.
Voter comments for Momochi's 15th anniversary album
While some may lament the fact that the fan votes mostly overlapped Momo's solo picks on the first disc of her album, I think that it shows just how in-sync Momo is with her fans. The comments for I Need You in particular ring quite true for me, and it was a fun ride to see how the thoughts of the fans and how they related their song choices to Momo.
The oshi type diagnostic chart
Taken from Perorin-sensei's book, Idol to Otaku Daikenkyuu Dokuhon. This got quite a lot of traction, and if you're wavering about what sort of idol you like in this post-BeriKyuu world, why not give it a try?
They can no longer be sworn allies... BeriKyuu arch-rival interview (Shimizu x Natsuyaki x Suzuki x Okai)
This didn't gain as much traction as I hoped, but I guess BeriKyuu aren't as relevant any more...
It is an interesting take on the steady evolution of BeriKyuu's relationship - coming from the same roots, being broken up, and seeing one another as rivals.
Kudo Haruka interview in Top Yell May 2017
This translation came on the heels of Kudo's graduation announcement. The interview goes quite in-depth into what Kudo thought about her role in the group. I like how she took the time to assess what she could bring to the group, realising that there were things that were difficult to attain and learning to leverage on her own strengths.
1001 Nights - The 41st Night (Morito Chisaki)
In commemoration of the release of Chiitan's photobook, she did the traditional 50 questions plus a look back on her life in this instalment of the 1001 Nights. Translating these events are always a challenge, given that I've only got Twitter fan reports to base them on. But it's a fun challenge, and it's always interesting to see what the fans are wondering. I don't always get the in-jokes though.
1001 Nights - The 42nd Night: 100 questions to Tsugunaga Momoko (Part 1)
1001 Nights - The 42nd Night: 100 questions to Tsugunaga Momoko (Part 2)
And speaking of the 1001 Nights, for the first and last time, we have everyone's idol, Momochi! Momochi went through this event sans the usual MC Nishiguchi. It was a fun ride, and the event was very much in her own Momochi world.
Yanagawa confessing to Ozeki-kun
Short, sweet, and super adorable ♥
This is what the Country Theatre is all about.
A proclamation from the final successor to the 'Momochi-isms'? Country Girls' Funaki Musubu, who used to always put on a mask, talks about her 'worries'...
Funachan goes all over the place in this interview, but never fails to say something interesting. Though I'd expect no less from one of Momochi's protegees. Also, there's a part where Funachan mixes metaphors in Japanese, and I had a fun time working around that lol. The term 'Neko wo kaburu' literally means 'covering up with a cat', but has the metaphorical meaning of 'putting on a mask', which is how I translated it. However, Funachan then starts explaining that 'It isn't a real cat', and so I had quite a bit of mess to sort out. Messy, but fun.
Momochi interview (Hello! Project Station #224)
Momochi reflects on various aspects of her idol life. There's also a second part in the following Hello! Sute, but it looks like I've run out of time...
Juice=Juice Miyamoto Karin's goal 'A new form of idol'
Karin-chan talks about how she's grown through acting in a drama, doing solo work, turning eighteen, and her vision of what an idol is.
On Karin-chan's fortune, under romance: 'Please give up on it' pic.twitter.com/RVOThGBgE7— IceCream & My Jiggly (@IceJiggly) 2016年12月8日
Mano-chan looks back on four years since her graduation
And talking about hitting my fourth year, in this blog post, Mano-chan takes an introspective look on the four years since her graduation.
Country Girls feat. Maimi Yajima (℃-ute) Original Photo Book
And last thing I'd like to highlight, but not least, Maimi joins Country Girls in this mini-PB. The two Kids have a chat while the other Country Girls talk about them. A complaint by Ozeki concerning something that happened during the shoot became quite a topic amongst the wota, and fanartist SK Neo-san drew a 4-koma which I translated: