Cat Cat Nukko. I want to keep a cat.
When I checked Gugutasu in the morning I found a post that made my heart beat fast.
I so want to hug her soon!!
As an excuse for the fact that I feel like “haa haa-ing” over her, I’d just say I’m too much into anime…
Anyway I like little and cute (even personality-wise) kids.
What’s wrong about it!?!??!
The world is made of cute things and of kids carrying on the future, after all!
A world without kids is like a tea-cake without rice!
Well, it’s not like there’s the character for rice in the word “tea-cake”…
Okay, I’m off for now.
That cat! (= ”°^°=)
Interesting how just yesterday 2ch was buzzing about “S stage legendary young girl”. Seems like during S 2nd performance, a little girl was seating 1st row and Rena totally spaze at her for the whole show! She wasn’t the only one as Kuu and other members have been said to lock their eyes on her and smile at her on purpose several times.
Plus it seems that little girl had good cheering skills as she used several penlights with different colors depending on the song and followed the rhythm perfectly. Of course we can’t see her face, but there are captions of Rena being her
creepy enthusiast self, looking at Legendary Little Wota’girl :
KD Kumin in the place too~
You know what’s left for you to do if you ever go to Sakae. Bring your little sis’! ( */°^°)/
Ogiso Shiori long interview from Bubka, August 2012 (released 2012/6/30)
Where we learn that : Shimoko is f! serious, that she joined SKE thanks to an unexpected certain member, that KII is love, that SKE is more than WMatsui and that ShiorixYukko isn’t dead… maybe :p.
「Thank you for granting me with 32th place in the general elections! It’s thanks to you all!」
General elections’ revenge
Q - Three days have passed since the elections, can you openly share with us your feelings regarding your 32th place?
Ogiso - Of course I’m happy, but I also accumulated a bit too much stress and I right now I finally start to feel the tension lift off. Though it doesn’t change the fact that I was very happy to achieve such result.
Q - Two years ago for the 2nd general elections I had already written in those columns 「Ogiso Shiori’s ranking would undoubtedly do great good to AKB」.
Ogiso - It was expecting too much from me, but thank your for your continuous support.
Q - Honestly, didn’t you already expect to make it in last year? You stand out considerably during the 「SKE48 ni Ima, Dekiru Koto」 tour in April. I was getting all worked up thinking 「Finally, Ogiso’s popularity is exploding in Tokyo!」.
Ogiso - Eh?! Really? I’m sorry I disappointed you.
Q - I even wrote 「Bring it on, Budokan!」.
Ogiso - I’m really sorry I made you go through such a disappointment. But your words really make me happy.
Q - In the end, you didn’t rank last year. Other 3rd generation members like Suda (Akari)-san or Hata (Sawako)-san ranked in however. Did you had some regrets then, wondering why you didn’t make it in?
Ogiso - Honestly it was frustrating to see two girls of the same generation as me rank in. Before that, during what were my first elections only WMatsui, of course, but also Oya Masana-san, Churi-san (Takayanagi Akane) and (Yagami) Kumi-san had ranked in and somehow I didn’t felt really involved as I couldn’t imagine myself rank. But when last year girls from 3rd generation like me, girls who had joined the group the same day as me were called, I realized I had to take things seriously.
And this year I’ve felt I had been called to get up on stage a bit early, which was still a bit frustrating.
Q - You were already wonderful in「Te wo Tsunaginagara」revival stage, back in those days I would write about you in every issue. I was totally expecting you to achieve great results in the elections.
Ogiso - I’m really, really sorry.
Q - You really didn’t had any hope in ranking last year?
Ogiso - Not the slightest.
Q - Seriously? You didn’t felt you had improved and that your popularity had risen as a consequence?
Ogiso - Back then I heard from a lot of people「I just discovered you and became your fan」, but until the elections were over last year, I was seeing myself as an underdog…
The transformation’s trigger
Q - It feels like so far your activities have kept bobbing up and down…
Ogiso - It’s true (laugh).
Q - You suddenly joined KII and were immediately picked to be part of 「Aozora Kataomoi」but then…
Ogiso - I dropped from senbatsu right after (laugh).
Q - And you weren’t chosen for 「1!2!3!4! Yoroshiku!」either, from there you clearly started to change. What was the trigger for this transformation in your personality?
Ogiso - As a senbatsu member I had been given the chance to work with media and had gained experience. I decided to make the best of it during stages performances which importance I truly understand then. If I didn’t give all I had there, it was all over for me. I realized after dropping from senbatsu that even if it was frustrating I couldn’t feel down and let it impair my performances in the theater. During 「Te wo Tsunaginagara」I was mostly performing in the back, but even then I thought of ways to stand out and that’s how I came to dance and sing with all I had.
Q - At some point, 「Te wo Tsunaginagara」stage ended and even after weeks there was still no news of a new stage for the team. There, you started appearing in KKS’ stages. Basically, all 3rd generation members did the same right?
Ogiso - 3rd generation members did and since there was no stage for KII, various KII members did too.
Q - Kuwabara (Mizuki)-san too appeared in the KKS stage if I remember correctly.
Ogiso - She did, as well as Masana-san. It ended up being a team composed of S, KII members and research students. But then it was the occasion for me to learn a lot from S members.
Q - From performing with Kuwabara-san, did you receive a good stimulus?
Ogiso - Yes. At first team S appeared extremely cold and rigid to me. It was the total opposite of KII. From start KII felt really cozy and kind, we would tell each other 「We should practice together and help one another until we go on stage」, while S was more like 「You better practice!」.
That’s when I started reflecting on what KII could be lacking.
Q - From then, you started popping up now and then in Kuwabara-san’s blog, right?
Ogiso - To tell the truth, when I started going along well with Mii-chan she told me 「At first, I really couldn’t bear you.」.
Q - Why would she dislike you?
Ogiso - I’m not sure. Though it’s possible she thought I was impertinent.
Q - Something like「Tche, ain’t nothing more than a cute face!」?
Ogiso - I don’t think she is one to have this kind of thoughts though (laugh). But I was actually glad that we became close enough that she would confess this to me.
Q - Last year the long awaited new KII stage 「Ramune no Nomikata」finally started. With Takayanagi (Akane)-san and Ogiso-san as double center right? How does it feel to have the other members watching your back?
Ogiso - I’ve longuely thought about it. I can’t let anyone wonder 「How come this girl is dancing in front of me?」. It’s the first time I receive such a position of my own, so I have to answer the expectations of those who’ve put their faith in me.
Q - You must have felt a certain pressure no?
Ogiso - I did. And it wasn’t a light one. When you’re dancing in the back you can allow yourself some self indulgence. You can make movements has big as you want and you’re only completely visible when you jump. But when you’re standing in the front, you’ve to be much more cautious about your placement so you don’t cover girls behind, you’ve more parameters to consider.
Q - Being double center with Takayanagi-san, have you come to see her as a rival?
Ogiso - I’ve never seen her as a rival, on the contrary all along I’ve thought I should be supporting her. She is a very devoted leader, constantly thinking about the team and I’ve witnessed her worrying often about us.
Q - But since you’ve become double center along her, I think her charge has greatly decreased. Do you feel like it’s your role now to pull KII forward?
Ogiso - I do. Until now I’ve been dragged by my seniors but it isn’t the time for that anymore. However I don’t think I should be alone opening the path, I want KII to move forward as one. (tln : １６人１７脚 = 16 members tied together in a race/ 17 legs race). Of course there will be some rivalries but it’s not into KII’s nature to focus on one member who would take a considerable step ahead or to leave anyone behind. Some will say I’m too candid, but that’s the KII I want to build and preserve.
Q - Doesn’t it seems to you that S is considerably more greedy?
Ogiso - Certainly. People like Mii-chan or (Matsui) Jurina-san clearly take the lead on the dance aspect. But I think that’s how the group finds its own balance. Now, KII is another story. It wouldn’t be interesting for one if we were the same type of team as S. It’s important to preserve KII’s uniqueness. And the current set list goes well with this uniqueness, don’t you think? Akimoto sensei, when he was wroting those songs, said it himself.
Q - Listening to you, it makes no doubt that you’re taking your role very seriously.
Ogiso - I’m fucking serious. (tln : no kidding, she says クソ真面目 lol) I don’t like when things are askew. I’m so earnest my head is harder than brick.
Q - Saying you don’t like when things are askew, I think it shows just by looking at you.
Ogiso - I really can’t bear it.
Q - It was always that way?
Ogiso - Always. You know, I have a little sister. Being the oldest child, I was told by my parents that I should be steady and reliable. If I get into a quarrel I’ll definitely get angry and scold the other party, that’s how I was raised. In KII there are a lot of members younger than me and so I’m somehow playing a role of older sister toward them.
Q - Being so steady, have you received remarks like 「Why do you have to be so strong headed?!」?
Ogiso - I joined SKE when I was still in high school you know. I had homeworks where you had to fill blanks in a sheet and simply turn it in after. But I couldn’t manage and I would cried every night. I was told by my mother 「You’ve to fix that and get a grip on yourself」, but even then, I couldn’t handle it. At the time I already had all those choreographies to remember.
I was resolute not to give up on any front.
Why do I have to be so thick headed?
Q - So I guess you’re inflexible when it come to be on time ?
Ogiso - I am. Those traits of my personality haven’t changed with the time and they still express themselves now.
Q - From where I stand, it’s funny to hear you talking about your stubborn diligence (laugh). Are people around you also amused by those traits of you? Does Kinoshita (Yukko)-san tends to tease you about it?
Ogiso - Yukko has often told me 「I like this aspect of you」. Her character and mine are polar opposite. When both of us, 3rd gen members, entered the senbatsu for 「Aozora Kataomoi」, if there was something I didn’t manage well she would say it to me right away and help me fix it. On the other hand, when she would get too high tension I was the one to bring her back to earth. That’s how we interact with each other. Lately 「OgiYuri」appeared though and fans have been concerned 「Yukko and you…」, but there is no reason to worry really.
Q - Which reminds me, the 「3rd Generation Club」has finally managed to hold their long awaited meeting it seems.
Ogiso - The 3rd gen. meeting was phenomenal. Everyone was over excited and getting wilder and wilder.
Q - Did you take part in the craze?
Ogiso - Yes. We managed to get all together even if that was hard.
Q - You mentioned quite some time ago already you wanted to organize it.
Ogiso - We had the project in mind but we couldn’t quite agree on a date.
Q - But in the end you managed to all get together.
Ogiso - Quite a miracle really.
Q - All the 3rd generation members really have a strong personality and there is a strong bond between all of them no?
Ogiso - True, but our personalities are so sharp that it would be a problem if we were to be put together for too long.
Q - So you don’t regret there wasn’t a team formed with all the 3rd generation members?
Ogiso - Exactly. We would have probably clashed violently with each other. There are a lot of unbending competitive girls among us.
Her reasons for joining SKE.
Q - You were practicing hip-hop before joining SKE, was it because you already planned to become an idol and join the world on show business?
Ogiso - No, actually a friend made me want to take lessons and I just happened to find a very nice dance teacher close by home. I took lessons for my own enjoyment, absolutely not thinking it could come handy in the world of show business.
Q - What did you dream of becoming as a kid?
Ogiso - I wanted to run a bread shop… Sorry for giving such an anticlimactic answer.
Q - No no, I think it’s great you wanted to become a baker! It suits you nearly too well actually (laugh). Even the way you dressed, I bet you always receive your parents aval.
Ogiso - True, when I was young my mother would always chose my clothes for me.
Q - Until when did your mother buy your clothes?
Ogiso - Until middle school. But truth is my mother’s fashion sense is better than mine.
Q - Around what time did you start envisage to become an idol?
Ogiso - Rather than becoming an idol, I wanted to join SKE. I thought so after watching Team S 「Te wo Tsunaginagara」in the theater.
Q - Was there a member who made an impression on you then?
Ogiso - Kuwabara mizuki-san. That day Jurina-san and (Matsui) Rena-san were absent. Thus Mii-chan was dancing at the center and I thought she was dancing with an incredible intensity. For example in 「Rope no Yuujou」 she was brandishing this rope with so much strength that I wondered if she wasn’t going to let it fly way.
Q - So you received quite a shock and decided you wanted to be part of it too?
Ogiso - That’s it. It was different from all the other idols I had seen to that day. All this sweat and disheveled hair…
Q - Unusual choice of words to refer to idols…
Ogiso - *fufufufufu* I guess it’s not common indeed (laugh). But I thought that I would have a great time in such an idol group.
Q - I was trying to determine what was your frime charm point and I remembered how your expressions were constantly changing on stage.
Ogiso - I’m often told so.
Q - Do you manage that consciously or does it come natural?
Ogiso - I’ve absolutely no idea how I do it. Sometimes I told 「You pulled a great weird face there.」and I’m like 「What?」.
Q - Sometimes it looks like you’re smiling even though your expression overall reflects painful feelings.
Ogiso - Eh? Smiling? ! How comes…?
Q - No don’t worry, I mean it in a good way.
Ogiso - Ah, thank you then. Please come to see us as many times as possible. First to enjoy the performance and the next time paying attention to our expressions. I’ll make sure to keep polishing mines.
Q - I believe SKE’s charm lies in going overboard. Ogiso-san’s facial expressions are the same. I think you could show a new facet of yourself if you let sexy representant (tln : sexy tantou/セクシー担当) take the upper hand and if you puller sexier expressions. (tln: “sexy tantou” is the role Shiori gave herself in SKE. She proclaimed herself “in charge of the sexiness” in the group.)
Ogiso - You’re right. I should study how to achieve that!
Q - You don’t have to be so serious about it you know (laugh).
Ogiso - Ah…
Q - I happened to hear you tend to cry a lot. I think that’s also part of your appeal. Your performance which marked me the most was 「Ramune no Nomikata」shonichi. Before the actual stage media were allowed to enter the theater and the moment you appeared you were already crying, even though it was just rehearsal (laugh).
Ogiso - I cried a lot then, didn’t it? Because you know, I never thought there would be so many people coming for the occasion…
Q - And of course, when you appeared on stage to perform 「Kizashi」, your face was positively crumpled (laugh).
Ogiso - Indeed. During this first stage I cried four times. I cried during 「Kizashi」, I cried during「Omatase Set List」, I cried during「Ramune no Nomikata」and I also cried during the last medley (laugh).
Q - What really surprised me was when I came again to watch KII stage and witnessed that you were still crying when you would enter on stage 「What, she is still crying after a month?!」, it was quite a shock (laugh). Was it because of the emotion then too?
Ogiso - Yes it was. I’m always so happy when 「Kizashi」starts playing, I get goosebumps when I step on stage. Every time I heard the first note I feel incredibly ecstatic. It’s like a switch is turn on with a *bam* inside me.
Q - Diligent and fierce but with a tender heart and prompt to cry. I think all those elements combined make your charm. After the elections, Kuwabara-san wrote the same thing on G+ didn’t she? (1)
Ogiso - She did, she did! I was really moved when I saw that. I felt like she was truly looking after me. Her seat was right behind me during the elections. When my name was called and I stood up, I looked behind me to bow and heard her telling me 「Congratulations」. At that moment my mind was blank and all I could proceed was that I had to go up on stage. But once the ceremony was over, I properly went to thank her. There she told me 「I should toss you in the air to celebrate!」and she immediately grabbed me and proceeded to do so, just long enough so we could take a picture.
Q - One way or another, Kuwabara-san seems to be the one who understands you the most. Even though if she heard me say that, she would probably deny it and protest loudly (laugh).
Hearing that “SKE=WMatsui” is frustrating.
Her feelings toward WMatsui
Q - In SKE, the group is leaded by WMatsui, followed by Takayanagi no?
Have you ever look at WMatsui as rivals?
Ogiso - Truth be told, inevitably, it’s frustrating to hear that SKE=WMatsui. There are so many great members but objectively looking, that’s what we are often reduced to. I think that’s
our greatest weakness.
Q - Do you think there is something missing in SKE?
Ogiso - I think our overall degree of familiarity among the public is insufficient.
Q - But lately you’ve released 「Magical Radio」for example.
Ogiso - 「Magical Radio」’s clout was great indeed. Even in Tokyo it has become fans favorite subjects during handshake events.
Q - Did fans came to you 「Blabla-ssu!」? (tln : “-ssu”/”っつ” refers to the way Shiorin’s character speaks in MajiRaji)
Ogiso - Exactly! 「Thank you-ssu～」for example.
Q - What do you reply to that?
Ogiso - If I say「Thank you-ssu～!」, fans look really pleased. The chivalrous spirit overflowing from my character seems to be very popular.
Q - Speaking of chivalry, Shinoda (Mariko)-san said 「Come with the intend to smash us」. Some people have declared 「I’m up to the challenge」(tln: Jurina for one did), but what about you Ogiso-san?
Ogiso - I’ve the intention to chase after and someday overcome my seniors, but without them there would be no “world” as we know it right? (tln: by “world”, Shiori probably refers to the “idols world” or possible “48 world”, feel free to interpret it as you like). If we can exist and work as we do today, it thanks to members of the 1st generation who steadily opened that path, it’s not something you can treat lightly.
Q - As expected from someone as earnest as Ogiso-san (laugh). It confirms my opinion of you being a righteous person.
Ogiso - Maybe too earnest? (laugh) But seriously speaking I think our seniors also feel some regrets to come as far as to say such things aloud. Me included, we have to find the ambition to crush them. The world isn’t such an easy-going place where we can expect to be pull forward by your seniors forever.
Q - WMatsui are often in Tokyo so their absence from Nagoya is common right? I foresee that Ogiso-san and Takayanagi-san will have an even more prominent role to play in activities happening in Nagoya in the future.
Did some kind of pride related to this status of ace awakened in you lately?
Ogiso - Honestly, I don’t like to think that I’ve gained this status “because WMatsui aren’t around”. Today KII performed by itself in Tokyo but it was one of the only times we had the occasion to do so. So for me today felt really like a new opportunity.
Q - Do you feel this kind of confidence 「Even without WMatsui it’s alright, since I’m here」growing in you?
Ogiso - I think I’m expected to play a certain role if that was to happen, so more than fear at the idea of WMatsui not being around anymore, I’m filled with a strong will to move forward and reach higher.
Q - I believe in you! Thank you for granting us this interview today.
June 9th 2012 - Tokyo
SKE48 - Matsui Rena Earnest Interview from Bubka July 2012 (out May 31st).
Sorry it took me so long to translate. I got the magazine in early July and somehow kept delaying the moment I’d start working on this interview ( ”o>_<o).
Where we learn : - What happened when she collapsed during Pinocchio Gun rehearsal ; how she feels toward Anna-sensei ; how she sees the elections and her own role among 48 group ; how much she loves SKE and how she has a bit of a twisted personality ( *°w°)…and so much more!
SKE48’s Matsui Rena, whose popularity nowadays has crossed the limits of the group headquarter, Nagoya to expand nationwide. Thanks to the multiplication of her activities especially this past year and the coverage this magazine regularly made of them, there should be no need for further introduction.
Our editorial department has been collecting inestimable information from Matsui-san’s blog in order to conduct this interview.
Q - Nice to meet you. I’ll be conducting this interview for「Bubka」.
Rena - Understood. I’m in your care.
Q - Are you familiar with our magazine?
Rena - Of course. I often spot in in town. Even once….*fufufufu*
Q - What is it? Sounds like you remembered something funny (laugh)?
Rena - At the time of 「Pareo wa Emerald」I made the cover of your magazine but there my face was simply too funny. I couldn’t help but laugh when that picture flashed in my mind.
Q - My— My apologizes.
Rena - And Yuasa-san (SKE48 theater manager) often appears too, right?
Q - Indeed, I’ve had the pleasure to interview him countless times. And we also produced this article … (pulling out the edition with dance coach Makino Anna-sensei and showing it to Matsui-san).
Rena - Anna-sensei!
Q - In this interview Anna-sensei talked about how under her strict training you collapsed when practicing for 「Pinocchio Gun」. Do you mind if I dig further in this topic?
Rena - No no… Please go on.
Q - It became quite topical when the article was published and voices became even louder when the bonus video for 「Pareo wa Emerald」, 「Rena no Kiseki」, was released. (tln : start at 9.00 for the actual scene)
Rena - You know, I love Anna-sensei.
Q - Though this scene as a stand alone conveyed a piercing sensation of nervosity.
Rena - It’s true that the day of the premiere was closing near and we had been practicing over and over again already.
Q - And then your back made a grisly noise…
Rena - Yes. After that for a certain time I couldn’t take part in the last songs of the stages. I guess that seeing this footage some fans must have thought 「Anna-sensei is a monster!」but truth is usually she is a very nice and witty person and surprisingly funny. In 「Koi wo Kataru Shijin ni Narenakute」, the move where we strike down with our fist twice is from Oshima Yoshio-san’s 「Sonnano Kankeinee」. In 「Antenna」, the way we form a single line before to scatter is inspired by Kaneda-san’s「Zukudan Zunbungun Game 」in Hannya. Anna-sensei is actually pretty facetious, taking inspiration for her choreographies in famous sketches.
Q - In 「Flying Get」too there is a gag from Akashiya Sanma-san , right?
Rena - There is, there is. The thing is, if you’re diligent she will show herself kind to you. See, I was the only one to collapse when everyone was giving its best. It’s possible that watching this scene alone you get the feeling she is an unsparing teacher, but all the members love her. She makes her moves easy to remember.
Q - Even though they look so complicated?!
Rena - Actually it’s really easy. Choreographies are complex but as soon as you start dancing they come at once.
Q - Which one is it? (laugh)
Rena - Lyrics match the moves perfectly so even without thinking too much, they come naturally. It makes dancing really pleasant, I love that.
Q - In that scene when you crawled on the floor, it didn’t look pleasant to the slightest (laugh).
Rena - Hahahaha! At the time, honestly it was rough but even though dancing is fun.
Q - Do you remember when you collapsed?
Rena - I remember. It hurt so badly I thought I was going to die. I doubted I would ever be able to stand again. But I hated the idea of not being able to be there for the opening day.
Q - Was it too much for someone with no experience in dance?
Rena - It was hard (laugh). I was constantly on the verge to break in tears around the time we started our 2nd stage. To make things worse, work for AKB48-san’s single was overlapping.
Q - You first entered AKB48’s senbatsu for「10nen Sakura」, right?
Rena - I couldn’t remember the dances and yet I had to join AKB-san. When I returned I had the sensation I was looked at with accusing eyes 「Why is she not dancing too?」(laugh). And so the day before the premiere I stayed overtime to practice with 3 other members and we kept rehearsing until very late. I remember that time vividly.
Q - I there a word or a remark Anna-sensei told you during practice which stucked in your mind?
Rena - When we were rehearsing for 「Party ga Hajimaruyo」stage, she got angry and scold us 「You may be moving but you don’t convey anything. You need to reflect on the meaning of the lyrics」. So we all formed a circle and examined the lyrics word by word「What does that part mean?」. Thus we decided all together of the expressions we should adopt in our 1st stage.
I guess every and each member has its own memory of this period. But I think that’s because even those without experience in dance went through such an unsparing coaching that SKE is as we know it today. I’m really grateful to Anna-sensei.
Q - If S4 comes someday, do you want Anna-sensei to be in charge of the choreographies?
Rena - I hope she will. Because you know, she makes dancing fun.
Future of the 48 Group
Q - About the concert that took place at Gaishi Hall on April 14th～15th, where you satisfied with how it turn out.
Rena - Very. Fans were also really enthusiast in their comments.
Q - Overall reactions have been extremely positive from what I read myself.
Rena - I thought afterward that it would be great if we could come with even more entertaining ideas. This time there was a certain distance between the principal stage and the arena, if we could decrease that distance it would be more fun for everyone I think. I want to manage a live where we make one with the audience.
Q - There was already a very strong sense of unity this time around though.
Rena - 2nd floor seats were unexpectedly close from the stage so I think it made the experience very exciting for fans there. But arena seats seemed really distant at times, I think we need to take this in consideration for the next time, if we have the opportunity to perform in this kind of venue again.
Q - Members as a whole were satisfied too, right?
Rena - Personally I was nervous to perform 「Glory Days」and「Ookami to Pride」. Especially「Ookami to Pride」, I wasn’t sure it was alright for us to perform it given our age (laugh). (tln : Shawako was 23 and Rena 20).
Q - Did you feel you had given it your best when the concert ended?
Rena - I did. It was really a lot of fun.
Q - It will without any doubt mark a new start for SKE, no?
Rena - Yes. But I also feel some pressure because for the sake of our fans “we need to override what we managed in Gaishi!” next time.
Q - Regarding AKB’s concert at Saitama Super Arena, was there an episode which left a strong impression on you?
Rena - The most memorable one has to be when I realized my dream to perform 「Heart Gata Virus」. I never thought I would someday have the chance to center this unit so I was extremely happy.
Q - What about the interlude「 Anta no koto ga suki dakara!」(tln : Because I’m infatuated with you!) ?
Rena - …. It was embarrassing (laugh).
Q - Those three days turn out to be full of surprises, but among them the announcement of (Matsui) Jurina concurrent position was the one which astonished me the most.
Rena - It has only been some weeks since then but it already feels like it happened a long long time ago. I don’t think things will change much anyway. Jurina has always been working a lot with AKB-san. I feel like her work in the theater will simply come as an addition.
Q - How did you react when Acchan (Maeda Atsuko) announced her graduation?
Rena - Well… I actually never had the occasion to properly talk with her.
Q - Even though you’ve known her for such a long time? (laugh)
Rena - It has “only” been 3 years since we work together (laugh). I was originally a fan of AKB so I can’t help but being nervous around them. Recently I’ve confessed to Takamina-san (Takahashi Minami) 「I was one of your fan. I’ve always supported you, I bought all your CDs until 「Oogoe Diamond」」, and that made her laugh. 「I see why you’re nervous around us then.」she told me.
Q - Are you still nervous?
Rena - It gets better slowly… I want to try and talk more with Maeda-san before her graduation.
Q - What outcome do you expect regarding Jurina and Milk (Watanabe Miyuki) concurrent positions?
Rena - The way I see it, each groups have their own fans, so if members of those groups enter AKB it will be the chance for fans whose oshi is concerned to meet new fellow fans. My pick is that having Jurina and Milky join AKB-san is intended to strengthen bonds between the various groups.
Q - In 「Manatsu no Sounds Good」a lot of new senbatsu members make their apparition. They’re clearly representing the next generation…
Rena - Yes. I think the point of this single is to have people realize 「Oh, there are all those new girls girls in AKB」. And shining as they are, I’m sure those girls will draw their attention. It’s not like if things were dramatically changing, rather I think it’s part of a progressive and natural evolution.
Q - What explanation can you give us on the story in 「Manatsu no Sounds Good」? I get there is a protecting group (tln : 守る側 / mamorugawa) and an attacking one (攻める側 / semerugawa), and then…
Rena - There is a setting behind this MV. Members of the “protecting group” arrive to this place to change their own past but they end up in very bad shape. Girls of the “attaching group” come to rescue us but the world we’re in is a dreadful one…
Q - When you speak of a dreadful world, you mean AKB itself right?
Rena - … To tell the truth, I didn’t thought so far. I simply thought it was a fun concept.
Q - Fun?
Rena - Mixing the present senbatsu members with a group of new senbatsu in the same MV. It sounds interesting no? There is one girl in particular I was charmed by. Thanks to this experience I’m looking forward to see the extend of her potential. But even then I didn’t particularly feel like things were about to change (laugh).
Matsui Rena’s role
Q - I see what you meant now (laugh). To continue, I’d like to hear about the role you want to play in 48 group from now on.
Rena - I haven’t really thought about it. Churi (Takayanagi Akane), Yuria (Kizaki Yuria) and Kanon (Kimoto Kanon) for example just made their entry in AKB singles so I’m concerned about if they will fit in and get used to this or not. It’s only natural for girls who join to feel uneasy at first. But it’s a shame to be impeded by your own nervosity when you’re finally granted such an opportunity…I’ve myself been through this before. So I want to bring them my support and who knows, maybe the impact they’ll left and which could have been of 0 will actually be of 100. With this in mind, I also want SKE itself, as a whole, to reach the next level. But I’m not the kind of person who can push the group so far by myself. Something tells me it’s not my role to fulfill.
Q - But, you’ve acted as SKE representative on several occasions already.
Rena - I haven’t.
Q - There was this one time where you spoke up when SKE members from the acting club didn’t had the chance to take part in auditions for a play, and so did you when you witnessed other girls being hurt during handshake events. It looks to me as if you had conscience of the role you’re meant to play.
Rena - Rather than acting according to a role, if nobody say anything when girls are hurt during handshake events, things won’t change, right? Even sometimes fans without intending to have words which can hurt members, so the point is worth raising. Regarding the auditions, all the girls from the drama club except for SKE’s ones had pass them so I grew uneasy wondering「What about us?」. But after investigation it turn out SKE was planned to pass the audition somewhere in between the rehearsal for the concert.
Q - So it’s not like you told the members 「I’ll bring that topic up」?
Rena - No. I don’t really do this kind of things. I speak up it’s simply because I feel like it’s the right thing to do.
Q - You’re not afraid of the consequences?
Rena - I don’t give a flying fig about being attacked. I believe that conveying what you need too is more important, and then if you were wrong obediently apologizing afterward is the best thing to do.
Q - What about when you wrote in your blog 「Could you write down in 2000 characters why you want to marry me? 」? (laugh)
Rena - That was a joke (laugh).
Q - It didn’t looked like a joke (laugh).
Rena - Somehow, when I try to make a joke it always ends up being taken seriously. I guess I’m inept at putting them into words.
Q - I remember it startled me「She is serious about it!?」.
Rena - I hear that a lot :「Rena launched another serious topic」. It’s doesn’t mean that I’m angry or anything. But I like to see how everyone reacts, wondering if some people will reply seriously.
Q - Was there people who answered in 2000 characters this time?
Rena - Seems like nobody did. Actually when I wrote that I was inspired by those widespread fantasist inquiries 「Write in XX words why you think that —-」.
Q - I think I understand where you were coming from now, but back then it did take me off guard.
Rena - *fufufufu* I hope you’ll forgive me (laugh).
Resolve toward the general elections
Q - General elections will take place in a few days. Can you tell us about your current state of mind?
Rena - In the end, elections are the occasion for all the fans to evaluate and reward our work for the past year. Lately I’ve been thinking the ranking we’re bestowed is the embodiment of fans’ feelings toward us. So no matter the outcome we should be prepared to properly receive and welcome this result as we stand on the stage because it would be very rude of us not to. And that’s also why I don’t really mind the position I’ll be granted.
Q - Going deeper into the subject…
Rena - This year I’ve been told on many occasions 「Let’s aim higher!」, but truth is it doesn’t strike me as an evidence. I’ve had the chance to release my own photobook a few months ago, I’d be happy if thanks to it people knowing about me or having some interest for me had increased, even slightly. With that in mind, I’m willing to enjoy the elections as much as possible.
Q - Many people have high expectations in your regard, even I can feel it. In handshake events too, lately your popularity has been tremendous.
Rena - From the bottom of my heart, I’m grateful to all the people who always come to meet me at handshake events. But that’s not the only thing, stage performances are also very important for me. There must be a lot of fans who give us their support because we work in the theater. Even if I’m said to have good interactions during handshake events, it’s not like I was doing anything special for that. I greet fans like I do because I’m grateful they came to see me. Deep inside me I want to hear 「I’m glad I came today」from fans I got to met.
Q - Is there anything in particular you try to keep in mind or aim to during handshake events?
Rena - I always have for goal to make handshake events the most enjoyable time possible. I do my best to remember fans. I get to meet with so many people in one day that there are obviously things that end up buried in my memory but if someone tells me 「The other day I talked about this and that with Rena-chan」it definitely comes back to me. My own experience of those events are probably quite different from what everyone imagine it to be (laugh).
Q - You’re said to have a firm grip.
Rena - I’ve been taught by my parents that an handshake should be done with strength, so from start that’s how I did it. When I see politicians on TV, they shake hands firmly too. Maybe that’s the secret to make a strong impact on someone (laugh).
Q - Have you thought about how gaining if only a single rank in the elections would make a good publicity for SKE?
Rena - Yes. If I join AKB-san’s senbatsu, I hope it will further enhanced SKE’s appeal.
Q - Listening to you, the “love for SKE” you hold is striking.
Rena - Is it really perceptible? I’m sorry if I make things difficult again by saying that but SKE is SKE. And I’m also myself. If I stand alone, putting aside the me who is part of SKE then I wonder, how do people around perceive me? (tln : I wracked my brain for several minutes trying to get Rena’s point and finally got it : she wonders, but can’t expressly phrase it, how fans see her when she works with AKB even though she is a SKE member. Obviously a bit worried of a possible negative reception by some people. She doesn’t want to be seen as a “traitor” but this kind of concern more than anything else, shows how she considered AKB relatively to SKE : a competitor. Rena, dear, I like you a bit more with every word from you I read.)
Q - I believe they had the opportunity to witness your strong feelings toward SKE on numerous occasions.
Rena - Thank you. I can’t really picture it myself. But I truly love SKE.
Q - If I had to pick one I’d say you seem to be more on the responsible and well-behaving side but sometime you appear more impertinent. Has it always been the case?
Rena - As far as I can remember, yes. Even if I prefer when that doesn’t surface. Maybe that’s because I don’t argue and I’m the kind of person who keeps everything for herself. But as a result there are times everything goes out at once with a crash.
Q - In my opinion this aspect of your personality is also part of your charm.
Rena - There are times when I can’t stop my words. I’m not one to complain or impose my views, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are things I want to say. When I was a kid I tended to trip a lot. And so my friends kept mocking me 「You really can’t stand on your feet」but came a day when I run out of patience and snapped at them 「Why do you have to say that?!」, while crying out loud. That’s the kind of troublesome girl I was (laugh). And even though I’m an adult now, as you’d figure I’m not quite there yet (laugh).
Q - An episode only Rena-san could come up with. Allow me to say it again, but you’re really an interesting person (laugh).
Rena - I’m not interesting to the slightest!
Q - I will refrain from making prognostics for this year general elections, but I’m simply going to say I expect a very positive outcome.
Rena - When someone put too much faith in me I’m getting unable to say anything. I prefer not being minded at all, pure and simple. There is no way I could exceed expectations people have for me. And I prefer when people around me are satisfied or even impressed by what I manage to achieve, times when I hear 「Woua, Matsui Rena is really something」.
Q - Given the circumstances, can’t you let it pass just for once?
Rena - When I start thinking of what I should say now, I‘m at a loss for words. But please don’t have immoderate hopes in my regard (laugh).
Q - Well then, I’ll look forward for the results without saying out loud I actually have high expectations for you (laugh). Thank you very much for your time today!
Manatsu x Matsurina interview regarding KII Leader - Takayanagi Akane -, from Bubka, Nov. 2012. (out Sept. 29th)
Because behind one of the most derping member out there hides a great leader~
- Our Takayanagi Akane -
Who really lies behind “Nagoya’s most electric girl”?
Team KII Mukaida Manatsu x Matsumoto Rina
Before the 「fiery」Takayanagi
Q - This month the serie 「Our xxx」, where companions of a certain member expose her true nature and qualities, will be about Team KII’s leader Takayanagi Akane and presented by Mukaida Manatsu-san and Matsumoto Rina-san! Before cutting into the thick of the subject, can you tell us about your relation?
Matsumoto - Normal. Right?
Mukaida - Hmm.
Q - Normal (laugh)?
Mukaida - Ah, meaning we get along normally!
Q - What a relief to hear that (laugh). Well then, the two of you who get along normally have enter SKE48 as 2nd generation members like Takayanagi-san right? Do you remember your first impression when you met her?
Mukaida - She reminded me of a bird (laugh). Her neck sticked forward.
Matsumura - Absolutely! Our dance teacher often told her that too.
Mukaida - At the time we didn’t know each other well yet but while we were walking I remember noticing her 「Oh, there is this particular girl in our group」. Churi (Takyanagi) really looked like some kind of bird to me. Or a chick rather maybe? That was my first impression of her.
Q - Well, the person in question has always proclaimed「I love bird」and still do so today. What was the image you got of her at first Matsumoto-san?
Matsumoto - The moment I first saw Akane-chan she seemed like someone peppy (laugh). And she has a type of voice that sounds full of life too, you know.
Q - Indeed (laugh).
Matsumoto - During her self-introduction she kept repeating 「I love birds!」. So for me she was 「the jumpy girl who loves birds」. … Does that sound shallow?
Q - Not particularly, the fact that she didn’t make such a strong impression on you two at first is also a precious information! It shows how much things have changed for her to become the fiery leader she is today.
Mukaida - I think things were indeed different at first. When we debuted, she didn’t stand out as a leader at all.
Matsumoto - Miepi (Satou Mieko) was the one who put us together at first. She was a 1st generation member and the oldest of the group. But there was this time where Akane-chan did the impossible to find matching shirts for all of us and she even distributed matching chopsticks to everyone.
Mukaida - Ah! She did that! (laugh) What was she thinking back then?
Q - She was probably trying to convey the idea of 「Let’s all work hand in hand」, no? (tln : 皆で同じ釜の飯を食うぞ lit : Let’s all eat from the same pot. Expression meaning “work together” / “getting along while we share the same space”.)
Matsumoto - Looking back, it was typical of Akane-chan. And those chopsticks were rather cute (laugh).
Mukaida - Her sense of camaraderie is really strong. If I remember right, this happened when we were performing「Tetsuna」stage no?
Q - The second general elections took place when you were performing this「Testuna」if my informations are accurate. And right before the ceremony, Takayanagi-san was officially appointed captain of KII.
Mukaida - When we were told the leader had been decided, I honestly didn’t thought about Churi. I was sure it would be Miepi. Everybody was surprised, Churi herself was astonished. But with this announcement she started waking up as a true leader.
Q - Four months after the elections 「Tetsuna」stage ended and KII entered a rough period. At the time Takayanagi-san would often post on her blog messages called 「KII’s Union」(tln : “KIIの団結/ KII no danketsu” in the text), which left a strong impression on fans. In facts, did members of KII have the opportunity to gather of the sort?
Matsumoto - Actually, not that much…
Mukaida - We were all dealing with our solo works, so we could never be all present. But maybe that’s exactly why she would wrote those entries. Because no matter where they are members can read each others blogs.
Q - Oh, I see. It means than behind what was written toward fans, there was a message for the members?
Matsumoto - You see, Akane-chan is someone who will never say spontaneously when things are hard on her. But I get it when I see she isn’t going well like usual. Though I’m hardly one to listen to others worries so…
Q - Which means you know what she is in her mind through her blog? (laugh)
Mukaida - When she is overwhelmed by the weight of her responsibilities, she suddenly writes very long posts.
Q - Does it surprise you when this happen?
Mukaida - It does. When I read this kind of entries on my phone, it looks like the scrolling down never ends (laugh). I’m like「Oi, today Churi’s entry is one of those long ones」.
Matsumoto - Manatsu, you’re funny! (roar of laughter) But truth is Akane-chan is one of those people who can properly convey their feelings through words so I think that’s incredible. I could never write like she does.
Mukaida - And with her writing this much, even if we don’t have much time to meet each others, we know what she has in mind regarding the team or how she values each members. That’s why I read her blog. Even if her entries are long (laugh).
Behind the stage of the “public plea”
Q - All those feelings toward KII Takayanagi-san had amassed on and on finally exploded when she addressed Akimoto-san directly in a public plea during the 3rd general elections. To sum things up , since 「Tetsuna」stage had ended, KII had been left without any stage to perform. I heard that then KII members would appear in research students stages, thanks to Takayanagi-san who herself requested it :「Please let KII members take part in KKS stages!」.
Mukaida - Ehhh?! She did that?!
Q - Takayanagi-san confides it to me when I collected data with her.
Matsumoto - Woua, so that’s what happened… I had no idea. I myself was given the opportunity to appear in a KKS stage once… That was thanks to her then.
Mukaida - At that time, we only had our individual jobs coming one at a time and we had no idea when we would be given a new stage, I was really anxious. I couldn’t see any end to end an no hope to hang to, I even wondered if we would still be needed if things stayed as such for any longer.
Q - I think it’s understandable given how this period last for a long time. But I remember being astonished by KII revival live, it was staggering.
Mukaida - Since It had been postponed for so long and and we had no stage at all, we were all really glad to be able to perform. Even if it wasn’t an original stage we were happy just to be able to stand on stage.
Matsumoto - Team E had a stage when we didn’t, I was incredibly scared fans would direct their attention to them instead. So at that time I often wrote on my blog 「I’m worried」(laugh). Everybody like what is new after all.
Q - Do you keep an eye on this kind of things?
Matsumoto - Well, a little bit (laugh).
Mukaida - I do…
Q - Oh, I see Manatsu-san worries about this too (laugh). During handshake events for example how do you react if you see someone who was always standing in your line going to stand in another one?
Mukaida - I think「Ahー, he/she went over there…」 .
Q - In the end, those kind of things really matters for members I see. Back to our topic and revival stages, 「Testuna」in particular was totally different from the one I had seen before, it was incredible in itself.
Matsumoto - Everybody was fired up but Akane-chan was certainly the most enthusiastic and zealous of us.
Mukaida - KII’s 「Tetsuna」was always compared with S’s one. We were always thinking of how to reach the level of S performances, we tried over and over again, borrowing from them and you could feel it in our stage. But at the time of the revival, Churi told us 「We will show them KII’s 「Tetsuna」!」. Being told that, I think everyone’s state of mind changed.
Matsumoto - She was fiery. Inhabited by an ardor which would never fade (tln : 年中無休 / nenjumukyuu / open every day of the year , that’s the expression Matsurina uses to describe Churi’s enthusiasm/zeal/ardor toward KII, which also happens to be Jurina favorite expression. She once explained she wanted SKE to be “open and accessible to the fans all days of the year”.)
Mukaida - There is also the fact that she is enthusiast by nature. But when it comes to the team, she is the kind of girl whose enthusiasm is demultiplicated. And then the following year during the general elections her ardor had reached its peak.
Q - Had members of KII foreseen this public plea to Akimoto-sensei?
Mukaida - She had said 「If I can stand on stage, I think I’ll ask for the team to be given the right to perform again」, but I took it as a joke. There were girls cheering her up 「Say it! Say it!」, but I didn’t seriously believe that she would do it. When she spoke those words on stage I was
astonished 「Ahー! She said it!」.
Matsumoto - Speak of a shock! Everybody was like「What? What is going on?!」. But when I realized Churi had said it for all the members’ sake, I started crying.
Mukaida - Everyone cried on the spot, right? But once the ceremony was over Churi told us 「I said it! Ahahahahah!」like if it wasn’t anything big (laugh).
Sense of peculiarity
Q - Takayanagi-san’s image of being a fiery leader is strong but talking with you two right now, it sounds as if you perceived her differently. Am I mistaking?
Mukaida - From our standpoint, she is probably more of a waggish character (laugh). It’s especially noticeable when Airin (Furukawa Airi) is around.
Matsumoto - How to put it… It’s weird. She is really unique!
Mukaida - She is the only one of her species I’ve met so far in my life. When she gets excited she started making weird movements. Weird movements plus weird face plus weird way of laughing (laugh).
Matsumoto - That’s called spasmodic laughter right?
Mukaida - Exactly! It’s like she couldn’t breathe anymore, really an incredible way of laughing.
Matsumoto - It looks painful (laugh). If you keep watching her, you get how much of a weirdo Akane-chan is.
Mukaida - The easiest way to understand it would be to put secret camera in KII’s dressing room (laugh)
Q - Something like 「Takayanagi Akane in her natural habitat」, right? (laugh) I hope the idea makes its way to the next single bonus!
Matsumoto - That would be good!
Mukaida - Let’s proceed with it!
Q - Shame that’s only something we decided between us and won’t become reality (laugh). I’d like now to ask you about something a bit more private. Matsumoto-san, in a certain enquete you’ve been crowned 「Member with the worst sense of fashion」. To prevent to let you feel down, did leader Takayanagi-san asked you to go shopping with her or maybe did she gave you some clothes?
Matsumoto - She has already invite me to go shopping with her but our schedule didn’t met and so I ended up not going. I never received clothes from Akane-chan either. However Moko-chan (Kato Tomoko) who always dresses elegantly gave me clothes she didn’t need yesterday, again. I wonder if my sense of fashion is that off?
Mukaida - As long as it’s lesson wear and not city clothes it’s alright~ (laugh). You know how in the practice area everyone pick random lesson clothes left there and wear them. I’ve never thought your clothes for going outside were lame.
Q - Oh, I see. Is there another sort of leader, like a fashion leader in KII?
Matsumoto - Mikitei (Yakata Miki) and (Ishida) Anna. Especially Anna, she is incredible, lately as her senior I’ve been wondering 「But who is that girl really?!」(laugh).
Mukaida - Nowadays she dares expose more skin, her style is like one of a sexy onee-san. Leader Churi’s clothes in the other end are peculiar.
Q - Peculiar?
Matsumoto - You could call that pop maybe. Is there a term for it?
Mukaida - I think it qualifies as pop.
Matsumoto - Not exactly ample and flapping. Nor cool. A style overflowing with individualism.
Mukaida - There is a characteristic feel to it isn’t it? We didn’t have the occasion to go shopping together but if we were to go I’m pretty sure our type of clothes would be different. But we often went eating together. She likes ramen and monjayaki.
Q - That’s consistent with her image (laugh).
Mukaida - Everything Churi does turn out to be fun. Monjayaki for example, she goes “KaKaKaKa!” to make them. I don’t have to move, I just need to seat there and that’s enough (laugh).
Q - That too is consistent with her image (laugh). What about you Matsumoto-san, you don’t join them?
Mukaida - Even when she is invited, she never comes!
Matsumoto - That’s because I can’t go~ (laugh). Oh, but long ago I went with Manatsu and Akane-chan to an onsen not too far.
Mukaida - Oh, we did!
Matsumoto - There the three of us entered the stone sauna. Those places are quite dark you know. All the time I was talking to Akane-chan, but it turn out that where I thought she was siting, there was actually an older man.
Q - You mistaken Takayanagi-san with a middle age man (laugh)?!
Mukaida - But that’s the only time we went out the three of us together. I’ve been to karaoke with Churi and Airin once, but Churi kept headbanging (?) all along. I think that’s how you call it, when you keep swinging your head violently, right?
Matsumoto - She would totally do that!
Q - Sounds like her indeed (laugh). By the way Manatsu-san, what kind of song do you sing?
Mukaida - I sang mostly ballads. I was feeling sorry for bringing the tension down when the two others were so high (laugh).
Matsumoto - Today’s Manatsu is really fun!
Q - I could already collect a lot of informations from you two regarding Takayanagi-san, in particular her relation with Manatsu-san sounds quite unique and amusing (laugh). Truth is I had the pleasure to interview SKE theater manager Yuasa-san some time ago and he told me then「Takayanagi relies a lot on Manatsu」.
Mukaida - You’re joking?!
Q - I don’t tell lies (laugh).
Matsumoto - There are a lot of combis in AKB group but among them I honestly think 「ManaChuri」is the most suitable one.
Mukaida - Ehhー?!
Matsumoto - Somehow, it strikes home. As far as I’m concerned of course. From the way you interact it’s like you two had been friends since your tender age.
Q - Manatsu-san too, would you say you feel at ease when you’re with Takayanagi-san?
Mukaida - Hm, I don’t have to be on my guards so even when we share the same hotel room we barely talk to each other. We are in this comfortable atmosphere where we don’t need to talk to understand each other.
Matsumoto - Akane-chan is someone easily excited when Manatsu is more composed, so I think they make a perfect match.
Mukaida - I often look at her thinking「Ah, she is getting fired up.」(laugh). But you see, I can’t follow her trend or things would go out of hand.
Q - Composed Manatsu-san is composed (laugh).
Mukaida - But spending a long time looking at Churi, I came to understand that she is always thinking about KII. If any member has worries, she will immediately sense it.
Matsumoto - That’s incredible isn’t it? When I feel down, even though I don’t say anything she sends me messages 「Matsurina, are you ok?」.
Mukaida - It’s like she had an extra-human sense.
Matsumoto - That’s because she is a bird (laugh).
Q- Now that’s a compelling explanation (laugh). Thank you very much for giving me some of your time today! Is there something you would like to say to Takayanagi-san to wrap up this interview?
Mukaida - Churi herself confessed she had always KII in mind, but I wish she would sometimes think about herself too. Her sense of responsibility will probably grow even stronger from now on, but I want her to rely more on people around her. I also hope she would show her joking side to fans more, that she gradually exposes a new facet of her personality to the audience and who know, it could lead to unveil something new to the eyes of everyone.
Matsumoto - I’m myself more concerned about her physical well-being and I want her to take care of herself. Don’t rely only on your trainer but on me too. Massages are my forte! I take upon me to ease your stiffness!
Q - Heartening (laugh). I’m positive Takayanagi-san too will be happy to hear that! Actually, she doesn’t know about this article yet.
Mukaida - Eh?! Really?! It will be embarrassing for us when she reads it…
Matsumoto - But there are good chances Akane-chan gets excited too then (laugh).
(Nagoya, August 30th)
The article is a bit different from the usual interviews since here the point if mainly for people to discover Mt Takao (very easy to reach from Tokyo city and still part of Tokyo district. If you want to spot an artist, especially catch him/her on a date, forget TokyoTo & SkyTree, that’s the spot!). Thought it was fairly cute to imagine WMatsui going hiking so I hope you’ll enjoy it like I did~
Let’s go outdoor all “cute and cool”.
Love Mt. Takao. SKE48 Matsui Rena&Jurina first ascension of Mt. Takao!
Enhanced charm and vitality with “Mountain Girls” outfits.
The peppy with boyish vibes Jurina-san and the composed “high-class lady”-like Rena-san. Even though they’re「SKE48」’s central figures and lead the group together as such, they give off signs of two perfectly opposed personalities.
Mount Takao one of the first days of autumn, despite the early rising both appear with a smile brighter than the sun itself. They’ve trade their usual costumes to outdoor clothes and transformed into “mountain girls”.
Jurina - The red hat and check jacket are today’s clothing fashion point. Even for climbing the “american casual” style is good, isn’t it?
Rena - I tend to wear plain clothes but since we go outdoor I picked a printed long sleeves t-shirt and leggings with dots. Everything is colorful, I took quite some risks today (laugh).
Surrounded by the natural colors of the scenery around them, their vivid outfits are like shining. Cute ♥.
Q - Both of you are from Aichi-ken and your activities are based in Nagoya too. Could it be your first time coming to Takao?
Rena - It’s actually my 3rd time coming here. My mother likes “power spots” so I came with her. But I never climbed the mountain. I always stopped to eat soba on the way to the shrine and then waited, passing the time looking at jinzous. So today will actually be a first.
Jurina - Eh-? Pity you never climbed! Myself, I’ve got the feeling I came here a long time ago but… roughly it’s my first time here!!
Rena - “Roughly”?! (laugh)
Thrilling recollections of their climbing experiences in elementary school
Here we have Jurina-san who declares openly 「I love outdoor!」and Rena-san who is known for being a complete indoor person.
Jurina - We often had excursions in the mountain with my school. Once we were all climbing a long path of steep stairs when suddenly the girl in front of me tripped and leant toward me. I had no space behind me because everyone was following so close and I realized that if I felt too we would end up like dominos! So I prevent the girl in front of me to fall on us by forcibly pushing her forward. It was a close call. That’s what marked me the most from those expeditions.
Rena - It was “The tale of Jurina’s alpine heroic deed”!
Jurina - What’s your memory?
Rena - Me too it was when I was in elementary. We went on a field trip to observe the vegetation and it was a lot of fun~ It was a small mountain in our area but I already loved high places at the time. Right now I want to try Mt. Fuji ♪.
Jurina - You’re the indoor type and yet you want to climb Japan highest summit?
Rena - …. Shame there is no cable like here.
Time for us to leave there this inexhaustibly fun chat and head to the complete coverage of WMatsui’s “first ascension”.
WMatsui’s happy first ascension - Complete coverage.
Double dose of excitement and discovery♪
Track n°1, easy route to the summit!
The departure point for this expedition was Takao’s lift station at the base of the mountain, the longest one in all Japan with its 872 meters. As they gained altitude and the panorama unveiled itself around them, Jurina-san showed signs of tension while Rena-san keept a perfect composure.
Jurina - Waaaー That’s scary~
Rena - It feels good~♪
After 12 minutes spent in the air they arrived mid-way to the top and so started the ascension by foot. But as soon as they started walking, a statue of bronze came to view!
Rena - Eh?… It doesn’t remind you of Sugiyama-san from “Wagaya”?
Jurina - (transforming her voice) 「Like I’m letting you say thatー！」(famous line from Sugiyama often heard in the comic trio WaGaYa) (tln : he was also there when “that” happened *ahahah*)
They kept progressing while imitating and discussing about the famous comic trio when suddenly, a sweet smell reached them… Here they decided to make a stopover at the 「Soba house Kasumi」.
Jurina - They sale dango! I want so～me!
Shopkeeper - Those are 「3 fortunes dango」. From the top they are for “great fortune” (daifuku), “happiness” (koufuku) and can you guess the 3rd one?
Jurina - I know! Must be “satiety”～ (manpuku)
Shopkeeper - (laugh) Too bad, it’s “prosperity” (yuufuku).
Pass the shop is Kasumidai viewpoint. After observing the city and it’s high building in the horizon for a while, the two started walking again. After a short moment, the「Juuichichoume Chaya」came to view, with souvenirs displayed outside.
Rena - What is that thing? It’s so cute!
Her attention had been caught by the “tengu shobon” straps. Hearing their excited voices, the lady holding the stand offered them both one strap ♪.
Next they passed by the monkey garden, the octopus cedar, to finally reach Joshin gate. From here starts Mt. Takao’s Yakuouin temple ground. Lowering their heads and bowing, both passed through the gate.
Rena - It makes you feel somehow tense to pass through this gate and bowed to it, no?
Coming to sight with a small shrine dedicated to protect walkers and climbers, they prayed to achieve safely their ascension. Path n°1 continues from here with steep stairs leading to the summit. Both started walking up the path with enthusiasm.
Rena & Jurina - We prayed to the shrine, it will be alright.
Reaching the top, both seemed to be in wonder at the scenery offered by the panorama unveiling before their eyes. They washed away a bit of their tiredness by picking up anmitsu and ramune at 「Yamabiko Teahouse 」, regaining their peps back in the process. As regrettable as it was, time had come to go down again. They walked down the path they had previously used, but halfway, they boarded the cable car. The way the cable goes down the steep slope gives the sensation of being in a roller-coaster.
Rena - My heart throbs in excitement!
Jurina - Zzzzz (pretending to sleep?!)
Safely arrived at the foot of the mountain, they finally reach the goal of this journey 「Mt. Takao’s Takahashi restaurant」to savor tororo soba.
Rena - It’s hard to conceive such greenery and nature in Tokyo, I feel refreshed!
Jurina - I had fun, it was like going on a date with Rena ♪
As both were holding hands all along, it seems that their bond deepened again through this journey.
Kanon, Mikity and Nishishi interview by Shuukan-SPA! (online October 5th)
Part of the magazine serie focusing on AKB’s Future Girls, in this interview the 3 FG from SKE talk about their experience during janken tournament and the goal they want to reach next year in the (not yet decided on) general elections.
note : Because of Show Fight I can’t help but read “FG” as “Fighting Girls” instead of “Future Girls” ‘orz
note 2 : Non and Nishishi speech about SKE supplanting AKB in General Elections reminds me of Yuasa’s words. They sure like to dream big and I’d like to have their faith but realistically speaking that won’t happen… unless AKS put voting tickets in sister groups CDs too ( #°^°)
SKE48’s Future Girls talk about their objective for next year
Q - This time Kanon-chan entered janken senbatsu. Your participation was settled after a round against a fellow SKE member, how did that make you feel?
Kimoto - It was a totally different feeling than during preliminaries which were between SKE, I was perplexed at the idea of facing Yumana (Takaga Yumana) who also happens to be in Team E. I wondered if it was ok for me to win. But easing up on her would have certainly result in a poor sight for people who had come to see us, so I made my mind : “The winner will be SKE representative”, “A victory is a victory” and it’s with a fighting spirit that I went to grab that chance.
Q - Nishishi too this time around you entered the final selection, how was it?
Nakanishi - Expeditious (laugh). It was sweet to think of the possibility to grab the title of ｃenter. But I couldn’t even pass first round… Even then, it was really fun. Last year and the year before I wasn’t in Budokan to watch the tournament so I was glad to be there this time to cheer on my friends.
Q - You were smiling through the whole game, was there a particular reason behind it?
Nakanishi - Rather than simply smiling, I had in mind when I came there to enjoy the event to the fullest. During the preliminaries, I won while having a good time the experience. I thought that doing the same during the final selection would grant me the victory but in the end, I didn’t win a single match.
Q - Mikity, you didn’t made it to the final selection of the tournament but can you tell us about how it felt to be there to cheer on your comrades?
Yakata - It was the first time I could be there in Budokan for the tournament, we were seating with the other sister groups members but every time someone from SKE was in the arena, I stood up and cheered for her. But as one would expect, I regretted to lose in the preliminaries. But I’m really happy that from SKE Kanon and Kasusu (Ueno Kasumi), who is the 3rd generation member like me, entered senbatsu. Fellow 3rd generation Ogi-chan (Ogiso Shiori) and Yuria (Kizaki Yuria) were sitting close by and the moment Kasusu won the 3 of us cried of joy. I hope her airy yet gentle personality shine vividly in the selection.
Q - As UG, Kanon-chan was opposed to Harukyan (Ishida Haruka) in the 1st round. It was like witnessing your showdown in the FG unit song 「Show fight!」for real.
Kimoto - In the 1st tournament Harukyan-san run-up for the title so I pictured her as someone very strong at janken. I was actually very scared of losing but I couldn’t let my sempais see me going up against her cold feet and I had to give my best as SKE representative, so I faced her with all I had.
Nakanishi - After the match Harukyan joined me to support the remaining girls, but when Kanon won I was super happy.
Q - Nishishi, what did you think of the battle outfit of fellow FG as well as fellow rural member*, Shiichan. (tln : 地方組/jikata kumi : literally “the group of those from the countryside/rural area”)
Nakanishi - How should I explain it… It’s something I discussed with Rieko (Kitahara Rie) and Sashihara (Sashihara Rino), but all the rural members went down with a single deathblow. When I asked Shiichan 「What are you wearing for the tournament?」she told me 「Something rather banal」. So when I saw her appear in this costume, I couldn’t help but laugh out of surprise.
Yakata - The show she made after losing was something to witness too.
Kimoto - Like if she was throwing a tantrum, right?
Nakanishi - She is a real entertainer, that Shiichan.
Q - And this time FG Nitou Moeno ended 2nd of the tournament.
Nakanishi - She did. Isn’t it incredible? I’m really happy for her.
Mikity - She had an incredible ardor to fight and snatch the victory, I could feel it when I watched her retreating figure. I was happy to see FGs enter the selection and what’s more in such good position.
Q - It might still be early to be concerned about the topic, but I’d like to inquire about your objective for next year general elections if they take place.
Kimoto - I haven’t think about it yet.
Nakanishi - There is a chance that there won’t be any elections next year (laugh). Who knows what will happen…
Yakata - If elections take place then just like in the FG’s song 「Show fight!」, I think there is but only one option for us and it’s to aim higher. Balrog style*. (tln : 完全燃焼 / kanzen nenshou / perfect combustion. Expression used in Show fight! notably and which means “giving everything you have / going all out”. Haven’t found a satisfying English counterpart yet…)
Kimoto - Thanks to this janken tournament, it will be my 2nd time entering AKB’s senbatsu. Even if joining senbatsu itself is our goal, I think there is something more important and that’s to answer expectations of those who support you. I want to believe in the fans and accept the outcome no matter what it will be.
Nakanishi - I really didn’t give it much thought yet. Simply, I don’t want fans to get excessively emotionally invested and to be obsessive about the ranking. However, I wish more members will rank in.
Kimoto - So that there are more SKE members than AKB ones.
Nakanishi - I say we should take the majority. Let’s aim at becoming the new ruling party (laugh).
Q - Will we soon see the retainer supplanting its lord? I have faith SKE will make even greater strides next year and reach new and unexpected heights.
2D Enthusiasts Association - Hata Sawako, Furukawa Airi and Yakata Miki interview from Bubka July 2012 (released May 31th)
Where Airi gently teases Shawako. Where we wonder why Rena hasn’t officially been appointed mascot of the club yet. Where Shawako has too much FEELINGS. And where upper-arms are important business.
These wise sayings that helped them stand firm against adversity
Q - Congratulations for the release of「After lessons, 2D Enthusiasts Association」!
Hata Sawako - After a long wait it has been released!!
Furukawa Airi - Pfiouu— Finally it’s out!
Yakata Miki - Oh joy!
Q - Did you read it entirely already?
Furukawa - And thoroughly at it! I recommend the photo with Shawako eating a soft-cream, she was really cute!
Yakata - Also her 「Paradise Kiss」cosplay was gorgeous!
Furukawa - It screams “Splendor”, doesn’t it?!
Hata - The hairdo for this picture is incredible you know. But when I took off the hair ornaments it looked really strange…
Furukawa - Don’t say things like “strange”!! (laugh) And the pictures which were taken when we were in that classroom while chatting together and some of us doze off look very natural!
Hata - At some point everybody fell asleep.
Furukawa - Shawako too.
Yakata - And thus, while we were all sound asleep a certain Airin grabbed the opportunity and took pictures of everyone’s sleeping faces…
Furukawa - Of course I’ve taken all necessary precautions to ensure the preservation of those shots!
Hata - There is also the 「Members Register」, I love the expression of everyone there.
Furukawa - Great expression Yakata! This one is the best! And then…Shawako’s meh face!!
Hata - The theme is 「Tense face of a fan waiting behind the theater for Takarazuka performers to exit」.
Q - How come I suddenly have the feeling that everybody got carried away and forgot about me?… I assume everyone in the 2D enthusiasts association is versed in anime and manga but does it go to the point, for example, that you start using quotes from your favorite works when you face a hard time in SKE48?
Furukawa - When it comes to it, definitely 「Slam Dunk」.
Yakata - Anzai-sensei, right?
Furukawa - 「The you standing here now is way better than back then」or「You too form a strong team!」for example…
Yakata - Also 「If you give up now, the game ends here!」.
Hata - Sometimes I remember Hayanami Rei’s line from 「Neon Genesis Evangelion」: 「Even if I die there are replacements 」. In my case, applied to SKE48 it becomes “there are other persons who can take over me”.But that’s exactly because there are potential replacements that when I have to do something I should do it properly, in my own way. That’s the awareness it confers to me.
Furukawa - Ohohー. As expected of the president of the 2D enthusiasts association!
Yakata - For me it’s 「Stand up and walk, keep going forward. You have those splendid legs, don’t you?」from「Fullmetal Alchemist」. I’ve even been told this by a fan during handshake events 「Stand up and walk, keep going forward. Yakata has those splendid legs, doesn’t she?」.
Furukawa - In only a few seconds?!
Yakata - Yes! He/She had only time to say that before being pushed to leave (laugh).
Hata - Witty words!
Rena’s passionate declaration & Sawako’s affliction
Q - Now that I think about it, Matsui Rena-san is on cover of this volume and also features in a long interview, is there something that Rena-san, vice-president of the 2D enthusiasts association, ever did that made you think she was trying to put some distance between herself and her image of 2D otaku?
Furukawa - Put a distance? There isn’t a single thing she did in that sense coming to mind, but…
Hata - …But if we talk about putting people around her in awe, then examples don’t lack. You know, Rena sempai will never ask for a day off no matter the circumstances. I’m like this too so I figure she is someone who prefers being busy. But one day, this same Rena-sempai, pointed at a certain day on the calendar and inquired her manager「Could it be possible for me to rest that day?」. Hearing this I thought she might be planning to travel but「I’d like go see the Macross exposition」is what she added finally…
Furukawa - Ah, that means she wanted to see both expositions in Tokyo and Nagoya. Indeed, I understand why you’d want to see both…
Yakata - … But the content is the same for both expositions, no?
Furukawa - Of course it is! But I understand her feeling. Her enthusiasm for「AKB0048」too is incredible! Some time ago when the demo video for the anime was made public, Rena-san watched it and protested「In the dance scenes, I want every character to have more individuality in their movements. If the characters don’t have their own way to move their hands and other individual traits, it won’t cross over Im@s (Idol@Master) quality!」… And what’s more she wrote about her general impression about the video on her own Google+. Of course, she perfectly knew it was still a demo-video. But seeing how she displayed her passion by expressing her will to see the quality of the anime being the best possible since the early stage, was really cool.
Yakata - Ultimately in the final product each and every character has distinctive movements, right?
Hata - It came to the point that I was told by director Kawamori (Shouji) 「I’m worried about making movements fluid enough to be approved by Rena-san」 (laugh).
Furukawa&Yakata - Rena-san’s passionate declarations’ power is really something!
Q - I’d like to address Hata-san regarding this 「AKB0048」anime given she participates in the project as a seiyuu, making her apparition in episode 02. Watching the series myself and in all honesty, I thought your acting was rather stiff…
Hata - I received the same criticisms from fans… Not to have any inflections… Some people implying I should give up on wanting to be a seiyuu… But I received those instructions from director Kawamori 「You’re playing a character who lacks feelings, so I want you to say your lines without emotions」. He added 「She is a girl who speaks flatly」…There are indeed… some difficulties in that role… To tell the truth I’m not sure myself about what I should do. If I put too much heart in voicing her I’m told「She needs to be more monotone!」and we need to redo the scene…..
(With a tearful voice) And fans don’t understand the reason behind my character sounding so lifeless……I understand the necessity there is for me to study more…… but…… but right now I’m playing a character with no feeling so it has to be like this.
(Now crying for good, worried Furukawa and Yakata watching over her) But as the story develops, I think this will change… Please have faith in me a bit longer!
Q - It was thoughtless of my part to make such a judgement after a single episode! Please accept my deepest apologies! I shall keep watching and encourage you from now on!
Hata - I’m very sorry for letting things turn like this (wiping her tears).
Their expectations for the general elections
Q - No, no. Soーー Let’s go for a change of mood. General elections will start soon, could you share with us your expectations for this year’s event?
Furukawa - Right now our appeal comments are available on Youtube and it seems that, somehow, my upper-arms have become a hot topic (laugh). I’ve seen on my blogs comments such as 「This is my first time posting, seeing your upper-arms I decided to come here to leave a comment」.
Yakata - Meaning he started rooting for you after seeing your upper-arms!
Furukawa - At the end of the video when I wave good-bye my upper-arm goes all flop-flop… No really, I have no idea how it could have turned into such a subject of attention. But from now on I shall give my best as the “upper-arms idol”. (tln : “二の腕 アイドル / Ni no Ude Idol” in the text)
Yakata - “Ni no Ude Idol”! Ohoh, “Ni no Dol”!
Furukawa - That’s it, Furukawa Airi the “Ni no Dol”! Nice to meet you all!
Hata - Are you fine with that? (laugh)
Yakata - I myself made a demonstration of my special talent, imitations, in my appeal video. But truth is… I look really reluctant in that video! I was very nervous and watching the result I’m absolutely not satisfied with it! So if I’m given the chance to rank among the 64 members and stand on stage this year, I want to take my revenge on imitations! I’ll display the most perfect imitation, on that stage!
Furukawa - I’m convinced you’ll be more nervous on that stage than when facing the camera though…
Yakata - I forgot about that… Do you really think so? (laugh) Also, when people are called and I see their expressions when standing from their seats, I start crying. 「Uwaaaー Good for her!」. Last year I was sitting behind Maeda Atsuko-san, from the moment Watanabe Mayu-san’s name was called her shoulders started trembling. Looking at her, I started crying… I shared the pressure she was experiencing, even leaning forward on her chair, and when her name was finally called I too let go a flow of tears.
Furukawa - There are indeed dramas in the elections! Also, when you’re sitting behind the person on whom there is a close up, it happens that your face appears on the same frame as the member actually filmed right? At this instant, what face to adopt is a delicate choice to make.
Yakata & Hata - It is, it is!
Q - What about Hata-san? Last year you’ve reached a remarkable 33rd position. You must have been feeling nervous until the moment you were called no?
Hata - Actually… Well, I was certainly nervous, but my name had appeared in the quick report and so if I had not been called during the ceremony I would have felt extremely sorry for my fans… As a result, I felt relieved more than anything. This year too, I’ll do my best!
Furukawa - It would be great if a lot of names from SKE48 were called! I’ll also do my best!
Yakata - By all means look after SKE48!
Hata - We will be counting on your support!
Q - Understood! I’ll cheer for you the best I can!
(Nagoya, May 7th)
Short and funny Rena/Yuria interview from Entame (November 2012, released Sept 29th)
Fear the B(aka) virus! Σヽ(ﾟДﾟ○)ﾉ
Q - Rena-san’s shooting is still going on, so let’s take this chance to hear a lot about your sempai while she is away.
Yuria - Roger. The truth is, you know, Rena-san might be having a hard time with kanjis. Earlier for example, we were talking about “撮影” (shooting) you see, and she wrote this “影映” (no meaning, just mixing the kanji for “shooting” and “movie” together). When myself I wrote this “最影” (no meaning either, but at least she got the 2nd kanji right and phonetically you could read it like “shooting”… somehow.) See, I was closer! (proud grin). Somehow lately I’ve been wondering if Rena-san wasn’t getting closer from my condition…
Q - Could it be, a baka-contagion?! Ah, Rena-san has joined us. I was just hearing about your secret.
Rena - What secret? What is it about?
Yuria - *fufufufu*
Rena - (Showing her the memo Yuria wrote) Ah, this… You can’t show this! … Wee～ell, to sum it up in a word, Yuria is a very good girl. She is a bit of a little sister for everyone and her presence calm me down. If I am to collide with her by chance, I feel healed.
Yuria - By chance, you say (laugh).
Rena - Yuria is good at getting others to pamper her so in order to resist, I try to keep a certain distance between us. Because you see she is so cute that if we’re too close I’ll give into everything she asks (laugh).
Q - Both of you have been noticed for your roles in 「Majisuka Gakuen」. Rena-san was then playing 「Gekikara」, from a sempai point of view, how do you judge Yuria’s acting?
Rena - Yuria is really a good actress isn’t she? She is known as an airhead, but the truth is she is smart. She has a mind like a steel trap.
Yuria - Yeah me! I was told I was smart! Since last year I’ve been given a lot of opportunities to play so I properly capitalized on those experiences and improved. I’d like to try an action drama or movie next.
Rena - Like Jackie Chan?
Yuria - …That— That would probably be a tad bit too full-blown for me yet (laugh).
Matsui Rena and Suga Nanako interview from Freecell special issue vol. 8. Out August 31st 2012.
The interview was given after KissKiki shooting but before Nannan’s promotion. It’s interesting to read those two talking about possible future promotions when they were right across the corner and they still had no idea about it. Also lots of funny / cute moments.
Q - Suga-san, what’s happening to you is incredible isn’t it? You haven’t integrated a team yet and while you’re still a research student you’ve been selected to take part in 「Kiss Datte Hidarikiki」.
Suga - It’s great indeed…
Q - When did you heard about it?
Suga - Two days before the beginning of the shooting in Hokkaido.
Rena - Really?! When I was told the filming for 「Kiss Datte Hidarikiki」was going to take place in Hokkaido I didn’t know yet who the selected members were, but I knew we were all supposed to go there together so looking at the plannings I counted the girls who were marked as moving in the same time-slot. And then I thought, “Oh, Nanako will be there too!”.
Suga - Now that’s incredible! How can you understand such thing?!
Q - And for this numero I photographed you two thinking a two-shot with Rena-san would make a nice cover.
Suga - That—- Somehow during the shooting I thought I heard someone from the staff saying “We will use this one for the cover” , but I told myself it was certainly my imagination (laugh). Before the shooting today, we were all, the selected members, giving interviews and I was really nervous. I wasn’t really sure it was right for me to be here. But all my sempais have been really nice to me, they welcomed me and treated me like one of them, which relieved a lot of the weight I was carrying on my shoulders. Now I’m not worrying anymore.
Q - What is your opinion Rena-san? I personally think it’s a great sign of acknowledgment for a research student to be selected for a single after such a long time.
Matsui - But during KKS stages, you are center no?
Suga - When Makiko (Saito Makiko) isn’t there…
Matsui - Exactly. Because of this I thought it was a girl who had stand out among the 5th generation. In our previous single already she has been picked to be part of aka gumi so not only had she already been noticed, but I thought people had high expectations from her. And she is a skilled dancer, when we perform on stage together she fits perfectly in the group.
Q - ….Suga-san?
Suga - (with a red face) It’s too much praises…
Matsui - (laugh) Also I like her because of how lovely she is. (tln : lovely/charming/pretty… pick yours lol)
Q - There is a rumor saying you built a robot in the past, is that true?
Suga - It is. But right now I’m not building them too much anymore. I was doing it around my 4th year of elementary school. I’m sure it was something easy to do. My brother too, everyone around me was building them and I myself did it for fun.
Q - Did things happened that made you realized the single selection was different from what you had imagined?
Suga - It was a first for me, spending 3 whole days on a shooting for a music video. It was also the first time I had close-up on myself during lip-synch, it was intimidating to have the camera approaching so near… Every moment was a bewildering experience.
Q - How did your parents react when they heard you had been selected?
Suga - When I let them know they told me “You did it girl” (laugh).
Matsui - “You did it” is an awesome reaction (laugh).
Suga - Also “It’s going to be rough from now on, right?”.
Q - What do you think of the fact that as time pass new girls enter the selection, Rena-san?
Matsui - As I perceive it, it’s not like things are changed anew, no matter the members with who I am, I still feel SKE48’s uniqueness. I think that’s where lies SKE48’s strength. As anyone can see we all get along very well, and I really like the selection this time around too.
Q - Regarding your new single 「Kiss Datte Hidarikiki」, in the 3 days that last the shooting, how was this time divided?
Matsui - The MV is composed of dances drama parts. They’re not that long but since there are a lot of them we filmed the drama scenes the 1st and 2nd day in between practicing the choreography. And the 3rd day we recorded the dance scene.
Q - So, you had to master the dance once in Hokkaido?
Matsui - Yes.
Suga - In the previous single too, for aka gumi song we had to remember the dance on the spot and record it immediately after, so it wasn’t the first time I was facing this situation but as one would expect, I was feeling a bit lost.
Matsui - But a normal research student couldn’t have follow this pace you know. You remembered the choreography the very day of the shooting, considering it was your first music video recording you must have been tense, plus you had to perfectly master the dance and singing when you had virtually no time. That’s proof enough you can deal with pressure and an important workload.
Suga - No, no. I wasn’t able to cope with the situation at all.
Matsui - You did! When we recorded the aka gumi MV, Nanan was teaching the moves for the dance to 1st generation members! And you told them “You can follow my steps, let’s give our best together!” (laugh).
Suga - I was being observed (laugh)?
Matsui - When I saw this I thought you were really kind.
Q - Suga-san’s specs are considerably high, right?
Matsui - I think so.
Suga - …. Not at all! But it’s true that I like dancing. At least when it comes to dancing I can give my best to keep up with everyone.
Q - To you Suga-san, what kind of person is Rena-san ?
Suga - At first when I was seeing her on TV or in magazines I thought “Oh! It’s Rena-san!” but then…
Matsui - You discovered I was rather generic? (laugh)
Suga - No no no! She came talking to me naturally, every time I was anxious Rena-san would inevitably come find me and comfort me. It’s like she could always perceive when I feel insecure… That’s why for me Rena-san is like a goddess!
Matsui - What was that?! How embarrassing … (laugh).
Suga - Well… That’s how I feel (laugh). It’s like if you were watching over me.
Q - It was really a big job entrusted to you this time. Now that it has been complete, what do you think of this experience?
Suga - So far we have only recorded the music video, so I think it’s only starting from now!
Q - Meaning you hope to have many occasions to perform the choreography or to see the MV projected?
Suga - I do but at the same time I don’t really want to watch it (laugh). Or rather, I don’t really want to see the parts where I appear…
Matsui - I get your feeling. I’m the same. As one would expect, it’s embarrassing.
Q - And yet you have to fight this embarrassment often.
Matsui - It makes me happy, but there are so many other cute members…
Suga - Rena-san, you’re far too modest!!
Matsui - (About the 63 MVs of the album) There are a lot of girls who have picked an MV with an actual story in it. For example in Sato Seira-chan’s music video, a Pinocchio-kun with a squared head makes his apparition. In Furukawa Airi-chan’s one, since she is very skilled at drawing, it seems that an illustration she drew herself has been brought to life. (tln : yeah, just translated that part because Rena mentioned Airin ( *°^°) )
Q - (About the 63 MVs of the album) Surprises are frequent in AKB group, could it be you had an idea about this project beforehand Rena-san?
Matsui - It’s not like I had been told about it earlier, but I had roughly anticipated how it would turn out yes (laugh).
Suga - How could you predict it?! In-cre-di-ble (laugh).
Matsui - Because I was sent the schedules. There, there was “pending” written in big character at a certain date and time in all of them. I thought “maybe that’s it?” and as I kept it in mind, it turn out to be what I had guessed.
Suga - You’re really a pro. It sounds like a detective at work.
Matsui - I’m not a detective (laugh).
Suga - But, walking this path for a certain time now that you’ve developed an acuity for those things, no?
Q - Can you now tell us about SKE48’s plans for the second part of the year?
Matsui - Currently, members are missing in all the teams of the group and so research students are practising by performing in team’s stage as helpers. But personally I hope that within the year those research students can become permanent members of said teams and so I want them to give their best until that day. I’m very excited at the thought of whom will join our team, maybe it will even change SKE48’s atmosphere. There are a lot of really incredible girls among the 5th generation, everyone is quite fearful.
Suga - There is plenty of incredible girls indeed… Plenty of girls more talented than me…
Matsui - But to have been selected is important!
Suga - Yes…
Q - We already started on this subject earlier but could you tell us more in details how you would feel about being promoted to a team?
Suga - I want to give all I have to be assigned in a team, but inside the group of research students there are girls who are there since around the origins of the research students’ stage, so I wonder if it’s right for me to disregard them and aim at being promoted… At the same time, I really want to experience a lot of things as being part of a team, it’s a really complicated feeling. Anyway I can only fight with all I have to tackle the obstacles raising in front of me, if I’m given a chance I shall make the best out of it.
Q - And is there any team you’d prefered to be promoted to?
Suga - Until now I’ve always performed as under for Team S, fans too have tell me they wish to see me be promoted in this team so I want to answer their expectations… Ah, but that’s enough about me! I’d be ok with whatever is decided!
Matsui - You can’t say that (laugh) ! Anyway if you’re promoted, I think you’re the type who will manage to give her best in her own way. I’m sure that, no matter the team you enter,you’ll definitely shine.
Suga - To receive such words from Rena-san… !
Matsui - But I find the current research students amazing. They have to remember so many positions and appear in much more stages than I do. I really love the zeal they demonstrate.
Q - It seems a lot is planned until the opening of the exclusive theater this fall, right?
Matsui - I’m sure a lot is going to happen to SKE48 before the end of the year. I also hope to see SKE’s teams being renewed. Or at least that’s what I would like to see happen (laugh).
Q - Last, how have things been going for you lately Rena-san on your path to be an actress?
Matsui - I really love theatrical performances, so more and more part of me tends to want to pursue in that way but… Right now I immerse myself in watching a lot of materials, thinking serenely that taking time to study is important too. In music videos there are parts where we act, I read a lot of books, go to see plays, participate to lives… I believe it’s important to receive a lot of impetus and I want to give my best as to tie those stimulus with my work as an actress.
Suga - Superb… Rena-san’s comments are really superb!
Matsui - I think it was pretty common… NanNan, you’re so cute!! (laugh)
Q - Does Suga-san has made her mind “From now on I’ll follow Rena-sempai!” ?
Suga - Yes! Listening to Rena-sempai’s words, I realize that I’m someone who comparatively absolutely doesn’t bother with thinking… (laugh) When I listen to her I can only nod in a “I see, I see” way.
Q - I see, so you’re actually storing up. (tln : implied storing up information / knowledge from Rena)
Suga - Yes! I want to properly store-up as to not being left behind!
note : When Rena says “I really love theatrical performances, so part of me tends more and more to want to pursue in that way but… “ those were painful periods of ellipsis. Stand firm Rena’chi, don’t give up! One day you’ll shine like no other! ( o >_<)o On the bright side, she seems quite busy lately while other SKE members look relatively free so I have hope for a good news soon…