This is a good place to stop.
If there is one thing about me that I’m sure readers of the site, both old and new, are aware of, it’s that I am and have always been an admirer of Tsunku♂ and his music.
I first got into Hello! Project in 2007. Now, looking back, I think it’s fair to say that my active fandom of it effectively ended back in late 2014 with the departure of its producer. Ever since then, I’ve felt that I have been running this site mainly as a kind of tribute to his legacy.
Now, five years later, I feel it’s finally time for me to call it a day.
Aya & Ayaya
Part Three: Future
A rather premature autobiography (2004)
Asking a girl who is only about to turn 18 about her ultimate goals in life — a rather pointless exercise perhaps, but that is just what we have done here. Some of her answers are what one might expect to hear from a teenage girl, being along the lines of, “I just want to live in the moment.” But some of her answers also hint at a concrete, proper plan for her own future… In addition, she reveals exactly what she was told by a fortune-teller!
Here, at the very end of the interview, she describes herself for us in a single word.
A Twentysomething Mother
— I understand you would like to be married by the age of 25, right?
Aya: Yes. But what I mean by that is, I want to still be in my twenties when my child enters elementary school. I want to be a mother in my twenties. Because my mom was the same.
— So whenever you had parents’ days at school, people would be going, “Aya-chan’s mom sure is young and pretty“?
Aya: Right! They were always saying that about my mom, and it made me so happy. I’d often go shopping with her and I felt that she had such good taste in things, so I could depend on her with things like that. That must also be because she’s so young. So when I become a mother myself, I’d like to build a relationship that’s like… “parents, but also friends.” So my goal is to be a mother by the age of 25.
Aya & Ayaya
Part Two: Birth of Ayaya
A rather premature autobiography (2004)
Matsuura Aya had become “Ayaya.”
Her life in Tokyo had begun, and (according to the lyrics of her debut single) she had now gotten used to riding the subway — something she had never experienced back home.
With a demand for her to be an assertive vocalist, she achieved rapid growth thanks to her innate intuition and composure. Apart from singing, she went on to actively work in multiple other fields, such as in movies, TV dramas, and musicals. However, she could not bring herself to forget her initial resolve: that what she had always wanted to do was to sing…
That smile of hers — her trademark. Supported by her many fans, she has kept running up to the present moment.
Not Running Away
— Did life as an entertainer differ from what your idea of it had been prior to your debut?
Ayaya: When I was a student and I would be watching entertainers on TV, there was obviously no way I could know how they spent their private time, right? But experiencing it myself, I realized that outside of the concerts and TV appearances, there is just so much to do behind-the-scenes. So my first thought was: “wow, it sure is busy being an entertainer.” (laughs) It’s not that you just stand there and things simply happen. You have to actually work hard to get anything done. (laughs)
— You found out the truth.
Ayaya: Like… I kind of had this image that entertainers are all perfect in everything they do. But then I realized, “no, they all put in a great deal of hard work.” But I like that hard work, so I’m glad about it. Besides, I took part in an audition to become an entertainer because I actually wanted to become one, so I feel like I can’t just run away. Ultimately, I’m here because I wanted to be here. If I was to suddenly lose heart, it’d just be like… “what is wrong with you?!“
Aya & Ayaya
Part One: Childhood
A rather premature autobiography (2004)
Born in the city of Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, she would often find herself lost — that was the sort of active girl she was. Through kindergarten and elementary school, she loved to stand out. Then, at the young age of 14, she found herself at a turning point in life. By a strange coincidence, she had stumbled upon an opportunity. Already you could see glimpses of her strong willpower in how she pulled this opportunity towards herself.
She made her way to Tokyo. Settling down, breathing in the air of this place that was all new to her… Before long, her singing permeated that same air as it found its way to us.
Choosing to Be the Protective Big Sister
— You are the eldest of three sisters (born June 25, 1986), right? Because you were the eldest, were you brought up always being told you had to have your act together?
Matsuura: I don’t remember if I was exactly told to “have my act together,” but up until the first couple of years of elementary school my little sisters would always say that I was in the wrong. I was always the one everyone would get mad at. But I didn’t like being constantly told, “it’s big sis’ fault!,” so I started thinking about what I could do to make it stop.
That’s when I realized: “I should just always take Mom’s side in everything!” (laughs) So before my mom even had a chance to get mad at me, I would say, “That’s right, Mom! It’s their fault for not doing as you told them! Right, Mom?!” I realized that when I did that, it wasn’t me she would get angry with.
— You had all kinds of strategies…
Matsuura: I did. (laughs)
Paperback Edition Afterword
Three and a half years have passed since I lost my vocal cords.
Would I say that I am unhappy today? No, not at all.
You often hear people talking about “the happiness found through illness,” and it’s true that it’s important to keep a positive mental attitude like that. But, of course, it goes without saying that nothing is better than not getting sick in the first place. The stress your illness inflicts not only upon you but also the people around you is enormous. Ultimately, health is the most important thing of all.
“It must be so inconvenient having lost your voice. It must be so difficult.” People will often say things like that to me. And sure, it’s difficult. But despite that difficulty, I try to have fun and stay positive — after all, it’s no use spending all your life just feeling down.
For example, being able to witness my children grow up makes me happier than anything. They’re constantly fighting with each other, but their smiles never fail to make me feel better. I treasure every moment I spend with them, trying not to let a single moment of their development fly past me.
And then there’s the person who has taken on a very thankless role: my wife. Being scolded and told off by her for the things I least want to be told off for, I may find it annoying in that moment. But then I’ll think about it and I’ll realize, “she does have a point…” It must be even more difficult for the person doing the scolding, and I’m sure she does it all for the sake of my health.
1: 名無し募集中。。。 2017/12/10(日) 19:55:49.740
They should keep this approach with the OG songs for a while at least.
30: 名無し募集中。。。 2017/12/11(月) 21:00:40.030
A nice, lighthearted song.
4: 名無し募集中。。。 2017/12/10(日) 20:03:19.590
This really is a good song.
I downloaded it and I’ve been listening to it on repeat.
5: 名無し募集中。。。 2017/12/10(日) 20:03:51.590
From the title I assumed it was going to be just some joke song, but this actually wasn’t too bad.
8: 名無し募集中。。。 2017/12/10(日) 20:22:36.530
The words are by Hoshibe, too.
The guy could write lyrics like this?
June 19, 1973 — Kyoto
1997/09/14 ~ 2001/04/15
Nakazawa: For the “FNS Kayousai” at the end of last year, the five of us original members sang together for the first time in 18 years. It’s strange how even though it’s been such a long time, it felt like we were right back in those days… Everything from the way we sang to how we presented ourselves, it all came back.
Not one of us was thinking, “I’m not the same person as I was back then.” We could once again sing this song that had been written for us 20 years ago, all together, sharing in the same feeling. I was truly happy. Being able to go back to my initial resolve like that; being given the opportunity to do that… Just how lucky am I?
— Morning Musume’s 20-year history all began with those five people. The occasion for your formation was the “ASAYAN” audition show, and more specifically Sharan Q’s “Female Rock Vocalist Audition.”
Nakazawa: The five of us failed the audition. But we were called back on a later date, and that’s when they told us: “if you can sell 50,000 copies of your CD in five days, you’ve got yourself a major debut.” Full of determination, each of us said, “I’ll do it!!!” That’s how it all started.
Had even one of us said “no” that day, we wouldn’t be celebrating the 20th anniversary right now.
October 30, 1996 — Tokyo
Fukumura: I’ve always felt strongly about not wanting to lose to my generation-mates. But then on the other hand, from the very beginning it felt like I came last out of the four of us. Even at the shoot for “Maji Desu ka Ska!” the other three were in the front row while I was in the back. That was a bit of a shock. “I’m supposed to be a new member too, and this is where they put me…?” In “Only you,” I got to sing only during two parts while Sayashi Riho even received solo lines and she was right in the center.
It was a tough thing for a child to accept, but that was the reality. That was when the sense of rivalry within me was awakened as I decided that I was going to try and push my way closer to the center and receive more and more lines. That’s how it all started.
Reaching Morning Musume At Last
— I’m sure some of that strength of spirit can also be attributed to the circumstances regarding how you got into the group. You joined Morning Musume through H!P Eggs, and that was the first time in Morning Musume’s history for that to happen.
Fukumura: It happened just around a time when I’d experiences some pretty serious setbacks in the Eggs, so I took part in the audition thinking it would be my last chance. I made it as far as the third round of judging before I failed. During the auditions, I saw girls like Suzuki Kanon who just shined so much brighter than me; girls who looked like they weren’t afraid of anything. I remember thinking, “It’s girls like this who will get into Morning Musume. It’s going to be a new era.“