Tsubasa: We’re here at Adores Collaboration Cafe! Dai: We’re here. …Ooh… Rikka: Wow, that’s really intense… It’s kind of embarrassing to see ourselves like wham, posted like this Tsubasa: Just by sitting at Shiki’s spot, you can feel an intense stare (laughs)
Shiki: For starters, here we have “Rikka’s Special Hashed Meat with Rice” Rikka: Curry’s delicious too, of course, but don’t you feel like eating hashed meat with rice every once in a while? Dai: Yeah Tsubasa: When you say “special”… Is there a hidden flavor to it or something? Rikka: Fufu, that’s a secret
Tsubasa: Next we have… the menu item even I thought would happen if we continue talking about it: “Takamura Coffee Shop’s Hot Coffee” Shiki: Want some coffee? It comes with some strawberry whip and cookies. You can get it as a dessert after your meal! You can get it as an afternoon snack! Would you like some coffee!
Subsequently, I think that it was around the time of “
Excitedly Take a chance” (10/10/2012, 51st Single) that we switched to formation dancing. Personally, I don’t get the impression that it was during that time that it completely changed. I thought that “Only you” was also a cool type song, and “One Two Three” and “Excitedly Take a chance” were also like that. It wasn’t until “Help me!!” (1/23/2013, 52nd Single) that I truly thought “Oh, so this is how we’re going to do it now.”
The dance lessons for “Excitedly Take a chance” were really strict, it was a song where you really have to take care of the line formation. Even after the seniors left to go home, the 9th and 10th Gen remained at practice. Depending on where in the line you stood, there were some who had to travel a greater distance than others. The reason that the dance lessons ran so long was also because of this. Because we had turned to EDM, the number of songs that required close attention to the minute details of rhythm increased, the movements where we had to “be like a machine” also increased.
At first, dancing was my only weapon. I became worried when Ayumi-chan who was a dancer like me was added, and I may have become more vigilant. But Morning Musume.’s dances became more intense year by year, and the times we danced as a pair increased, and there were fans who came to the concert that enjoyed those parts. At some point dancing together became such a habit that when there were tours where we didn’t dance as a pair, I felt unsatisfied. My favorite pair dance is in “Brainstorming” (4/17/2013, 53rd Single)! The dance movements were like a battle, and I enjoyed dancing while we looked at each other and smiled suspiciously (lol).
Once I joined H!P, I really learned to cooperate. When I was in Actors’, I only ever competed with those around me. Any time I joined a team, it was always chosen by the audition. Even after doing the choreography, our position would be chosen by the teacher after we danced one by one. Even then, all the others would be watching relentlessly, it was nothing but a contest. Who would harmonize, who would do the main part, who would rap, these were all decided by the teachers at the audition, so there wasn’t any feeling other than belligerence. Within Morning Musume., there may have been a sense of rivalry in that you wanted to become good at dancing or singing. But the fans that came to our lives didn’t come to see a battle, they came to see a performance with all of us, this was when I first learned what I wanted to convey. I think to perform formation dance, that’s what you need most over all else.
I said this at my last Budoukan performance, but I, myself, improved and grew the most on “One Two Three” (7/4/2012, 50th Single). It’s a very important song to me. Once I started singing it, it was like I was always singing it, every day, even during the concert tours I was singing. Because it was a song in which I was able to affirm the changes in my self, every time I saw it I would think “I have to do something,” or “I want to change something."
Although I felt the worth of doing it [rewarding], I also felt the pressure of the song. Although I didn’t much worry listening to the CD after having recorded it, concerts do have a different feeling, after all. It was a song that I would surely sing every day, and Tanaka-san’s expressions were executed so skillfully, it was very thrilling. I felt like joined together with everyone else’s power, I had to do my best to make it even better.* There’s a part that goes “Saa te wo tsunaide~♪” [So, let’s hold hands~♪
], at first it was very difficult for me to sing. Like something in my throat got blocked. The key was a little high. It wasn’t until 2 years later that I felt like “This is ok,” when I sang it. It was a long time coming (lol).
Because of my bad habit, when I sang the “i~” of Aishiteru’s Ai [I love you’s love], I tightened my throat as I sung it. So it sounded like “Iii!.” Because “i” is hard to pronounce. Each time I sung it, I would try and sing as if it came out of the spot between my nose and mouth, and with a reliable response, I felt myself grow/improve.
In regards to the dance, in the second half when "Ah kono yume ni wa nee dore kurai no Mm kanousei ga aru to iu no ka” [Ah, how much Hey, potential Mm, do these dreams have?] occurs, I switch from the back to the front, returning to my spot in the center. During that singing part, when at the front, it’s supposed to be free movement but when I had to sing it for the first time at a Hello! Concert, Tsunku-san himself taught me, “Pick someone from the first row, and move like you’re trying to convince that person.” It feels like it stirs up the fans in the first row. Although Tsunku-san actually showed me how, I thought it was too embarrassing for me to and I couldn’t do it! I thought, can I really do that with my skill level as it is now? Eventually, I plucked up the confidence, or the courage, and I became able to do it boldly. I would do it while moving backwards a little.
There were lyrics where I would switch my gaze every time, too. When we did the alternating “Daisuki daisuki” [I love you I love you], when it was my part, I decided to sing it as if I were confessing to this one person. I think I got down the knack of singing to the audience, and remembering the dance.
Though I suppose that, in the beginning, it was a performance pretty much unchanged from watching it on a screen, going to a concert, I strongly realized that I understood it for the first time.
Because it’s a song where I have a lot of lines, it’s a song where I have a lot of sides of myself I can show.
* T/N: She means, working together with the others, using their joint power, that she felt the pressure to make the performance better and better.