First conversation meeting of Hello! Project

From the left, Chisato Okai, Maimi Yajima, Saki Nakajima.

You’ll enjoy it even if you don’t know detailed rules!

Saki: When I was selected as a supporter because Saitama is my hometown, I felt so proud to be from Saitama! I still don’t know a lot about Rugby, but I’m privileged to be appointed with such a role, and I thought that I really should learn a lot about rugby.

Maimi: I don’t know much about Rugby, too, but I like sports, so I was so happy. This might be the last chance to watch the Rugby World Cup in Saitama, so we’re having such a valuable experience, aren’t we? I want to take this chance to not only promote the RWC, but also the charms of Saitama and Kumagaya.

Saki: My perception of Rugby is that it’s a sport for “men among men.” I haven’t had a chance to watch any games yet, but I guess it’s a sport that needs mutual trust among the players, so I imagine if I watch one I’ll probably get excited and cheer for them, “go for it! Go for it!” Anyway, I think Chisato (Okai) will talk about “Rugby love” (laugh)

Chisato: Oh! You leave it to me?! (Laugh) A childhood friend of mine plays rugby, and when he invited me to watch his game was when I came to like it a lot. The first game I watched was Waseda vs. Meiji. Their level was so high and I was very surprised at how people can smash into each other. Not to mention that the players are so cool!!

Maimi: Yeah, you showed me a picture and said, “(the players) they are so big!” You even told me about the gory details, “(the childhood friend) surprisingly, he’s normally serious and quiet.” (Laugh) You told me, “The sound of clashing muscles together is crazy, I didn’t know humans could make such sound!,” so I got curious.

Saki: Yeah, Yeah. I was told that it’s really interesting so I was interested, but I never really got the chance to watch a game… That’s why I want to watch a game soon!

Maimi: You kind of want to go watch a game when you hear about it from Chisato, right? Like Chisato, I need to quickly deepen my knowledge of rugby that when people listen to me they get excited about it.

Chisato: I don’t know all the rules myself, but looking at the players’ speed and such, I watch the game and notice things like, “Oh that player is stopping the ball a lot (with tackles).” Even this is enough to enjoy the game, so let’s go watch a game soon.

Maimi: After being appointed as a supporter, I asked many people from different shows about rugby, and felt that the sense of reality in watching the games from the playground is impactful. Let’s go! Let’s go!

Saki: I, too, want to feel the enthusiasm of the playground myself. I feel like you’ll really get into it once you watch it.

When the players form a scrum, it really feels like “a wall.”

Chisato: While this is true for other sports as well, seeing the games live makes you like it even more. Watching the game on TV doesn’t always convey how fast the players are moving or how hard they clash, also, something interesting could happen that the camera doesn’t get. It’s just like Hello! Project. (Laugh) (That some charms aren’t conveyed by the camera.)

Maimi: That’s true. (Laugh) I think that the part that “you can’t do it unless you trust your team” is common with idol groups. Kind of like,” trust your team and complement each other.”

Saki: This applies to the stage as well! If only you stand out it would be obtrusive, that’s why everyone pays attention to what’s happening around and aim to eventually have the spectator’s excitement. In that sense, I think they’re really similar. There was this time when I was performing during the fall, and before we got on stage we formed a circle and the actor who was performing with us said, “We are not a soccer team! We are a rugby team. We can only throw the ball to the side or behind, so unless all of us feel the same, we will never be able to see the same one goal,” those words had come just in time.

Chisato: Even if you don’t know much about the game, just watching the players is exciting enough. You get the feeling that they are “strong males” so I think it’s especially charming for women.

Saki: I’d like to meet someone! But if I actually meet someone the sheer pressure (the player’s) will probably make me draw back. (Laugh)

Maimi: When I visited the playground I passed by the players and they were so big I can’t believe they’re human like us. They let me touch their muscles and it was so hard! The pressure of their scrum was intense that it really feels like “a wall.”

Chisato: Whenever I meet my childhood friend I find him even bigger (his body) than before that I get worried and think, “Are you OK? Aren’t you overdoing it?” and when I met him he had gotten even bigger! (Laugh). Depending on the position they train their bodies differently, and depending on the season they diet and build muscle. It’s really a tough sport.

Kumagaya Rugby Stadium was really clean and had a nice view.

Maimi: I also stood on the sports ground and the spectator seats are very close (to the field). It’s a distance that their cheering can be heard, and I think the players get really motivated by it. The spectator seats are designed so that you look down, so no matter where you sit, you can easily watch the game.

Chisato: I immediately texted my childhood friend, “today I stood on the playground. I didn’t know you could see the spectators so closely” (laugh) Kumagaya Rugby Stadium was really clean and had a nice view!

Maimi: When I think that famous players from different countries will come to play heated games it makes me think that it really is a valuable experience. One more thing, the fact that you can access it by going in a straight line from Kumagaya station was great!

Chisato: Also, it’s surprisingly close to the metropolitan area! When you hear “Kumagaya” you’d think it might be a bit far but actually, it’s really close. And it has many specialty products.

Saki: Yeah, that’s right. It has delicious food and it’s close to the metropolitan area yet it’s rich in nature and its air is fresh. There is also a park close to the playground, so I think you can sit back and relax after you watch the game.

Maimi: You can also freely cheer with a loud voice! I think that It’s a great chance even for people who don’t know rugby to go watch spectacular games played by the world’s first-class players who gather once every 4 years. It will probably be unforgettable games. For that reason, I, too, should learn about the charm of rugby and promote it in a way that is easy to understand.

Saki: You’re right. First if I come to like rugby and have a passion for it and then promote it through social media and the radio, I think it will catch the attention of many people.

Chisato: I won’t say, “You must force yourself to like it,” but first I wish you come to watch a game! Also, I want to make all the members of Hello! Project love rugby. Women have a wide communication range, and their ability to push things they love onto people around them is not to be underestimated! (Laugh)