Second conversation meeting of Hello! Project

From the left, we have Tomoko Kanazawa (Juice = Juice), Miyabi Natsuyaki (PINK CRES.), and Ayano Hamaura (Magnolia Factory).

Since we were chosen, we want to cheer with all our hearts!

Miyabi: It was a sudden announcement, so I was really surprised, but since it’s my first time to be chosen as a “special supporter,” and this represents such a special opportunity, I want to cheer with all my heart and I’m so happy.

Tomoko: Recently, I’ve been watching rugby players appear on variety shows on TV, so I’m happy because I’m really proud to be able to cheer on such hardworking people as a supporter.

Ayano: Since I’m the only member from Saitama Prefecture among the members of Magnolia Factory, I’m really happy to be able to do work related to Saitama. Also, it’s likely that the Rugby World Cup being held in Japan is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I was happy to be chosen for the really extraordinary role of “special supporter,” and I want to give it my all. I’m glad that I’m from Saitama! (Laugh)

Natusyaki: This is my first time to find out that there are so many people from Saitama in Hello! Project! Now that I’m not an idol anymore, there aren’t as many opportunities for me to meet with my juniors, so I’m happy to use this as an opportunity to talk with many of my peers. I’m hoping that we can learn more about rugby together.

Tomoko: I also didn’t know a ton about rugby, but my uncle is a huge rugby fan and goes to many rugby matches including my cousin’s rugby competitions, so I received some fundamental knowledge about rules, etc. via email, so it was a kind of distance learning. (Laugh) Actually, I’m going to see a match with my uncle tomorrow, so I’m planning to learn more with him by my side explaining things!

Ayano: That’s great! I also like to watch matches at the stadium, so I’m hoping to see a match soon!

Miyabi: I really want to go, too! Because I was chosen as a special supporter, I started to record rugby-related programs and watch them, and I’m getting more and more interested and want to learn more!

Tomoko: Yeah. I started to get really interested in rugby after being chosen as a special supporter, so I’m really thankful that I was chosen.

Miyabi: I’m not sure if I can make this wish into a reality, but I want to try interviewing the players! I think the more one knows about rugby including training methods and differences from other sports, the more one can enjoy it, so I think this would be making good use of my role as a supporter.

Ayano: If I get the chance, I want to try kicking the ball! (Laugh)

I want to cheer alongside the fans!

Miyabi: Recently, I went to a rugby venue and got to hold a rugby ball for the first time, and I was surprised that the ball had such a rough texture! From the point of view of someone like me who is new to rugby and is enjoying rugby while learning more about it, I want people from my generation as well as little kids who don’t care for rugby to get more interested. I think that the younger generation can more easily enter the world of rugby if they see posts on social media and think, “Wow, that seems interesting!”.

Ayano: I also want to spread the word more on my blog and on Twitter, and as a special supporter, I want to tell people who come to my concerts about my role as well.

Tomoko: It would be great if there was a chance to go to see rugby matches with our fans.

Ayano: Actually, since I was chosen as a special supporter, my fans have been teaching me about rugby. For example, “Rugby is played by 15 players.” The number of people who are interested in rugby is already increasing, so it would be great if we can cheer together. There aren’t many other sports with tackles and people crashing into each other, so I think the intensity crosses over towards the fans as well! Rugby is a really intense sport.

Tomoko: You can feel the bravery. It’s an intense sport which really shows males’ attractiveness and sturdiness.

Miyabi: It’s such an impactful sport. Compared with soccer and baseball, there are a lot of scenes which are so rough that you’d say, “Whoa!”. (Laugh) It might be the sport where you have to use your body’s strength the most.

Tomoko: Teamwork is important, too. Unless you build a relationship of trust, I bet you wouldn’t even be able to string together a single pass. For people like us who work as a group, while our field is different from that of rugby players, there are many areas which can be of reference, so in those areas, we need to learn from the players and continue to grow.

Ayano: Since we are also on the side of those who perform (facing a live audience), I can feel sympathy for the players, since your performance must depend on your condition on that day. Even under such conditions, victory can’t be achieved unless one plays incredibly well, so I think it’s a different kind of pressure on the players compared with us.

I want to learn from the players’ teamwork!

Miyabi: The team’s atmosphere before the match was incredible. Before the players entered the field, the staff and personnel would hit the players’ backs and shoulders and encourage them saying “Go get ’em!,” and everyone hyped up the players and sent them out to the field. Watching this from the side, I felt that I wanted to be a part of it and I got really excited. I think the passionate sending off of the players by the people around them must have also helped contribute to the players’ strength. I thought, “I want my managers to do that to me before my performances too!”. (Laugh)

Tomoko: At my appointment ceremony, I was able to meet a player, and he seemed so sturdy and I could just feel his intensity just from his appearance! He was tall and had broad shoulders, so I looked like a small fry next to him. (Laugh) His muscles were amazing. His body seemed like it was the fruit of his labor.

Ayano: That’s true! I was able to be near some of the players at the opening event of the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium Saitama, and I was surprised that the players were much bigger than I had imagined. They seemed really fast and I thought that their kicks must be really strong as well.

Miyabi: They really do seem fast. I feel like their explosiveness at the moment they start running might be more than that of a track athlete.
They seem to have so much physical ability, I feel like they could do anything. I really wondered, “What kind of training are they doing every day?”
I also wondered, “How long did it take to cultivate such a team spirit?”
My group has been working together for about three years, but I felt that we still have a long way to go.

Tomoko: It must be impossible to play in such a wide space and put everyone’s minds in the same direction unless successful communication becomes a habit. I think that that teamwork is truly unmatched. There are a lot of things which I think the members of Juice = Juice should know, and it would be great if they could observe and study the players with me, too! I’m excited to watch the match tomorrow!

I think it's totally fine for girls to enter the world of rugby through Instagram, too!

Ayano: You can see how impressive the players are from the size of their bodies and their speed, and since you can get so much energy from the intense atmosphere of the competition, I think it’s fun just to cheer for the players. By cheering on rugby players, I think I myself will gain positive energy, and also feel more motivated to try my best! Even if you’re not familiar with the rules, you can definitely enjoy rugby!

Miyabi: Of course, it’s fun if you can understand the rules, but I think you can have fun just by finding your own favorite things about the sport, like players who you like or plays you like. I think it would be good if girls can enter the world of rugby by finding promotional items which they find cute and posting matching outfits on Instagram, for example!

Tomoko: I would be happy if people could see a match in the stadium and not only have interest in rugby but also gain an appreciation for Kumagaya as well. Kumagaya is full of nature, there are sweets called yamatoimo and gokabou which have been around since the old days, and there are temples and many other nice places.

Ayano: Watch rugby, enjoy nature, and savor gourmet foods! That would be a perfect day. (Laugh)