Interview with Suzaki Aya (Part 2)

This is the 2nd part of Animate Times’ Nichinare interview series with Suzaki Aya. Check out Part 1 if you would like to read it.

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日本ナレーション演技研究所洲崎綾さんイン

——Please share with us: what made you think about becoming a voice actor.

Suzaki: Ever since elementary school, I liked ‘Detective Conan’ and I really admired the character, Haibara Ai-chan. I wanted to find out who was the voice behind her and ended up knowing Hayashibara Megumi-san. Progressing to middle school, I talked to many friends who liked anime, listened to Hayashibara Megumi-san’s radio show from time to time. At that time, there was an announcement that she would release her first album in years, and I carried that excitement with me and continued listening to her radio show every week.

I hadn’t known of other associated activities of a voice actor other than anime work, so at that time I discovered that there were radio shows and events, and also got to know about the kind of work that a voice actor’s job entails. So in the beginning, it wasn’t so much of looking up to voice actors, it was me admiring Hayashibara Megumi-san.

——Looking up to her, you decided to set your sights on becoming a voice actor?

Suzaki: My hometown didn’t have a training school nearby, so it was a faint thought. Upon entering high school, there was a NHK radio programme* that allowed you to have a live consultation with a voice actor over the air. When it was Hayashibara Megumi san’s turn to come on as a guest, I somehow got through the line and was able to talk to her about my future plans. That was when I seriously thought of attending vocational school, so after I graduated from high school, I headed to Tokyo to attend college and entered Nichinare.

*The radio programme referenced here is NHK’s こども夢質問箱 (Kodomo Yume Shitsumon Hako / Children’s dream help box). I won’t talk too much about it here, since it would be much better to refer to the video compilation subbed by LostBlue below. I would strongly recommend you to watch this video, because it narrates the 10 year journey Suzaki Aya took to stand in front of her idol as a voice actor.

——So you juggled college life and training at Nichinare?

Suzaki: Yeah. During the 1st year of my studies, I would work part-time to save up money, which I used to join Nichinare in the spring of my 2nd year.

——Why did you choose to join Nichinare?

Suzaki: It was affordable (laughs).

——The finance side is also important, heh (laughs).

Suzaki: Also, I found out that Hayashibara-san went into Nichinare on a scholarship, and it being a major company made me feel assured, so I chose Nichinare. The lessons were once per week and that was a boon to my college life.  

——You also couldn’t afford to neglect either of them right?

Suzaki: Even after I entered the workforce, my parents were strict on me. There was an agreement that I had to gain 3 years of experience working in an office. They told me that it was to provide a safety net in case I couldn’t debut as a voice actor, and if I didn’t enter the workforce immediately after graduation, it would be difficult for me to get into a company afterwards. In the end, I worked for 2 years.

——What kind of lessons did you go through in Nichinare?

Suzaki: The course structure was divided into 3 types of classes – foundation, regular, induction. For foundation and regular classes, it was vocal training, how to deliver lines smoothly as well as moving your body just like practicing movement on the stage. As for induction classes, the more you advance, the more time you get to spend in front of the mic. I felt that it was really helpful to go through the foundation and regular classes properly. If a person has not gone through proper acting lessons and stands in front of the mic, they sound empty and insincere, and that person comes across as acting without studying the foundations, so I feel that the experience I gained at Nichinare was really important.

Even though there was only 1 lesson per week, I was practicing acting almost every day. It was a mental battle with the imaginary lecturer within me, to see how far I could take my acting each week. Also, the lessons are based on your initiative (to learn). I thought that if I held back here, it would be futile, so I always went in with the belief that I must not lose.

——It was necessary to adopt an ambitious attitude after you joined after all.

Suzaki: Yes. As I advanced through the regular lessons, I got my first glimpse of “What acting is”. While I was in the fundamental class, I was reading my lines like I’m memorizing them. I later learnt that it was not supposed to be like that. My lecturer back then told me “If you have nothing you want to express, nothing will come out of you.” Even until today, those words remain etched in my mind.

——What’s the story behind that?

Suzaki: At that time, I wasn’t sure if i was able to do it, but it means to picture what you want to convey as the creator through the work itself, and not so much about the role. It’s like if you don’t have a viewpoint to convey to the viewers, they would end up with nothing. To read between the lines, filling in the gaps where the directions aren’t given, what kind of context you can apply to these lines, and what kind of emotional changes you go through to arrive at that conclusion – I was able to feel it for the first time at that time, to fill up the empty gaps with your imagination.

Also, that same lecturer also said this “Even if we are really poor and lousy, it’s fine, go ahead and draw out a big picture on that white empty canvas in front of you.”, which I still remember vividly. I’m still in the process of learning but, even if I know the conversation flow and the ending of the work or stage I’m appearing in, it is imperative to reset the parameters when you act and start writing your story at that point, to me this is an important lesson that I’ve been taught.

Although my thoughts were “Ah, indeed” when i heard that, it took me 2 years to actually feel it sink into my mind. I’m glad that I could realize that while being a student before actually taking it to the mic.

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——By the way, how was the mood in the class?

Suzaki: It was really good. I was blessed by lovely classmates, and I’m still close with many of them now. It’s different from a specialized school and there were people from age 19 all the way to around age 30 when I enrolled. The majority of them are in the workforce, but there were also people like me who were still students. Coincidentally, one of them commuted to the same college as me and we often practiced together on our campus ground.

——That’s some coincidence! Next, let’s hear the story of your road to your debut in your current agency.

Suzaki: My anime debut was ‘Bakuman’ (Amane Misayo) when I was at training school. Hayami Saori-san voiced the heroine (Azumi Miho).In the story, I was part of the heroine’s 3-man idol unit that she formed, and I was able to participate in the dubbing and recording sessions.

——Did your debut open the path to joining I’m Enterprise?

Suzaki: Even though I undertook some jobs while I was in training school, that wasn’t the trigger that got me into I’m Enterprise.It wasn’t until the 5th year* since enrolling into the training school that I passed the auditions. Even after debuting, I was still voicing mob roles**, and I couldn’t really get a main role breakthrough.

In the midst of all the auditions, I passed the audition to voice the main heroine, Kitashirakawa Tamako in the anime, Tamako Market. It took me around 1.5 years after entering I’m Enterprise to finally get that role. I’m really glad that I did not get dejected during the time it took for me to obtain that opportunity. My parents were always against this career decision, so I didn’t really mention to them about me getting accepted by an agency. It was also later on that I told them about my resignation from an office job (laughs). I think it was my confirmation of voicing Tamako that made them finally acknowledge me.

*Suzaki was 20 when she entered training school, and debuted at the age of 24 in Bakuman as mentioned earlier.

**Mob roles are non-credited roles, usually background characters.

——Ah, I see. How was the atmosphere during the recording at that time?

Suzaki: Since most of the main cast along with me were newbies*, we were raised in a warm environment by everyone else. Especially Yamazaki Takumi-san (Mochimazzi Dera), who gently taught me a variety of things. However, it wasn’t so much of acting advice like “You should do this part like this”, it was more of “Because this is your first time as a leading role” watching closely over me, letting me run freely with the role.

When they saw me getting flustered over the movement around the mics**, they let me use the same mic each time I went to voice my lines, the studio environment was really warm.

*Tamako Market featured first-time main roles for Tamaru Atsushi (Ōji Mochizō), Kaneko Yūki (Tokiwa Midori), Juri Nagatsuma (Makino Kanna) and Yamashita Yurie (Asagiri Shiori).

**To allow for fluidity while doing recording, studios typically have a set up of 3-4 mics so that they can have 3-4 voice actors ready at their positions. When there is a  break before their next lines, they move back to the seats and another voice actor will take their position. This is the reason why they may not necessarily go back to the same mic.

——That was a pleasant story.

Suzaki: Actually, when I was in training school, I set objectives for myself, which was to land a leading role in 10 years time. That happened during induction training where my lecturer, at a particular lesson, asked us to write down in our notes who we wanted to become 10 years later. After writing that down, we were told to fill the gaps in between the 10 years, to create additional objectives to meet that final objective. It got broken down into things I have to do after 3 years, 1 year, half a year and finally the things I have to do the next day. Since I wanted to have a leading role 10 years later, my goal for 5 years later was to get a role as the friend of the leading role (laughs).

At that point, since I hadn’t been accepted into an agency, when I engraved my vision moving forward, I thought that it would all come to waste if I couldn’t join one in 1 year’s time. For that sake, I wanted to improve on my delivery of lines and articulation the next day, and I also wrote detailed notes like studying acting by going to more theater shows.

I’m sure it was a lesson for us to hold tightly to our awareness of becoming a voice actor, and it became a very good opportunity for me to put my thoughts into action.

——Even though you didn’t become part of an agency in 1 year’s time as planned, you certainly achieved your objective of landing a leading role within 10 years.

Suzaki: I also made sure to jot down all the points that I learnt at the end of every lesson into my diary. Stuff like “Ah, this person’s acting is good” and the points I need to brush up on. They would go up to like 6 pages long.

I left all these notes back in my parents’ house, and when I look back at the memories of those times, I think I have worked hard to get here. They were thoughts on how I’m glad that I have soldiered on, and thoughts like I was really lucky to get my big break in just 1.5 years after joining I’m Enterprise.

Fast forward to the present, because of getting to experience a leading role at a young age, as the years passed by, I felt I should become a person capable of supporting the leading role instead. Conversely during my time in training school, I wanted the recognition of being the leading role after years of toiling away in the industry, I guess your viewpoint really changes after your debut.

——What were the skills you learnt at Nichinare that you found to be practical now?

Suzaki: I’m deviating a little away from acting for this: there was a particular lesson during induction training that continues to linger till even today at work. We had to bring what we perceived as weird clothes from home and lay them out on the floor, and then choose one of them to put on. Afterwards our lecturer brought clown-like red noses and asked us to put them on, we then had to do something in front of everyone for 3 minutes. This lesson continued for 1 month.

I was thinking “There are even lessons like that!?” (laughs). Moreover, I couldn’t prepare the jokes in advance, and had to present something with a clear state of mind during the lessons. I felt that it was especially difficult for quiet people, the same also went for me. But through those lessons, I was able to prepare myself for embarrassing situations, I would say to overcome them. and gained courage. Surprisingly, I was able to come up with something appealing. Also, we had to take something into consideration for the lessons: there was a rule that people watching the performer must not laugh, so looking at everyone’s stern faces….. It was really difficult (laughs). That is why this lesson was so memorable.

That was the stage for people whose acting didn’t normally stand out to shine. Taking note of their newfound appeal and fun, as well as watching the acting and self-written script of people with confidence flourish, it became clear that there were numerous approaches to this lesson. It was surely for the sake of jobs that require you to adlib, as well as teaching us the importance of not over-establishing the character and expressing ourselves at the point of recording.

——Aside from recordings, I also feel that opportunities for adlibbing have increased because of events, for example, and that is why the things you took away from those lessons are still being utilized on the field. Please share with us the appeal of Nichinare where you got to experience all these firsthand.

Suzaki: Nichinare allowed me to draw my inner self out in terms of acting. After all, the types of characters that everyone is good at are different, and while I was there, I was somehow able to understand “Ah, I’m suitable for this type of role”. I could also picture what kind of qualities I’m lacking in certain characters when I acted them out; in the end, it’s easier to portray these emotions after you have experienced them for yourself.

While seeking out that knowledge and experience, I discovered what kind of person I am, as well as my selling points. Spending time with many classmates and lecturers allowed me to understand things objectively, and I feel that is the appeal of Nichinare. Moreover, although the guideline of a once per week lesson may have its merits and demerits, for people who had to juggle work and lessons like me, it was a huge blessing. It would be really difficult to attend a training school with multiple lessons per week. Taking this point into consideration, I’m glad I went to Nichinare.

日本ナレーション演技研究所洲崎綾さんインタビュー後編4.jpg——Going forward, what are your aims as a voice actor?

Suzaki: Even though I have had a certain number of years of experience under my belt, I still feel that I’m young (when it comes to acting), there are many types of characters I have never acted out before. Moving forward, I want to widen my acting repertoire and rather than just acting out characters that I’m good at. That is why I feel Ōtorii Asuka (Mahō Shōjo Tokushusen Asuka)* will be able to show me a new side of my acting. I think it would be difficult to be able to voice any character, but transforming yourself to be someone you aren’t, I feel that is the beauty of acting.

Although it feels like an ordinary objective, I want to steadily gain experience through playing a variety of roles. That too includes games, a wide spectrum of jobs, and for these acting opportunities, I do not wish to apply this “I’d go with this pattern” style to them. No matter the type of character, I want to build the character up from the ground, even if the lines are similar to what I’ve seen, even if their appearances are similar, I want to carefully create my own image of them for each individual character.

*Covered in Part 1 of the interview

——Can we get a message from you for aspiring voice actors?

Suzaki: I think that acting is very profound. Even now, there are things that I don’t quite understand, the things that I look at are different from my seniors too, I feel that I have still got some way to go as far as acting is concerned. I’m sure there are many people who are standing at the start point, in the middle of their journey as well as people who want to step onto this platform. Presently, I’m experiencing the enjoyment I get from acting, but that is not because I became a professional. It is a feeling that has been present since my days in training school and that has become an extension of my job today.

Therefore, I want everyone who’s going to training school to find enjoyment in acting and to perceive the importance of dialogues as well as the flow of emotions. There were also hard times for me when I couldn’t pass auditions, but if I were to brood over that, I would only think negatively when I act. Although there are times you will feel that way, continue to put in effort so as not to weaken yourself. As long as you continue to do that, opportunities will open up for you.

I was anything but good back in training school, but there are many things that I picked up along the way. While keeping in mind the importance of daily life and experiencing various emotions, I would be glad if you can find your own path and walk towards it.

——How about the things you feel would be beneficial prior to joining a training school?

Suzaki: Generally speaking, I feel that gaining a variety of experiences is the best. Also, it would be good to watch a wide range of shows. That is not just limited to anime, but also dramas, movies, watching the daily lives of people for example. For example if you are a student, go observe the expressions of that weird teacher and all sorts of people, you may come to a realization like “unraveling a role just by getting close to the teacher!”. It’s difficult to picture something that you do not know, so they can be a good reference for you to relate to something that you have seen with your own eyes.

In short, go out there and accumulate those life experiences. Although I didn’t debut early, on the other hand I feel that it is offset by these experiences I went through as compared to another person who may have debuted earlier. I believe that the years of difference in debuting is by no means a waste of time, and there is really no such thing called too early or too late for your starting age.

——Those unremarkable scenes could be the ones that connect you to a role.

Suzaki: Yes, I want you to definitely live your life aggressively. For every event in your high school life, be it the culture festival or the sports meet, go in with everything you’ve got. That way, the memories will be burnt into your mind. For me it was the same, my days at Nichinare are still as vivid as ever. I’m sure that the acting that I’m able to do now is because of the accumulation of all these experiences, I think that it is important to lead an active life.

——Thank you for your time.


Interview, text: Toyabe Kouhei


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This interview was first published in Animatetimes on 4th December 2018. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.

Special thanks to Pyrite for proof reading!

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Sawashiro Chiharu’s Seiyuu Zukan

This is Seiyuu Zukan (Voice Actor Pictorial Book), where we interview up-and-coming
seiyuu, how they got their opportunity to become a seiyuu, their first work, as well as their personal life and any other interesting things, together with a mini photo shoot.
For the 5th edition, we have Sawashiro Chiharu-san, who is currently involved in  the PS3 and PSVita game, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters (Mato Kurenai Yūgekitai).

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――Why did you decide to become a seiyuu?

Sawashiro: When I was in high school, I was approached by a talent scout in Shibuya, but I was immersed in my club activities back then, so I rejected the offer. When I entered college, I eventually did some acting, and started to question myself what I really wanted to do in the future. At that time, my sister (Sawashiro Miyuki) was the deciding factor. I thought it would be nice if we got to stand on the same stage together.*

*Together, they have not had the opportunity to be standing next to each other as main roles, but they have appeared on the same anime for some shows, most recently providing the “Zawa” voices for Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa.

――How were you like when as a student?

Sawashiro: I concentrated on my club activities only. I was in the football club in elementary school, baseball club in middle school and handball club in high school. I really love sports, and I’m still playing baseball now. Previously, I hated being in the spotlight as a student (laughs) Even though some part of my heart must have yearned for it, I couldn’t really tell my parents about my interest in the entertainment world (laughs).

――What were the difficulties you faced when you made the decision to go forward as a seiyuu?

Sawashiro: Going to workshops (acting guidance), taking up voice training…and polishing my skills as an actor, at the same time, I had school work and part-time…come to think of it, it was really tough (laughs). I joined a theatre unit DEAD STOCK UNION, but since it’s a small troupe, I had to make all the big props by myself. There are also times when I would suddenly forget my lines even though I practised intensely for a month, times when I can’t bring out my best acting.

Also, 1 week before the performance, I caught influenza and went to the hospital, only to get told that I would need 5 days to recover… Furthermore, the week before the performance is reserved for the full dress rehearsal, and is an important period. So, I had to miss out on that and go straight to the actual event which taught me the importance of taking care of my physical condition.

――Having experienced life at the bottom, did your ambition of becoming a seiyuu grow stronger?

Sawashiro: Yeah. At the start, I did various things, but having a model in my sister by my side, I was gradually influenced by her and eventually the desire to become a seiyuu became stronger. I repeatedly acknowledged that the path towards a seiyuu as well as an actor wasn’t going to be easy, and in normal circumstances, I think it would difficult to see that as my future vision. However, having “someone living in that reality” made the destination easier to visualise. I was able to see the path to become a seiyuu laid on the backbone of hard work and diligence. Also, I wasn’t just indebted to my sister. I got many opportunities to speak with other seiyuu at the forefront of my activities, and watching them grapple with what’s in front of them made me want to work together with them in this industry.

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――Other than your sister, who are the seiyuu you look up to?

Sawashiro: I first saw Saitou Chiwa-san at an event where she appeared with my sister. She appeared to be a seiyuu who doesn’t get shackled by the restrictions and I also aspire to be able to act with freedom like her. As for male seiyuu, it would be Miyano Mamoru-san. While chasing after him, I found out that he didn’t just do voice acting, but also a wide spectrum of other activities. I had an opportunity to meet him recently, and he told me “Work hard!”. That invigorated me to push myself to find my goal.

――Do you have any run-ins with other seiyuu to share?

Sawashiro: My sister sometimes takes trips with her friends, when I go the airport to pick her up, and I thought the person sitting behind is from her usual group of friends so I don’t pay too much attention to them, since the person was wearing a mask and put on a cap. Afterwards, when I watched the annual end-of-year music programme on TV*, it was definitely that person sitting at the back of the car! Finding out things like this really shocked me (laughs).

*He’s referring to NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen, which is an annual New Year’s countdown music programme where 2 groups, red and white, battle with each other through songs.

――Going back to the present situation, what do you intend to do moving forward?

Sawashiro: I have spent 2 years in training school and thought about several things, and in the end I wanted to challenge myself in an unfamiliar environment, so I stepped out and started from the ground. Everyone was very kind to me in school, and I met many respectable teachers who would guide me with passion, so I’m extremely blessed. I want to repay their kindness moving forward.

――How does it feel to start your activities as a seiyuu?

Sawashiro: Since my first job was being involved in a game, I did the recording alone in the booth. But there were still 8 people in the production team watching from the outside, and it made me nervous since I have never had this experience. Also, that experience once again reminded me of the importance of smooth delivery and articulation so I’m practising it everyday now.

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――You play the role of Masamune Shiga in the April 10 release of Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters.

Sawashiro: It is a game that will be available on both PSVita and PS3. It is an original creation by the director, Shuho Imai-san, and I play one of the main characters in the game. It is also my first time playing a main role. Masamune is a high schooler who has exceptional grades and is capable of doing just about anything. He is the polar opposite of me and has a good head on his shoulders (laughs). The heroine is voiced by the famous Asuka (Neon Genesis Evangelion) cosplayer, Sakura Inagakisaki-san.

――You are also in Taito’s music game ‘Groove Coaster”.

Sawashiro: Yeah. I sang a rearranged version of ‘Densha de GO’, but I feel that the famous song is ‘Hontou ni Boku de Ii no?’ Even though I was nervous since it was a song from a game I used to play back in elementary school, the studio was very homey and got rid of those nerves. There are many original songs too, so I think it is a wonderful game.

――Are there any other work you want to talk about?

Sawashiro: In Kodansha’s Young Magazine serialization, Suna no Eikan (Crown of the Sand), I got to voice the main character in the animated comic version. He is quite the chatterbox so I got to talk for most of the 36 episodes (laughs). I won the role through the auditions, and I got described by the people at Kodansha as being a perfect fit for the role… Also, it seems like it was a hotly contested audition so I’m really happy to have landed the role.

――How about your hobbies?

Sawashiro: I play the guitar everyday! I also love singing and baseball. The annual pass was cheap when I was young so I would watch up to around 60 matches a year. For now, I support the Yokohama DeNa BayStars, their cheering song is really cool! The hook really fires you up (laughs). As for guitar, I also got involved with Petralka Anne Eldant III’s guitar song from Outbreak Company. They even listed my name in the credits for the CD (laughs).

――So you like both anime and games?

Sawashiro: When I was a student, I would wake up early to play games before I headed to school (laughs). I love fighting platforms such as Street Fighter II, and my addiction got extreme till I developed blisters on my fingers. Also, I would make my own baseball team on Jikkyō Powerful Pro Yakyū (Power Pros) and pit them out against other teams (laughs).

――It seemed that you also have quite a clumsy side to you…

Sawashiro: I watched mainly male-oriented anime, but not so much on the female-oriented side. I got to know about Uta no ☆Prince-sama♪ and thought that I wanted to appear in this series. Then, I half-jokingly asked my sister “Do you know Utapuri? I really want to get cast in this series, so do you know anyone inside?” She replied with “That…I’m actually inside of it.” which surprised me (laughs).

――Do you talk to your sister about work?

Sawashiro: Because we are siblings, she feels that it is not a good idea to teach me, so she adopts a policy to not teach me anything. Even when we are on the same studio set and shares stuff with me as a co-actor, my intention is to study with my own ability. However, she did teach me something that I didn’t learn back in school, which was the cue lamp (cue light) (laughs). Before that, I didn’t know that the the cue for the start of the recording was red… At first, I kept wondering what that light was for (laughs). Everyone else was thinking that it would be natural for me to have pick this up from my sister beforehand…

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――How about your aims as a seiyuu?

Sawashiro: Since I love sports, I hope to one day, be cast in a sports anime. It would be great if I could get into a baseball anime. Also, getting into genres that aren’t possible with theatre or drama, like fantasy. Also, I hope to act alongside my sister in a sibling role. I will work hard!

――Lastly, would you like to share a message for the readers of this column

Sawashiro: In order to deliver a smile to everyone, I will put in my best effort, and I hope to receive your support. I’m counting on you!

―― Thank you!

Please look forward to the next edition of Seiyuu Zukan!

Sawashiro Chiharu’s LINE blog
Sawashiro Chiharu’s Twitter

Interview: Uchida Nozomi, Tsukino Shizuku
Casting cooperation: Yoshimura Naoki

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This interview was first published on 11 April 2014 in ddnavi.com. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.

Q&A with Kohara Konomi (30/12/18)

Kohara Konomi does a Q&A on IG every now and then. Do check out the previous ones here! Also, she answers some questions that are written in foreign languages. For those questions and answers, I did not translate them and left them as they are. They are indicated in MAROON.



Q: What is the origin of your “Konomi” name?

A: My dad and mum both chose a character each and combined them together. Dad chose “好 (Ko)”, while mum chose “美 (Mi)”. I really like my name.

Q: If I manage to give birth to a kid, can we name her Konomi? I’ll be happy if you allow that!

A: Thank you both for always supporting me!✨ I’m delighted. What a thing! Is my name really okay!? You mentioned this in your letter to me before right? (●´人`●) That made me really happy. I talked to my mum before and she said “Sorry for that ( *´艸`) heh” lol. After he/she gets born, please tell me. Also, take care of your health! Thank you always.

Q: If you were to play a villain, are there any lines you want you want to say? Or is there any type of villain you want to act out?

A: If I were to choose, I want to try out being a villain who was supposed to be a friend!   ( *´艸`) It’s difficult to make the switch from good to bad but i think that’s what makes it cool.

Q: Do you add sugar to hot milk?

A: I like a tinge of sweetness (*∩ω∩) Hot Kahlúa is also amazing.

Q: Hirugano’s plateau milk from Gifu tastes really great, do try it out!

A: Thanks!! I’ll go look it up immediately.

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Photo credits: https://tatsuwo-blog.com/post-37007/

Q: Did Kohara-san have such a thing like using personal pronouns back when you were young? Did you have a period where you use “Boku (me: first person pronoun)”?

A: When I was in the lower grades of grade school, I used to refer myself as “Konomi is~”? I didn’t use “Boku” before (●´ー`●) On the opposite, I had many nicknames. “Bunmeido” and “Okonomiyaki” (Pun on her Konomi name) are some of the ones I had.

Q: When will you go to Kawagoe next?

A: I think I should go soon! Together with my sister from the show (Maekawa Ryōko-chan) (✿´ ꒳ ` )♡ After all, it’s a place that invigorates me ✨ I wanna go to Kumano Shrine and contribute an Ema again.

 

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Photo credits: https://matcha-jp.com/en/3235

 

Q: Were there any news from 2018 which left a lasting impression on you?

A: Plenty of them. The one that stood out the most was (the passing away of) Katsura Utamaru-san. Being loved by everyone, and even in his last moments, he was still thinking about rakugo and I think that is really great. Also, I talked about how I love The Drifters!* Ikariya Chōsuke is also cool. There’s something about the lifestyle of people from the older generation that makes them feel larger than life.

*A 2-part interview with Nakamoto Koji of The Drifters was published on bunshun.jp regarding some inside stories of the band.

Q: How do you feel about your growth in 2018?

A: To be honest, I don’t really know. I do plenty of self reflections daily. But, I’m beginning to like (my) expressions from day to day! I’ll work hard!

Q: I’m working part-time for this stretch of holidays as well as Christmas too! Let’s work hard together!

A: Thank you for your hard work! When I saw this comment, I replied in my mind “Do your best okay!” lol… This takes me back… When I was in Muji, I used to work 4-5 days of holidays in a stretch ^ ^ When it is time to rest, please make sure to rest well, okay?

Q: Are you happy now?

A: I’m so happy!

Q: What types of sushi do you like?

A: Fatty tuna! Salmon roe! Chawanmushi (steamed egg custard)! Lol

Q: Anything you desire now?

A: Humidifier!!!!! H U M I D I F I E R ! lol

Q: Thank you for your hard work! Do you have any plans to get lovey-dovey time with Zucchi before the end of this year?

A: Yes!!!!! We made a promise to meet and I’ll post the picture later.

Q: Have you been to Tochigi prefecture?

A: Nope! Where would you recommend? I hope to be able to visit all these different places one day.

Q: Other than Christmas and birthday, do you have any other ‘special days’?

A: Not at all. If there was one, the bloom of sakura flowers in spring 🌸 maybe? It gives a sense of “it’s starting!”. My own special day, how nice it would be if I have one (*´꒳`*) fufufu

Q: I failed my job promotion test and got depressed. What does Kohara-san do to change your mood at moments like this?

A: Before I became a seiyuu, I was working as an actor (drama, movies…etc), but before I got accepted at that company, I had to face countless rejections. I sent my CV to around 40 companies maybe… But then, I didn’t receive any responses. That made me really depressed, it lasted for around 1.5 years. But, i think that being depressed is also a good thing. Be as depressed as you want, then get up and move again! After all, life throws you 3 chances. If you don’t seize that chance and move forward properly, the chance will fly by. Go somewhere and charge up your energy. Please try your best ✨ I’m rooting for you. (Also, if there are unwanted documents or stuff lying around in your room, get rid of them because they suck up all the good fortune! Just doing that brought about big changes for me.)

Q: What is the most touching view you saw this year? For me, it is seeing the starry sky from Fuji-san’s 7th station!

A: That must be lovely!! It’s my dream to go to a place where I can see the starry sky one day. I answered this question in part 1, which was seeing the first sunrise of the day and the view I got to see at events,  but seeing how you got to visit such a wonderful place, I ended up wanting to reply to you (✿´ ꒳ ` ) I wanna see all these wonderful places for myself too!

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This Q&A was first published on 30 December 2018 on Instagram. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.


Q: When you mentioned about this Q&A, I was scratching my head to think of one and couldn’t come up with a decent one. Lol

A: Don’t worry about it, it’s fine. Thank you for all the letter contributions for my radio shows as well as shizucafe ✨ I’m counting on you in the future too.

Q: What’s your take away memory from your schooling days?

A: On the way back home from school, we ended up eating at a yakitori place lol. 4 high school girls in their school uniform in a yakitori place, isn’t that funny? lol

Q: What did you do when you faced difficult times in your life? How do you get over them, switch your mood around?

A: As long as you are alive, you get to experience all sorts of different things. When I was in school, I’d confide in my close friend, and toss aside stuff that I don’t wanna think about. But eventually, that didn’t make any sense, if it wasn’t by my own accord, I won’t be able to move forward. Now, when I face such issues, I will collate my thoughts around that and think of the next step. And even then, if it’s too painful for me, I will talk to my mum. She would also have things to talk to me about, and the phone calls would end up being super long… lol. When I was staying with my parents, we used to talk till 4am in the morning even though I have to be up early (for work). When hardship comes, it’s normal to feel negative about it, but only you yourself can turn that into positivity, so move on! Sleep to turn my mood around! Indulge in food! Watch your favourite shows! That’s about it. Sorry for the long reply lol.

Q: Do you like making plans?

A: I love making them. In order to allow the people I’m going out with to fully enjoy the gatherings, I would always take the initiative.

Q: Koko-chan, what’s your target for 2019?

A: Work hard on my each and every of my job as usual!

Q: Is Kohara-san a love detective?

A: I love conversations on love! I want to feel my heart thumping for Kaguya-sama radio, so keep those mails and letters coming. Everyone is only sending in funny stuff, to liven up the radio! Lol (I may be saying that, but I’m thankful to everyone. Working together with everyone is fun lol. I’m counting on you guys next year too lol) heh heh

Q: What’s your favourite type?

A: I talked about this in shizucafe* with Zucchi previously, but it turned out that our preferred types are totally different, which I don’t quite understand myself. Lol~ Let’s see. I like someone who is diligent in their work, share their laughter with me. Also, someone who I can properly exchange “Thank you” and “Sorry” with. It feels like a common thing, but it’s a very important thing.

*Shizucafe is a niconico web stream series that is hosted by Ishigami Shizuka.

Q: I guess all girls like illumination* after all?

A: I think so too! I love them myself. That’s one of the reasons why I love winter (*´꒳`*) ✨ ufufu

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Photo credits: Dmarge.com

*Japan has illumination shows, decorations in winter. One of the most famous one is the one pictured above in Mie, Nabana no Sato.

Q: Has Koko-chan ever gotten drunk before?

A: Nope lol. I haven’t experienced getting drunk before lol.

Q: Koko-chan’s makeup is really cute 💓✨Do you have any makeup feature you especially like?

A: I can’t say that of myself 💦 Since the past, I’ve not been putting on heavy makeup. I do my own makeup even when I appear for events. If they aren’t products that my skin is used to, it will turn red. (cries) I have a complex because of my low nose. If I were to point out a feature, I make it a point to take care of my long eyelashes at the corner of my eyes. lol

Q: Please teach me a magic spell to stay on the bright side!

A: Keep a smile on! Even if there are hard times, don’t give that up. Pick yourself up when you fall.

 

Everyone, thank you for all your questions!
I was able to answer most of them (*´꒳`*)
It was really fun!
I’m looking forward to all the responses to my replies too.

Thank you.

 

Please follow Koko-chan at her IG!

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This Q&A was first published on 30 December 2018 on Instagram. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.

Q&A with Kohara Konomi (29/12/18)

Kohara Konomi does a Q&A on IG every now and then. Do check out the previous ones here! Also, she answers some questions that are written in foreign languages. For those questions and answers, I did not translate them and left them as they are. They are indicated in MAROON.


Q: Why did I buy this…a feeling like this, did this happen to you this year?

A: That happens quite often lol, I can say that for clothes haha. I started living alone this year so I think I ended up buying too much but they are important so I guess that’s okay.

Q: Merry Christmas! What’s the number one present you wish for?

A: Sorry for being late! Merry Christmas ✨ For now, I guess… Hotpot. Lol sorry for being realistic haha. I would love a Doraemon. Something like going out with him. Bringing out all these mystery tools… It will surely be fun!

Q: Based on Koko-chan’s post, I bought materials to make my own lipstick 💄What combinations do you recommend?

A: You remembered! It was quite a while back too~✨ I like gentle (moisturizing) lipsticks. I think it’s the right fit for winter now (*∩ω∩) Please share with me your report when you finished them.

Q: Something you must do before an important occasion. Do you do anything like that? For example, the day before a test…

A: Something that makes me nervous…the first episode screening of an anime for example. What do I do… I end up being unable to sleep… I would write down whatever thoughts I had at that moment in a diary maybe (●´ー`●) Also, I reflect back on the past. What do you do in your case?

Q: I intend to spend the end of the year reading a book, do you have any recommendations?

A: I like Yoshimoto Banana-san’s “Kitchen”. I also recommended “Love Generation” (Nozawa Hisashi) previously. If you have any love stories to recommend, please share them with me.

Q: Are you going to eat mochi for New Year’s day?

A: Hmm should I haha I wanna eat 10! lol

Q: Rii-chan (Nagae Rika) is a Tiktoker, how about Koko-chan? Are you gonna use it?

A: I tried it out but I’m shy so I didn’t post them lol and deleted them right away hahaha. If our play research group (Asoken) ends up wanting to do it, we will post something after that lol.

Q: Are there any characters you want to see in Santa cosplay? Lol. I want to see the 3 characters from Asoken in them.

A: They would look good in them ✨ Kasumi would be sporting a slight grin lol. As for me… Kirin-chan from Gakuen Babysitters (●´ー`●)💕 she will definitely look cute in it.

Q: Do you like Christmas? Or are you the type who can go without it to the point that everyday is just a mass of love?*

A: I like Christmas, but I’m okay with the latter too. But I still love Christmas 💗 love the atmosphere in the streets.

*The reader is evidently referencing this “Ai no Katamari (Mass of love)” by KinKi Kids but I think Koko-chan didn’t catch that.

Q: Are you going to make a Christmas cake?

A: Nope (●´ー`●) Maybe Asoken should do one! ✨They (Hina & Rii) will definitely be too noisy lol

Q: Any festive plans for the New Year?

A: For New Year, I don’t have any special plans, but I did go to my relatives’ house and had lots of fun meeting my cousins. We are close in age so we get along well.

Q: What’s your favourite episode from Tsuki ga Kirei?

A: Ehh! I can’t single out one. I love all of them. If I really had to choose one, it would be episode 10. The scene where they passed by each other amidst Koutaro’s jealousy that is typical of puberty. It was nerve wracking to see  what happens next, and that kiss from Akane at the end sums it up… Akane was so cute there. But it was embarrassing, yep. lol

Q: Merry Christmas, do your best~

A: Thank you. I’ll do my best!!

Q: What style do you like your chicken to be cooked in?

A: Seasoned with soy sauce? Maybe. But, recently I tried grilled chicken with rosemary herb and I liked it (●´人`●) I want to cooking it myself but I wonder if it will taste out alright.

Q: Every time I look at your photos, I feel that your skin is really beautiful! What kind of cosmetic products do you use?

A: No, no, that isn’t true… I use products from Albion series often ( ˘ ³˘) As for toning water, I use the toning water for sensitive skin from Muji.

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Q: What is the best add-on to rice?

A: Hmmmmm, Natto (Fermented soy beans). Eh, no, negitoro (tuna minced with Welsh onion leaves)!! lol

Q: What musical does Koko-chan likes? I like Shiki Theatre Company’s “Beauty and the Beast” and “La La Land”.

A: Ooh! I like Shiki’s “Little Mermaid”!! It’s a musical that sets my heart thumping and thinking about it while on the way back (●´ー`●) I wanna watch it again.

Q: What was your top highlight in 2018?

A: Mm~how do I choose.. Asobi Asobase perhaps. The recording sessions were great (fun), and I got to challenge myself singing songs that I never thought I could… (●´人`●) Moving forward, I want to make full use of my abilities as an actor again!

Q: When did you stop believing in Santa Claus’s existence? I believed in his existence till I reached high school.

A: Sa-Santa Claus exists!!!! Lol I’m about the same as you. When will my turn to be santa come…(cries)

Q: Please teach me a way to kill time when commuting on the trains ✨

A: Reading a book, using your phone ^^I browse through the pages on the travel app “Kinarino” quite often. Sorry that my answer turns out to be using an app lol.

Q: What food is there? (This reader submitted a question in broken Japanese, so I’m keeping that essence here)

A: Do you mean my favourite food? I like pork miso soup recently ^^I love miso.

Q: How was this year? (2018)

A: A year that I’m grateful to many different people. Maybe it sounds really normal, but I really feel that way. ^^

 

Please follow Koko-chan at her IG!

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This Q&A was first published on 29 December 2018 on Instagram. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.