Sorry about the long gap after the last translation I've done. I guess many people were busy during the holidays too. Anyways, I just bought the Arashi Around Asia '08 pamphlet (Taipei version), so I'd like to translate part of it. In case you're wondering, the group talk in the pamphlet is set on 2 blank, white pages with the words in indigo color and no pics, so I guess nobody is interested in such boring scans...lol. The talk is LONG, as it pretty much fills up 2 whole pages of the pamphlet, so I split the translation into 2 parts. Also, sorry about the random light gray comments I stuck in. I tried my best to make the translation as accurate as possible, but I'm afraid there're still some mistakes and awkward wordings. Onto the Arashi group talk~
-- Kokuritsu is the starting point of your Asia tour; a total of 140,000 people came to see the 2 shows on those 2 days. Now that the [Kokuritsu] shows have ended successfully, let's listen to everyone's current feelings.
Sho: I was touched by too many things those 2 days, so it's hard for me to say which one I was touched by the most...Nonetheless, when I looked at Kokuritsu, that outdoor venue, the moment that all the seats were filled by the audience..that sight was the best part.
Nino: That's what I thought too. Like when I looked down from the torch platform, somehow...it was really amazing.
-- It was very shocking to have used the torch daringly for the concert. By the way, it was very high...was Sakurai-kun (who's scared of heights) okay?
Sho: That was totally fine! After all, thanks to the hot-air balloon last time (referring to the time when he was singing from the balloon that was 30 m above ground in a previous tour). Since I overcame that, this time was no problem. Also, there was a place for me to stand this time, so I felt much better (calmly said).
Jun: Because there was a place to stand? (laugh)
Sho: Right! That tour [Kokuritsu con] was of great importance to me. (laugh)
-- The stairs from the torch platform to the stage are steep and long, and everyone ran down them!
Jun: It was scary, going down those stairs! Moreover, what was scary is that the height and the number of steps for each level are not standardized. There are even places with a curve.
Nino: Like I thought, it's because they were handmade!
-- Ehh? You guys made those stairs!?
Jun: Right, handmade. (laugh) That's why it was like 5 steps, a small break, and then 4 steps...kinda like that kind of feeling.
[wait! now i'm confused. well, at least i understand that arashi didn't make those staircases themselves. =__= but the stairs were made specifically for their con? o__o? or was jun just going along with the joke...?]
Aiba: Because of that, once in a while, there're places that are too far apart, and it feels like I was missing my footing. (laugh)
Nino: And then for the few steps near the bottom, their height gets shorter. (laugh)
-- The lighting ceremony on the torch platform symbolizes the connection between Japan and Asia, and the start of the tour. Can you talk about the details of the concert process?
Jun: About wanting to use the torch platform for our concert, we had the idea from the beginning...
Sho: Yup, we've said it from the time we first went to see the venue.
Jun: Yeah. On a morning 3 months before the concert, we went to see the venue for the first time. When we went on the torch platform, the view that we could see from there was really beautiful. The roof of Kokuritsu can be considered as the "true center of Tokyo"; we can even see the Tokyo government buildings and such standing out beautifully. Talking about the meaning of starting our Asia tour from this Tokyo show [Kokuritsu], it should be used to create momentum. Besides, we wrote our new song "Re(mark)able." It was written as the kind of song that we'd sing when we went on that torch platform, a song that we'd sing for the Asia tour, and a song about ourselves now.
-- So "Re(mark)able" has this kind of background.
Sho: Right. Because of that, the director said to me, "Sakurai-kun, I want you to write lyrics that say something like 'Light the fire!' " I thought, "What did he just say to me?" (laugh)
[lol. it's funny how sho was confused at the director's words, not knowing that they'd use the torch when singing re(mark)able.]
Jun: Followed his directions and wrote the lyrics "light up the torch."
Aiba: He was surprisingly obedient (to the director's orders)!
Nino: Wrote the lyrics while thinking "What was he saying?" (laugh)
Sho: Because I can't ever make "Light the fire!" sound cool. (laugh) However, like what Matsujun said about "Re(mark)able" earlier, I think there're other venues of the same scale [as Kokuritsu], but the meaning of Kokuritsu lies in performing at the "true center of Tokyo." From that true center of Tokyo, Kokuritsu, where we can see the government buildings, we go on an Asia tour again. That's why we used the torch platform for our performance.
-- That's right, really. But...it was impressive to hear that it's okay to use the area surrounding the torch so daringly!
Jun: Yeah. About that, we were surprised too. (laugh) We asked about to what extent we could use it, and the staff at Kokuritsu said, "As long as you follow the rules, it's fine." But still, wasn't the design of that performance already challenging the limit? At the beginning, we planned on coming up to the stage by an elevator/lift, but when we finally decided on that, it was already late in the process.
[from now on, i'm going to use "lift" instead of "elevator" in the translation. i feel like sho and jun are dominating the talk so far...and they'll continue to do so till the end.]
Sho: That's right. When I came back from Beijing after (being a caster for) the Olympics, they told me that the lift was still being built in Kawasaki! (laugh)
Jun: I heard there's only 1 lift like that in Kantou. It's that kind of impressive device.
Aiba: Actually, I was surprised. When you went on the lift, weren't you a bit scared?
Sho: Ehh? I was totally fine. Since there was something for me to stand on!
(All: roar of laughter)
Jun: But, on the torch platform where we stood, because there wasn't anything around it...if someone just pushed from behind, we'd be over.
Sho: Yeah. Matsujun kept on saying, "Kowai, kowai," which was unexpected.
[note: kowai, 怖い = scary]
Nino: He kept on saying, "I, c-can't do it!" (imitating Matsumoto). (laugh)
Jun: It was scary. I, was hopeless. Like the lift, when the image of falling off comes to my mind, I'm no good. That's why this time, the moment I thought, "Ahh...If I fell from here, I wouldn't survive," it was really scary.
-- The top of the torch platform is the highest place at Kokuritsu. How was the view from there?
All: The best! It was really the best.
Nino: That was impressive!
Sho: I have photos of that, want to see them? ...This can't be expressed by words, right? (laugh)
[...as in the impressive view can't be described by words.]
-- (laugh) But still, it felt good to perform outdoors.
Ohno: (emotionally) It felt good, really.
[a whole quarter into the talk, and now ohno finally says something...then he goes back to his own little world until a bit later.]
Aiba: It was really the best!
Jun: Also, we chose songs that are suitable for an outdoor performance. When listening to the old Arashi songs again, we clearly felt like songs such as "Aozora Pedal" and "Love so sweet" are very good for outdoors. Also, songs like "Still..." and "Subarashiki Sekai"...when lining up this kind of songs, we thought of singing them while it was still bright and what kind of view we would see.
Sho: It was interesting at the beginning of our meeting when we talked about when the sun would set. Initially, the sunset time that the concert staff told us was totally wrong. (laugh) One time, didn't we make the set list according to that timing?
Jun: Yeah. They told us that the sun would set after 7 pm at the beginning.
Sho: Then we said, "Wait! Isn't that too late?" After checking, it seemed like it'd be around 6:30 pm?
Jun: A bit after 6 pm.
Sho: It was dangerous! (laugh) That is the part when we fought against the sun.
-- About the set list, it looked like Aiba-kun and Nino-kun were the ones working on it initially, but how much of it was used at last?
Nino: About 20%, wasn't it? (laugh) However, the songs that we chose were often used!
Aiba: Like "La Tormenta"! The ones accepted were of the minor type. (laugh)
["minor type" = songs that Arashi doesn't sing often.]
Jun: For the opening, initially, Nino thought of starting with "Subarashiki Sekai" while Aiba-chan thought of starting with "Happiness."
Sho: I think perhaps any song would make the audience feel touched, but when singing "Love so sweet" as the opening, the lyrics matched with the outdoor feel. It felt really complete.
Aiba: Hmm. Also, nothing was better than being sunny both days!
Ohno: That's right. It was really good to be clear.
-- That's right. But doesn't that refute the saying of Arashi = rain men?
Sho: About whether our name "Arashi" is established, this is another topic.
Aiba: Even though it rained at the very last part of the last day, that felt good.
Jun: Moreover, what was great is that once the concert was over, after we went back to the dressing room, it turned into heavy rain. It was thundering too, that time.
-- It's really great that it didn't rain during the performance. The fireworks at last too, they were very beautiful...
Ohno: Yeah, those fireworks...were very dangerous, really.
Nino: Really. Jun-kun, I thought you were hurt that time.
Ohno: I thought so too.
Jun: About the fireworks, I was the one ordering them to be fired at last. When I said, "Hanabi~!" the fireworks behind me shot up with a sound "Don!" However, before that, a huge special firework shot up from the stage's front...I forgot about that both days. (laugh) On the first day, I was standing a few steps away from that special firework place, and in front of my eyes, it went "Ba-n! so I was really surprised. On the second day, I was standing at an even closer place. "Ba-n!" The firework shot up really close (to my left arm)...That was super scary! (laugh)
[hanabi, 花火= fireworks. glad that jun wasn't really hurt by the fireworks. i thought the staff would make sure it was safe to shoot the fireworks up, or at least tell the boys to be careful? o__o?]
Ohno: Really, it was that (imitating Matsujun jumping back) kind of feeling.
Jun: It looked like a gag. (laugh) It was really dangerous.
Nino: But those fireworks were impressive. I heard that even at the nearby Jingu Stadium, a lot of the audience were clapping.
Jun: Was it okay with the fireworks and other sounds?
Nino: I heard they could hear them clearly. My friend went there just to watch a baseball match, and he said even though at the key moment when the batter was getting a strike out, everyone was clapping because they saw the fireworks. (laugh)
Jun: We're very sorry. They couldn't concentrate on baseball, could they?
Nino: Those balloons too, they seemed to have gone quite far! (A total of 50,000 balloons were released for the show. The balloons were made of environmentally friendly materials and rubber from natural sap. They deteriorate into the soil at the same speed as leaves do.)
[haha. it's kinda funny how they add in all these details of the balloons. good to know that they're not polluting the earth with biodegradeable balloons! xD]
Jun: Right! Me too, when I was on the way back, the manager said, "Ahh, balloon!" It was easy to find them. (laugh)
-- The balloons were a beautiful show too!
Aiba: Ne. It was pretty.
Nino: It was pretty. I was touched by it too.
Sho: For us too, we saw the balloons for the first time at the actual concert, since they weren't released during the rehearsal. While we were singing for the real performance and the audience went "Waah...!" we looked up and said "Uwah~!" like them. (laugh)
[to be continued. this is just the first half!]
Wondering why Ohno didn't talk much? Go to PART 2.
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed it!
Also, happy new year everyone!