Hot Pepper 2013 April: ayu Feature Article

Original article from here.

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Past experiences are fodder for the future. Like this, we accumulate it all, decade after decade

With her latest original album “LOVE again” and setting of new records, Hamasaki-san has started off her 15th debut Anniversary debut on a great note. For her nationwide tour starting in April, she embraces the feelings of “returning favours” as she decides on a setlist based on fans’ request votes. Full of enthusiasm, she wish to push out more surprises to bring joy to everyone.

What will this year’s tour be like?
“This tour will consist only of songs which everyone tells me they want to hear, so I predict that every single show will be as exciting as if it is the finale itself. I definitely have to give it my all this time, so much more than before!”

What are some of the things you enjoy during the long tour period?
“Probably the meals after each live. The local staff members at each venue will bring us to the very best restaurants in the city, so we really never hit a miss. By the way, the big hit during last year’s tour was a soba restaurant in Nagano. It’s a cosy little place, but reviews of the place were so exaggerated, with raves like “everyone wants to eat that soba, so they do a live there”. So until I actually tasted it myself, I believed that it was really an exaggeration  But it was really so delicious, I was amazed! If we go again this year, I’d definitely have the cold nattou soba again.”

Is there a must-have item when you return to hometown Fukuoka?
“Tonkotsu ramen will never go wrong! (laugh)”

Do you visit ramen restaurants?
“Ahaha. I eat mine with lots of red ginger. (laugh) There’s an image that “ayu only eats ramen from the best restaurants, delivered to her room”, but I sometimes visit izakayas downtown with my friends. There, I chat good-humouredly with some old folks who don’t know who I am, so I’m not averse to these kinds of things. Sometimes I visit restaurants owned by my friends, and sit elbow to elbow with fans, but everyone leaves me alone at those times. So everyone, please do invite me out more, so that I don’t get confined indoors~ (laugh)”

Do you prefer Japanese or Western food?
“I eat everything. Having to choose between one is so old-school. (laugh) I don’t eat things like cakes, because I prefer salty foods, like those side drinks that comes with your beer. I like going out with friends who eat heartily. Some people, I think we call them picky eaters? Like those who order just a salad even when they said they’d have a meal with you. I feel that to eat is to live, so eating is something really important to me. So people who neglect this are a little… Because once we don’t feel the same way, half the enjoyment of mealtimes is gone.”

Do you cook for yourself?
“Yes. And I’m the type of cooker who leaves the kitchen spick-and-span after cooking. My personality just dislikes having my completed meal in a messy kitchen.”

Any food that you’ve been obsessed with lately?
“I’m trying out hotpots now. I’m receiving instruction at my friend’s restaurant, but there’s just so many different spices and ways of cooking. Plus, it’s not a simple meal, and cooking a big pot when there’s only one me in the house is a little strange… Anyway, I often cook refreshments for my staff, and when people ask me what I’m good at, I can only answer with motherly things, like curry, stew, or hamburger steaks. Actually, whenever I bring food in, everyone says “Thank you, mum” (laugh).”

That’s unexpected…! By the way, your 15th Anniversary is like a break, so have you ever thought about starting something new this year…?
“I want to become an outdoors person. When I returned a few days ago from overseas, I woke up unusually early due to jetlag, and just thought that the morning air felt great. So that’s that, but it’s a big obstacle. However, I’d like to become a morning person this year.”

Hamasaki-san has overcome lots of things in the past 15 years despite her busy schedule, so there’s nothing that you can’t accomplish should you put your mind to it, right?
“I think that I’ve worked hard because I was doing something I like. In contrast, thinking “it’ll be great if I can become a morning person” is not going to work out. (laugh)”

So, is there anything that the artiste Hamasaki Ayumi would like to become in the future?
“Probably to keep on progressing, no matter what happens. Whatever experiences I’ve had in the past, I’ve overcome it all, and they are the fodder that would sustain the future me. I wish to accumulate more experiences, decade after decade. That’s what I’d like to be. I’m not trying to act strong, but it’s truth that in the end, all the things I’ve learnt are supporting me right now. So even if I’m being misunderstood, I trust that I will reach out someday, and that’s how I can move forward. I don’t think about things like “it’s ok if they don’t understand me”. I always believe that “I will reach them someday”, and that is something that won’t change even in the future.”

That is definitely the reason why she has managed to run a straight path through these 15 years. Her songs, lyrics, shows… Just like how Hot Pepper is readily available on the streets, “Hamasaki Ayumi” is in peak season this year, and who knows, you may discover something new through this experience with her.

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TEXT / Tsurutani Takako
DESIGN / Takahashi Sawako (PEAKS)
PHOTO / Kamo Masayuki (Iris)

HAIR / Sukegawa Yoshiyuki (Allure)
STYLING / Itou Kei (ab fab)
MAKE-UP / Kiyota Jin (ROND.)
NAILS / Aiko (es-nail)

Head crown 9450yen (Planche/Atelier Senka) TEL / 03-3499-6820
Lace Long Dress, Bracelet, Others; Model’s own

Translation: Misa-chan