CHEERZ, the app for cheering on your favorite idols, isn’t just limited to Japanese, and is available in English and Chinese (Traditional), as well as French, and is used by idol fans around the world. As part of a campaign, every month at TGU, we interview CHEERZ’s monthly ranked top three girls.

Our idols have just finished wrapping up a very busy summer, and now fall is upon us. When people think of fall, they often associate it with it “autumn appetites” (“shokuyoku no aki”) and being “the season of the arts” (“geijutsu no aki”), so today that’s what we’ll be interviewing Karin Ochi from Stand-Up! Hearts, Sheena from Tokyo CLEAR’S, and Mai Kotone about!

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Left : Mai Kotone, Center : Karin Ochi (Stand-Up! Hearts), Right : Sheena (TOKYO CLEAR’S)

– To start off, could you please introduce yourselves?

Karin: I’m Karin from Stand-Up! Hearts. I’m 17 and in my second year of high school. Everyone calls me Ochi-chan or Ochi. Recently in the group I’ve become the one everyone picks on. (laugh)

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Sheena: Nice to meet you, I’m Sheena from the cleaning unit Tokyo CLEAR’S. Please call me Shee-chan.

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Mai: I’m Mai Kotone, a Great Migration kind of idol. People usually call me Mainya, but because we’ve already got Ochi-chan and Shee-chan, I’d like to be Mai-chan for today.

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– First of all, on the topic of autumn appetites, could you tell us what your favorite foods are?

Mai: I love karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken), and even had some Karaage-kun (popular bite-size fried chicken sold at a convenience store called Lawson) before I came here today.

Karaage kun

Karaage kun

– So you like Karaage-kun, too?

Mai: I do. But Karaage-kun feels more like a snack, so today I had some after lunch. But there times I eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, too.

– Really? But it’s so heavy.

Mai: Maybe if it were something like tonkatsu (Japanese-style pork cutlets) it might feel heavy, but I don’t eat anything like that; karaage doesn’t make me feel that way at all.

– Is there any karaage you’d recommend to our overseas readers?

Mai: My favorite is the karaage bento (lunch box) from Origin. There are two different flavors, so you can enjoy comparing the two. One is salted and the other is flavored with soy sauce. You can try both and then decide which one you like better.

– That’s a good tip. They have Origin all over Japan, which means overseas visitors can enjoy it, too.

Sheena: How can you eat that much karaage and still be so thin…?

Everyone: Yeah, we want to know!

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Mai: My body type seems to be one that doesn’t gain weight easily. Even when I go out to eat with staff, I always eat the most. But I’m really envious of Westerners with their curves! Because whenever I go abroad people always mistaken me for a kid… (laugh) I started eating chicken, or karaage, because I heard it would make your bust size grow. You’ve heard myths like that before, right?

Everyone: Totally. (laughs)

Mai: I heard this one when I was a high school student and I thought, “This sounds awesome!” and started eating chicken, and then realized how delicious it was! After that I started eating it every day.

– Wow! So did it work?

Mai: I can’t say that it did… But I want to keep trying it for a little while longer.

– I hope you see some results! Thanks for your input. How about you, Sheena?

Sheena: I think Japanese vegetables and fruits are really good. So I want to appeal to everyone by saying Japanese vegetables are delicious. When I was a little girl, I used to each the vegetables my grandmother grew in her fields. I definitely would like overseas visitors to try them. Like please have some Japanese vegetables when you visit.

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– So what’s your favorite vegetable?

Sheena: Ahhh, I have too many! I like leafy greens like lettuce.

– Thanks. And what about you, Karin?

Karin: If we’re talking fall foods, then I’m totally addicted to chestnuts. I just had some chestnut taiyaki. (Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake.)

– Chestnut taiyaki?! That’s not something you see every day. So your favorite dishes are ones with chestnut?

Karin: It’s a little out of season, but my favorite is eating kuri kinton (candied chestnuts with sweet potato) during New Year’s. Like you know how when you visit your grandmothers house and she makes osechi (traditional New Year’s food)? I would always eat all the kuri kinton by myself, so she would always prepare a special plate of it just for me. (laugh)

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– You must really love it. (laugh)

Karin: So I would like overseas visitors to give it a try.

– It’s something unique to Japan. Moving on, after “autumn appetites” comes “the season for the arts”. I’d like you all to draw us a picture. Are any of you good at drawing? No one, huh. (laugh) Okay, well how about drawing Doraemon (a popular children’s anime character) for us?

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Karin: When I was in elementary school I used to practice drawing Doraemon all the time.

Sheena: I don’t think I can draw a neat circle.

Mai: I know what you mean!

Sheena: Does yours look all bent out of shape?

Mai: I can’t do it at all!

– That’s because they say you can’t be good at drawing if you can’t draw a clean circle. (laugh)

Mai: Isn’t that because the body will look all bent out of shape? (laugh) Now everyone will know how bad I am.

– You have three minutes! Ready, start!
では3分で書いてみて下さい。よーいスタート!

Sheena: Mine already looks weird…

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Mai: Does Doraemon have big eyes or small eyes?

Karin: I think people would get angry if I call my drawing as Doraemon.

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Mai: Does Doraemon have a nose? He does, right?

– Half of the time has already passed, so you only have a minute and 30 seconds left.

Mai: I remember now! He does have a nose!

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Karin; I’m finished.

– That was fast. That’s Karin for you. There’s still 30 more seconds.

Mai: I can’t draw his body at all.

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– Okay, time’s up! Let’s see each of your drawings. How about you go first, Sheena?

Sheena: (shows her drawing)

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Everyone claps.

Sheena: Does it resemble him? They won’t get angry? What a relief!

– I think it’s very sincere. It shows your respect for them!

Mai: It’s a well-drawn picture by a good artist.

– Mai, you’re next.

Mai: I’m feeling confident. Here it is!

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– It’s kinda close to his real form… And this is the take-copter (The Hopter), right?

Mai: That’s right! I thought I would try to add something like that.

– But you got his body and his pocket, and it’s not too far off. Thank you. Now it’s your turn, Karin.

Karin: It’s been awhile since I’ve drawn anything… I think it turned out cute, though!

– So let’s see it!

Karin: Ready, go!

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Everyone: Cute…?!

– Great, thank you very much.

Everyone laughs.

– That’s all.

Mai: That was fast!(laugh)

Karin: I thought there must be some color that goes here. Then I remembered it’s supposed to be red. And this is yellow. I accidently made the nose blue. But the last time I draw Doraemon was when I was in elementary school. This is what happened after not drawing after such a long time.

– Thank you. We plan on giving it to one lucky overseas fan as a present.

To enter the drawing: contact@tokyogirlsupdate.com
Subject: CHEERZ Interview Present
Please include your address, name, and contact number in the e-mail.
*The winner will be randomly selected.

– Thank you all for your effort. It really went along with the “season of the arts” theme. Next, I’d like you to tell us about something that really cheers you up.

Karin: Natto (fermented soybeans). Lately I’ve been eating it every day. I eat it with sushi vinegar and soy sauce, but with more vinegar than soy sauce.

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– Do you eat it for breakfast?

Karin: I have it for breakfast and dinner. Lately, instead of eating it with rice, I’ve been eating my mom’s natto omelettes. I love natto so much that before I used to buy it on the way to school. But when I’d eat it for lunch at school, my friends would go, “It stinks! This is the first time we’ve ever seen someone eat natto at school!”

– It’s not something you really eat out in public. (laugh) You went to an all-girls high school, right?

Karin: Yeah, it was an all-girls school. I would think, but it’s okay if it’s just natto, right? Just let me have my natto! (laugh)

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– And you, Sheena?

Sheena: Ta-da!

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Mai: Cute! What is it~

Sheena: My birthday was on September 16th, and I received it from a fan.

Everyone: Wow!

Sheena: They gave one to each of the other CLEAR’S members, too. It always lifts my spirits. Things done by hand always feel special. I get a lot of energy from it. They also made a banner for us, and went around collecting signatures from everyone else not on the banner. With so many people cheering us on, it really keeps me going. It’s reassuring that we have so many friends.

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– That’s a really good story you’ve shared with us. How wonderful.

Sheena: It’s really important to me. It’s my treasure.

– That’s the perfect answer coming from an idol. (laugh)

Everyone laughs.

– Thank you. And finally, what about you, Mai?

Mai: Let’s see. Recently I’ve been going back and forth to Taiwan, and this December I’ll fly there again. I read Chinese books when I want to cheer myself up. It makes me want to study harder and do my best, so studying Chinese gives me energy.

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– Have you learned a lot?

Mai: Not much yet. (laugh)

Sheena: But she really has a lot of pages dog-eared!

Mai: Yeah. (laugh) When I first went to Taiwan it was for a performance during this year’s tour, but even though it was my first time it was more like a solo concert.

– It was, wasn’t it! A solo concert despite it being your first time!

Mai: Exactly! So I felt really uneasy. Like oh my god, what should I do. But when I actually went on stage, about 90% of the fans were Taiwanese, and a lot of people came out to see me. I memorized a lot of Chinese, but I couldn’t put together what I wanted to say very well. But during the performance, a fan called out to me in Japanese saying, “It’s okay to use Japanese, Mai!” I said things like, “Yesterday I came to Taiwan and ate this and this,” and it was like everyone understood me; it was that kind of solo show, and it made me want to try and learn more Chinese for next time so I began taking a Chinese class. Last time I was there, I sang part of the lyrics to one of my songs, “Dreamscape☆”, in Chinese. Everyone was really happy about that, so it made me want to do my best to be able to communicate well in Taiwan next time.

– What would you say the hardest part about Chinese is? For example, the intonation.

Mai: There are four different ways to pronounce things, but if the pronunciation changes, it also changes the meaning, so I keep practicing the pronunciation on my own so I can remember the sound and that doesn’t happen.

– But they say that if you practice Chinese, your singing will get better! It’ll give you better pitch.

Mai: That’s right; my teacher said that Chinese was like a song.

– Do you have a favorite Chinese word?

Mai: Um, a favorite word? Zhēnzhū nǎichá!

– And what does it mean?

Mai: It means tapioca milk tea!

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Everyone laughs.

Mai: Taiwanese tapioca milk tea is really good! There’s a shop called ChunShuiTang that’s even opened in Japan, and I love it! I made it a goal of being able to order there by myself last time I went there when I was in Taiwan. When I told them, “Zhēnzhū nǎichá,” they answered, “Okay, okay,” and it made me really happy. (laugh)

And finally, it’s time for our CHEERZ pair photo-taking corner! I think all of you great at taking your own selfies, but this time you’ve taken CHEERZ pictures of each other instead.

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(Photographer) Sheena → (Model) Karin

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I took a picture of Karin with her cute Doraemon, because it would be a waste not to, and now it looks even cuter! Ah, give me a big hug Doraemon! So cute!

(Photographer) Mai → (Model) Sheena

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When you think of CLEAR’S, you think of cleaning, right? (To the CHEERZ staff) You don’t happen to have a vacuum cleaner… Do you? Thank you! It really matches the color of her knitted top and I think the picture came out looking very Sheena-like.

(Photographer) Karin → (Model) Mai

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I heard that Mai’s fans bring flags, so I made an impromptu one! (laugh) I don’t know which one came out the best… Maybe this one?

Related links
CHEERZ : https://cheerz.cz/
Stand-Up! Hearts official site : http://stand-up-project.jp/hearts.html
CLEAR’S official site : http://clearsosouj2.wix.com/kirei
Mai Kotone official site : http://www.jvcmusic.co.jp/-/Artist/A024441.html

Read more CHEERZ interviews
vol.1 : Motoko Nakane (STARMARIE), Hikari Takiguchi (drop), and Kokoro Shinozaki (petit pas!)
http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/featured/cheerz-interview-vol1.html
vol.2 : Hikari Takiguchi (drop), Narumi Katase (notall), and Yuna Sakamoto (FES☆TIVE)
vol.3 : Mashilo Suzukawa (Stand-Up! Hearts), Honami Yokoi (FES☆TIVE), and Reina Tasaki (notall)
http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/featured/cheerz-interview-vol3.html
Vol.4 : Yuuyu Arata (Stand-Up! Hearts),Shiori Mizuhara ( Aoyama☆Saint Hacha Mecha High School),and Kira Osaki (Shibuya DOMINION)
http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/featured/cheerz-interview-vol4.html

Translated by Jamie Koide
Photo by Nathan Gey
Website : http://www.nathangey.com/
Facebook page :https://www.facebook.com/NathanGeyPhotography

Author
itaru9Z
itaru9Z

I am the Chief Idol Officer of Tokyo Girls Update, known as "Hiroro Ojisan" who loves Maachan. I produce the MV, art works, promotions, and tie-in campaign of idol groups such as "Team Syachihoko" and "Negicco". Please contact me if you know any "hanare-me" (wide-set eyed) idols.

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