Notall is our first guest of TGU GLOBAL CONNECT, our Skype Video chat project that connects overseas fans and Japanese idols. Recently they collected over a million yen through charity activities and contributed to Taiwan and Tohoku region where big earthquakes occurred. We’ve got two members from the group here with us today, Haruka Sato and Chiko Watanabe. Last year they performed twice in Thailand, and many Thai fans, along with fans from other countries like the U.S. and Australia, joined in for a fun conversation!


Now that the event is over, we’d like to ask both of you about your thoughts on today’s chat, as well as on your overseas concert and your future activity.

−How was the chat today?

Haruka: It was fun! Our Thai fans that often come to our shows in Japan even participated!

Chiko: I really had a great time! I wish we could have talked more… The time went by so fast~! (laugh)

−I’m glad to hear that! On that note, do you feel like there’s anything different when you’re performing overseas compared to performing in Japan?

Haruka: I thought it’d have that “away” feeling, but everyone knew our names and I was surprised at how well everyone knew the mix and calls. I really felt their energy. As far as differences went, everyone greeted us at the airport and more than with our Japanese fans, we felt uncertain about when we would be able to meet again.

Chiko: About a month before we left for Thailand, we started getting a lot of replies from people there. They tweeted us daily so we could remember their names, but when we actually met them they’d go, “It’s me! It’s me!” and then after many fans made the picture we took together their Twitter avatar. We were really happy to see how assertive they were. Our Taiwanese fans also would tweet us daily saying, “We’re waiting for you!”, “We want to see you!”, or “So cute!”, and would often retweet us in Chinese.


−Did anything change after you went abroad?

Chiko: Ever since we came back to Thailand I’ve been tweeting “Good morning!” every day in Japanese, English, Thai, and Taiwanese. I especially want to learn Thai! I really want to be able to speak it well so I downloaded a Thai language app that I use in my spare time. Thai is a cute language. I’ve even got it on my keyboard. It’s difficult, but just like our Thai fans that have learned Japanese, I think Japanese people can learn Thai if they really want to, and I want to be able to improve my skills enough to be able to communicate with people next time we go!

−You’ve been to Thailand twice and Taiwan once, but are there any other countries you’d like to visit?

Haruka: Personally I’d like to visit an English-speaking country, like Australia or the U.S.

Chiko: I want to go to Singapore! People speak English there, too.

Haruka:I think it might be easy to go there from Thailand or Indonesia, too!


−Are you trying to promote Japan to people overseas as a “social idol”?

Chiko:This is from an anime, but there’s a phrase “Hoayo Gaimasu!” that means “Good morning!” If I tweet it, our Thai fans will reply back, “Hoayo, hoayo!” I wasn’t trying to make it a thing or anything, but I’m glad that so many people have picked it up. (laugh) I also use emoticons, although they’re kind of weird. (laugh) Like this one, “Homa homa (^^ ω)” is called Marutasunimu ha segawa, though it’s not that famous. Marutasunimu Hasegawa’s catchphrase is “Homa homa” (“Really, really.”), and if I say “homa homa” everyone writes it back.

−It’s kind of a unique genre, isn’t it? (laugh) Moving on, I’d like to ask about your recent activity. On March 8th you released “Thanks a million ~Arigato~”. This time I felt your group picture was quite different from previous ones.

Haruka: The cameraman took the shot with film, but because it was film we couldn’t check how it looked, and the first time we saw it was after it had been printed.

Chiko: On top of that, he didn’t take that many pictures.

Haruka: You’re right, he didn’t!

Chiko: The shoot ended an hour earlier than planned so it made me wonder if everything was okay or not, but everyone was pleasantly surprised when it was done. He made all of us look really natural!


−Does the artwork have anything to do with the song?

Haruka: All of us members talked about how important it was for people to feel connected to one another. We wanted to stress the importance of the single’s theme, “arigato” (“thank you”), and I think with the image being non-digital it really fits well with it.

−To begin with, did the “arigato” theme have anything to do with this time of year?

…Why they felt being glad to be "social idol" at this point? Listen their stories!

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