May 6, 2008

Interview With Erika Toda Part 1

Original From : TokyoGraph

Livedoor has a two-part interview with singer Yurika Ohyama and actress Erika Toda. Translated by migimaru.

(Translated from Livedoor)

Born and raised on Okinoerabu Island (part of the Amami Islands in southern Japan), singer Yurika Ohyama made her debut in April 2005 with the single "Umi no Ao, Sora no Ao." In April 2006, she released her third single, which included the MONGOL800 cover "Chiisana Koi no Uta." It was used as a commercial song for Acecook and achieved 150,000 downloads as a chaku-uta.

Ohyama's next two singles, "Sayonara" and "Haruiro," both featured actress Erika Toda in their music videos. Livedoor conducted a 2-part interview with the two girls, with the second part to be released on April 23, when Ohyama's "COVERS FOR LOVERS ~Yurika Sings J Love Songs~" goes on sale. The album features covers of songs by male artists.

Your 4th single, "Sayonara," was released in August 2006. The first time you two met was when Toda Erika-san appeared in the music video, right?
Ohyama & Toda (together): Yes!

So what were your first impressions of each other?
O: I had seen her on TV as an actress, so at first, I was nervous. When we first met, I was really excited and surprised, so all I could think was "Ah! It's Toda Erika-chan" (laughs). I thought, "I get to work together with her!" That was during the business meeting, wasn't it?

T: I was mostly talking with the director, and Yurika-chan was next to me, and she was listening the whole time. I heard her laughing, and I thought, "She has a cute laugh." It left a very strong impression. But at that time, she didn't speak at all.

O: Yeah! The director was only talking to Erika-chan. I was like, "What about me?" (laughs)

T: The director was asking questions like, "What's the strangest dream you still remember?" I had absolutely no idea what kind of meeting it was supposed to be, and I was talking with the director the whole time. So I didn't get to properly talk with Yurika-chan until the music video for the second song, "Haruiro."

So you had no chance to talk during the first shoot?
T: The first one was shot like a short movie, but we were filming separately. So we totally had no chance to meet... Wait, didn't we do a talk show at an event with Kuramoto-san (the director Mitsuru Kuramoto)? Was that before the second music video?

O: That's right, we met at that live performance. That's how it was, sorry. (laughs)

At that event, you didn't get a chance to talk much?
O: Yeah.

T: We didn't talk much about private stuff, but more about thoughts on the music video and other talk about work.

O: It was more like the director and Erika-chan, or the director and me.
It sounds like you were still feeling awkward, or perhaps formal.
Both: Maybe it was a little like that.

So then you became closer during the second filming, for "Haruiro."
T: That was the first time we filmed together, and we exchanged addresses. We became friends after that.

O: I really remember that. I was appearing together with an actress, and in my own music video, so I was very nervous. (laughs)

T: And then when we ate, I wanted both the saba and the cream croquette, so we shared. I couldn't eat the rice, so I left it. (laughs)

You remember it well, even such small details.
O: Yes. I remember because it was fun and the food was good. (laughs)

As you got to know each other, was anything different from your first impressions?
O: When we ate together in private, she didn't really speak openly (laughs), but she talked about a lot of different things, like about work or about girl stuff.

T: We exchanged thoughts about our own work, and there were a lot of things I could sympathize with her about, and we had a lot of similar experiences. We have a lot in common.

O: She has a lot of similar thoughts as me, which is amazing. I can easily connect with her. There are many kinds of friends, such as those who go to a lot of trouble for each other, and those who don't. There are those you'll always be close to, and I think there are also friendships that can fall apart in an instant. With her, it's not the type of friends who have always been together in school since they were little, or anything like that, but I strongly feel we're of the same type where we want to express something through our work. But the things she talks about are just like other girls in their teens or 20s, like about food or what she's currently into. She's young, so she's really energetic and fun. (laughs)

T: I just realized that I'm always doing the talking. Actually, I'm not the type to talk much, but for some reason I talk a lot with her.

It seems that Ohyama-san is a good listener, so it creates an atmosphere where it's easy to talk.
T: Yeah, it's easy to talk, and she listens to me, so I also want to listen to what Yurika-chan has to say in return. I'm sure I can learn a lot.

There are lots of things you can sympathize about, but are there aspects where you feel you are different?
T: There are. Yurika-chan is like "I want to convey the feelings from my heart!," so she expresses them to her audience through her works. In my case, it's not "I want to convey this," but more like "I wonder what I can do in this role?" We're different in that way, and I think I'm lacking in that area. I'm also a bit different in my goal of "I'll do this role, or I'll study this." That was the first difference I found.

Even when you're trying to express the same thing, the nature of expression for a singer and an actress are different, perhaps.
T: I think so too. Certainly, because Yurika-chan is a singer, she can directly express her own thoughts and emotions. With acting, you can't just express "this is how I'm feeling right now." When you're playing a part, up until the very end, it's not your own feelings you're communicating, but those of your character. When the audience watches a work, it's something they can feel on their own, isn't it? The way you show the audience something, or express something to them, I feel it's a bit different.

O: Usually when we meet, she's not tied down to a role or anything, and I get to directly see her personal side, which makes me happy. Talking about "expression," she has to change her expressions and her words because of her various characters, while I only have one, but I still want to convey feelings such as happiness and sadness. So if I can take in those kinds of emotions that she has, I feel like I can expand. It's like, even at a concert, if I can present a different appearance, wouldn't that be fun? While I think our occupations are different, I feel we can exchange some of those differences. I feel like I've been given an amazing opportunity. And usually she really does show me different faces! That's why being together is a lot of fun. (laughs)

Rather than introducing yourselves, how about you introduce each other?
O: Erika-chan is really strong inside. She's frighteningly boyish, that's for sure. (laughs) I'm relatively indecisive, so I often can't make up my mind. At times like those, if she's around, she'll cut straight to the chase. She's a life-saver! But while she has a strong core, she shows me various sides of her, and I feel like that's the true Erika-chan. She's very interesting. She's gone through a lot of experiences, so there's a lot to get out of her.

T: No, no. (laughs)

O: It's true! She's young, but there's a lot to her, so she also says a lot of different things. I think that's the one thing I need to follow her example on. That's why I'm always looking forward to the next thing to come out of her. (laughs)

T: That's the first time I've been told that. (laughs)

O: When we're together, it's a lot of fun.

T: But there are times when my friends get mad at me, saying, "Why do you have to be so black-and-white?" (laughs) I say something like "What! Isn't it clearer to be black-and-white?" And they get really angry: "But it's not black-and-white! Can't you see it's not like that?" So I get mad in return, and say "I don't understand, so please explain to me from the start." (laughs) At those times, it's better if we're both decisive people.

Toda-san, from your point of view, what type of person is Ohyama-san?
T: Just now, when Yurika-chan was introducing me, she also described herself with "I'm an indecisive person." (laughs) But I've never once thought, "She's so indecisive." She's actually very direct - if I had to compare her to a color, it would be white. A little bit ago, Yurika-chan said that I have a "strong core," and she's probably the same, but I think there's a difference between that quality coming across strongly on the outside, and coming out from the inside little by little. With Yurika-chan's songs, she firmly holds these thoughts of "I want to do it this way!" or "This is how I feel, so I want to convey it!," so she's made me realize "My job is also about conveying something, but I've forgotten what I'm conveying." When you go out into society, you see a lot of ugly and dirty things, right? But I feel she's the type of person who's not dirty at all, and I think, "Right now, the world absolutely needs this kind of person!"

She's a "healing" person, isn't she. (note: "iyashi" refers to a type of person that gives a sense of "healing" or "soothing")
T: She is.

O: No, I'm really dirty... (laughs)

T: Not! I absolutely don't think so. The people who declare "I'm dirty," those are the ones that are clean!

They can't speak honestly of themselves, can they?
T: Yeah!

To Be Continued ...

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