24 December 2011
Because You Were There for Me: Kasai Tomomi
From Shukan Asahi's interview series, we have a story about Kasai Tomomi talking about a valuable lesson taught to her by Natsu-sensei. Team K is family, 'nuff said.
The difference between "getting along well" and "true friendship" taught to me by Natsu-sensei
Translated by mammothb
In spring 2006, I entered AKB the same time when Team K was formed. Along with me were 16 other girls of various ages and characters. I thought that there were sure to be endless disputes among us, but on the contrary, everyone got along really well from the start.
I was being sensible as well and held back from making too much opinions. Honestly, I thought that as long as I compromise it would all be fine.
Our choreographer, Natsu Mayumi-sensei's hellish lessons were worse than I have imagined. We practised from morning to night, for more than 15 hours a day, these lessons continued for around a month. After overcoming the harsh lessons, it was time for our first performance. We won't lose to our Team A senpais! And so that was what we did......or rather, what we intended to do.
However, after the performance, the words that Natsu-sensei told us was harsher beyond our imagination.
"Today's performance, was the worst. The problem lies somewhere more fundamental than techniques. AKB doesn't need a Team like this."
We thought that Natsu-sensei would definitely welcome us with a smile and say, "You have done your best, good job."...... After hearing Natsu-sensei's words, some members broke down and some were so shocked that they went into hyperventilation. In our own way, we have survived this 1 month of harsh lessons. We worked hard in order not to have any arguments and disagreements among us. Tears rolled down my cheeks due to frustration. Even as a sensei, such words are way too harsh! It really pisses me off! I shall discuss with everyone and go on strike! Looking around me, I realized that there wasn't any member I could discuss this with......
If it's about cakes and TV programmes, we would all be able to talk about them passionately. However, even though we have worked so hard together, there is no one whom I can call a bosom friend. I think it's the same for other members as well. We all felt that there's no one whom we can really open up our hearts to. At that moment, I sort of understood the meaning behind Natsu-sensei's words.
After that, members of Team K began to voice out their different opinions and have disputes without restraints, and became a super sporty team. I no longer compromised and voiced out my opinions. "That kind of MC won't heat up the atmosphere!" "You always lag on the dance step at that place right? Correct it!"
I think I've also said some things that aren't correct. But I've learnt to voice out all my opinions. For example, (Akimoto) Sayaka is weak under pressure, and easily blow her fuse. And there were cases when people around her became victims to that. That's why I said it, "That should be the way right?!" and Sayaka would then apologize. At that point, (Miyazawa) Sae would follow up and say, "Sayaka works twice as hard as others, that's why it became like that, right?"
And our teamwork was born like that. Of course, my weakness was also pointed out, and worked hard to correct it. We would share each other's pain and became "Clashing souls".
After continuing like this for half a year, we performed our first solo concert in Nippon-Seinenkan. When it ended, we saw Natsu-sensei waiting for us. After seeing us, Natsu-sensei cried. "Everyone, you've worked hard...... You've all become one together......"
It was the first time that sensei has praised us. The joy and the memory of understanding each other more by pointing out each other's flaws played in our minds, we all cried......
Right now, we are able to show off our real teamwork instead of putting up a pretense during our performances. We are able to achieve this because of you, Natsu-sensei!