Hirajima Natsumi's interview article from the Shukan Asahi's interview series [Anata ga Ite Kureta kara]. Because of her resignation from AKB48 last weekend, I set this translation to top priority. Yonezawa Rumi does not have an interview article though.
In this article, Hirajima talks about the difficulties she encountered as a celebrity in a normal high school, and her close friend "Y-chan".
A Very Important Friend I Met In A "Normal" High School
Translated by Bernard
For me, there exists a life that is very different from AKB. It is the life I experienced as a high school student at a normal high school.
In order to stay in showbiz and study at the same time, many members chose schools with an emphasis on the entertainment industry or schools that offer distance learning. I decided to enroll in a normal school. Preparing the school festivals with friends, studying for finals, and go after my dreams as an AKB member. These are the days I longed for.
But that sort of wishful thinking was quickly shattered. I had mentally prepared myself for this but it was very hard getting credit in school (*laughs*). My attendance was poor, I barely knew the material...but the real problem was that I stood out like a sore thumb because I was the only one who is in showbiz.
When we were still relatively unknown, older students would come around and tease me; some younger students would deliberately sing our songs in a funny way when walking down the hallway. Of course I know they were joking but it was still unbearable. I thought about transferring. That's when I met Y-chan.
AKB holds general elections to decide leading members on the CD, and I was 26th place during the first election. Classmates congratulated me the next day when I went to school. I am grateful for my fans. I was still not a leading member, which stops at 21st place. I cried all night because I was frustrated by this disappointment. But it's not something I could talk about with my classmates. It's not their fault that I can't talk to them about it, it's because I am the odd one attending a normal school. Whenever I was congratulated, I would fake a smile and say thanks. Y-chan saw this and told me, "What a pity - but no matter where you ranked, you are still you."
Then the dam broke and I cried in front of everyone while holding her.
Since then, Y-chan has been a very close friend of mine. She is great - she understands my circumstances and how I feel about things. She would scold those that came to tease me. When we are walking together after school, she would make sure there are no guys near me. Since AKB became famous, students from other school would wait at the gate of my school and try to get a glimpse, but Y-chan was always with me. Seeing her like this, and have everyone in my class finally understand my circumstances, going to school was finally something to look forward to.
This spring, we parted ways as Y-chan is going into higher education and I am going into showbiz. My 3-year experience as a "normal high school student" is irreplaceable and I will always treasure it. Thanks to Y-chan, I have a very accomplished "real life".
My fans always say, "wow, it's so cool that you can be in AKB and still go to a normal high scool." I am happy to hear this, but the truth is I am not the remarkable one, but it is my close friend (*laughs*). Thank you, Y-chan.
This is the only image I could find, which is quite low resolution, but the text has been copied over on this website: