[translation] Niigaki Risa on 5th Gen: Story of a Bond
ogawa makoto takahashi ai niigaki risa morning musume translation konno asami
Morning Musume Niigaki Risa on the 5th generation bond
Training camp life that started after we got accepted in the audition.
When I was small, I was generally shy and reserved.
I couldn't even imagine performing anything in public.
However, when I was in third grade, I had a fateful encounter.
What I, Niigaki Risa, encountered was Morning Musume.
They were brilliantly beautiful. Their dancing was lively and they sparkled.
Beyond admiration, a light called "dream" was lit.
"Someday, I want to be in there, singing and dancing."
When I was 12 years old, an audition was held.
The number: 40,000 people. At most, 2 or 3 would be chosen.
The long, challenging days began.
At any rate, I loved Morning Musume.
I had confidence that I wouldn't lose to anyone on that point at least.
At the final judging, I was one of the 9 who remained.
Life at training camp with the 9 of us.
There was one girl who was from Fukui Prefecture and had an accent.
When we weren't assigned to the same room, she said, "It's too bad that we couldn't be together."
That accent was cute.
That girl was Takahashi Ai.
There was a sophisticated girl who was hard to talk to.
She had a unique atmosphere and was good at dancing.
I thought, "This girl will definitely get accepted."
That was Ogawa Makoto.
A mysterious girl who was always in her own world.
Even while traveling on the bus, she would open the curtain and fix her gaze outside the window.
She was Konno Asami.
Including me, these were the 4 people that got accepted.
After that, the road of this friendship which spans beyond 10 years stretched long and straight.
"If it's you, it'll be fine," she told me.
When I, Niigaki Risa, was accepted in the audition in 2001, Tsunku-san commented, "Your attitude towards dancing and your love for Morning Musume was conveyed to me."
The then-current members sang "The☆Peace!" in front of Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto, and me.
The Abe Natsumi that I admired was then that close to me.
At that time, without thinking about such things as the professional initiation that I would later undergo, I was simply engulfed in a feeling of happiness.
Perhaps it was because I was younger than everyone, but my excitement was stronger.
However, the lessons were strict, and I, unable to perform as needed, was frustrated.
The 4 of us often talked. We got along well since the beginning.
Makochii was the moodmaker.
Konkon simply listened with a "hmm."
Everyone stopped Ai-chan from being reckless.
I think it's a miracle. The fact that 4 people can get along this well.
Eventually, the times when we each approached our own graduations came.
My generation-mates, Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, and Ogawa Makoto, ever since we got accepted in the audition in 2001, have been, and always will be, my friends.
In 2007, in place of Fujimoto Miki-san, Ai-chan became Morning Musume's leader, and I became subleader.
In 2011, Ai-chan graduated, and I assumed the position of the 7th leader.
In the end, a girl who simply loved Morning Musume became its leader.
The girls who have recently joined are in the first half of their teens, just as I was.
There are a lot of perplexing and troubling things.
Even in those times, all of my generation-mates casually worry for me.
I received a text from Makochii, saying, "I can't do anything, but I can listen."
Konkon gently came closer and embraced me firmly.
And then, Ai-chan said with a smile, "If it's you, it'll be fine," and lightly patted my shoulder.
I understand that I've been able to come this far because they are there for me.
Even now that we've each found our own paths, the fact that they are important friends does not change.
Like the lyrics in the song that we sang together, "Suki na Senpai," I'll ask everyone today as well. "Is the me today spirited?"
To Ai-chan, Makochii, and Konkon,
I'm truly glad that we are in the same generation.
Everyone is now working hard on their own paths, but thank you for contacting me right away when something comes up or during painful times.
From now on, too, please take care of me always.