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in other words...

Translations by Hwen and Amy

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[Arashi] Aiba - MORE - 05/2017
Been so long since I last posted any translations here. How are you guys doing?

I've been trying to keep up with the constant onslaught of magazines that Aiba is in lately, but this interview really stuck out to me and prompted me to translate after what seems like forever. I especially like the fact that it has barely anything to do with promoting his new drama so there's a lot of room for introspective talk instead of focusing on the drama and repeating the same few details.

Enjoy, and feel free to share your thoughts!

Aiba - MORE - 05/2017

Aiba Masaki is watching.

It's been a long time since we last saw Aiba-san, and it took place on a day when the "first gale of spring" was blowing through the outskirts of the Kanto region. Despite the winds blowing so fiercely that it threatened to put an end to the shoot, they came to a still the moment Aiba-san stepped outside and gazed out to the distance. That is the mysterious power which he holds.

He is also quite multifaceted. His appearance in a black suit, coupled with hair dyed black for the purpose of his drama, "Kizoku tantei", oozed a sense of smart sensuality that almost makes one want to gasp. On the other hand, when you speak with him, he breaks into his usual soft smile that puts everyone he comes in contact with at ease. We've come to realize that his versatility is due to the way he always keeps an eye on the situation and moods around him with precision in order to react with composure and warmth.

Aiba Masaki is watching. And we strove to follow the direction of his gaze.

Aiba Masaki is watching.
The fact that the present isn't just a checkpoint

Day after day, whether as a part of Arashi or individually, he can be found working at many different sets. From being the host of a sports program to the starring role of a drama, he strives to meet every person's expectations in a variety of different settings. I believe Aiba-san has a good grasp of what everyone would like from him, yet when I voiced this, he slowly tilted his head to the side and said with a laugh, "I'm not really that great."

"I'm trying my best to do what everyone asks of me, but I'm actually not thinking too deeply into it (laugh). But every now and then, I would really focus on whatever that is being presented to me. After all, nothing will start if I don't focus on the 'present', and I know from experience that there would be no future either."

Currently, what Aiba Masaki has his eyes on is his drama "Kizoku tantei", slated to start in April.

"In terms of drama filming, it can take 2 or 3 months and since you know in advance when it will end, you get an even more acute sense of the importance of the 'present'. It really makes you feel like you need to treasure what limited time you have. And actually, the staff from this drama are almost the same as the ones from "Youkoso, wagaya e", a drama I had appeared in 2 years ago. That means we've already established mutual trust in each other, and I know they feel the same way too. To us, putting this drama together means the 'present' isn't just a simple checkpoint; we feel like there is no 'next time' after this. Though in reality, there's always another 'next time', and there's absolutely no reason why there wouldn't (laugh). But I get the sense that they're treating it with the feeling that this is final, so I want to focus on the 'present' even more so than usual. I'm hoping to put everything I've got into this drama."

Aiba Masaki is watching.
A change of expression in the face of adversity

It goes without saying that he is beloved by many, be it the viewers, his coworkers, even staff members. But as someone adored by everyone, we can't help but wonder-- what aspects of other people does he tend to look at?

"I think when you want to know what someone is really like, you can find out when something unexpected happens. For example, if we're playing sports together and they weren't able to make a good play like they were expecting. Would they get annoyed and angry, or would they give up easily? People tend to reveal their true nature when they're in a pinch or having some sort of trouble. You can see that even when they win or lose at a video game. I might not look it, but I'm a pretty sore loser too (laugh). Speaking of which, there was this one time when we held an outdoor concert and it started raining; you could see the other members' natures then too. I figured I was going to get wet anyway so I was having a blast, but I remember Nino calmly walking around because he didn't want to get his microphone wet. It's times like those that you really see the difference in personalities (laugh)."

What Aiba-san takes great care to do in social situations is extremely simple.

"I don't do things people don't like. Maybe it's because my family runs a restaurant, but my father once taught me 'Don't show people what you're feeling'. And then there was the fact that I used to stay with my grandfather and grandmother often when I was little so I had a pretty strict upbringing, I think. That's the reason why, even when I have to ask athletes all sorts of questions on this show called 'Gutto! Sports', I won't ask them questions they might not like even if it was in the script. I want them to enjoy talking to me first, and only ask once they're at ease and the conversation progresses naturally to a moment when it seems okay to ask."

Aiba Masaki is watching.
Members' physical states, more so than what lies within

When it comes to those closest to him, the other members of Arashi, he has his eye on something quite unexpected.

"In terms of other members, it's really superficial... I watch out for how they're feeling phsyically that day, or what mood they're in (laugh). I never try to pry and find out what they're truly thinking about, and I'm sure they don't want me to pry either."

The reason why he doesn't try to pry into the depths of their hearts lies in the fact that he already knows what's there, and also the faith they have in one another.

"We've been at each others' sides constantly for close to 20 years now, so I more or less know what they're thinking already. We're all humans, so sometimes our physical health can change, and there are also days when we might be in a bad mood for no particular reason. I guess I take note of that and try to be considerate. It's not just me either, everyone is like this. We're always keeping an eye out for each other and being considerate of one another. They're all really nice."

Different from friends and family, the five of them share a distinctly unique bond.

"Even with other people in the same industry like Kazama (Shunsuke) and Yoko (Yokoyama Yu), there's a definite sense of friendship, but the other members are different. The difference between members and friends... The first word that comes to mind is 'respect', I think. They're comrades whom I've fought side by side with, so there's a really strong sense of respect for them. Maybe that's why a subconscious part of me tries to keep a certain distance from them. I try my best not to intrude upon their private lives, and I know they're busy so I don't even ask them out to dinner (laugh). But this new genre of relationships called 'members' is just as important and precious as friends and family."

Aiba Masaki is watching.
A budding talent of persistence

It seems like Aiba-san has discovered some new things about himself recently.

"When I had dinner with (Domoto) Tsuyoshi-kun the other day, he said to me, 'You have a high tolerance, Aiba, but you'll be in big trouble if you ever explode'. And I realized he might have a point. Tsuyoshi-kun share the same AB blood type as I do, so maybe that's why he knows (laugh)."

The way he pushes himself mentally and physically to the limit when it comes to work may also have to do with his high tolerance.

"It's in my nature to overdo things to begin with. I rarely consult other people for advice, and I don't depend on others. There were times when I pushed myself to the limit and tried to overcome it mentally, but ended up wearing my body out without realizing. That's actually why I've started working out two years ago. I figured it would be a good idea to start working out, if only to support myself mentally. So I go to the gym after waking up in the morning, and if I have time I also drop by a temple on the way home... I've been keeping this sort of routine the whole time. I've come to realize that I have a talent for 'persisting' once I've decided to do something (laugh). Even if it was a rainy or windy day, even if I wasn't feeling so good, I still somehow muster up the thought of 'Alright, let's go!'. And because of that, first of all, I no longer get colds! Also, I'm a sore loser when it comes to games but I don't think of my work as a matter of winning or losing, so I don't have a sense of rivalry whatsoever when it comes to other people. That's precisely why it's so necessary for me to keep doing what I've set my heart out to do, to keep on refining myself and winning against myself. I believe that is what will support me down the road."

Aiba Masaki is watching.
The joy of showing everyone all I've got

He took on the major role of being the host of the White team on his own for last year's "NHK kouhaku utagassen". While keeping an eye on the situation as a whole and making sure the show progressed smoothly, he also reacted to incidents unique to live broadcasts with a candor that roused the audience. This mixture of professionalism and freshness is part of his unique appeal.

"I'm showing myself to other people in my line of work, but I hardly ever think about how the rest of the world views me. I don't know how to be calculating or put myself in a good light (laugh). Regardless of what kind of work it is, all I'm doing is expressing what I'm feeling at that particular time. Especially with "Kouhaku", where there were a lot of things I was kept in the dark about beforehand because that was the intention of the producers. I think that was because they wanted natural reactions from us."

And with regards to being able to express himself so frankly, Aiba-san said: "It's a blessing, it's really wonderful".

"I've always been able to be myself, ever since I was in Johnny's Jr. That's all thanks to the staff and coworkers who expect and accept the way that I am. Same goes to the other Arashi members. I'm sure if even just one of us turned out to be more zealous or subdued, we would end up with a completely different feel. Looking at it another way, it's possible that I've been pretty spoiled all along, but I'm really happy (laugh)."

There is also a shift in his perception of himself as an individual performer and an entertainer.

"In the past, I always felt like I can never show my weaker side to anyone when it comes to anything to do with entertainment. But now, you can dissect any part of me and I won't mind. I think it's something to be thankful for when people want to see me in any shape or form. I've lost my pride, I suppose (laugh)."

This is a good interview-- some interesting insights into where he's at right now. Thanks so much for translating and sharing! :)

Yes, precisely the reason why I felt compelled to translate it so more people can read it :) You're welcome!

Thanks for translating and sharing!

I'm really thankful for your work, It as nice see a good interview. I´m miss some great interview of the past, now it's difficult to find a serious interview, I didn't expected it from MORE

You're welcome! If you like to read serious interviews you can browse my earlier translations as well, I tend to like translating that sort of thing because they're so interesting. :)

Thanks a lot for translating this!
There are still times I get surprised by the things he say, with my mind always equating with how we all saw his on their old shows. I would always think of him as a carefree and always with baka ideas. Im always taken aback when I get to see him so introspective.

You're welcome! I think a lot of people have their minds stuck on that particular image because it's so well established, but I'm hoping people will start to shift their perceptions of him and realize this mature outlook is also as much part of him as his silly antics on TV or when he's around other members. :)

Thanks for translating & sharing! Aiba Masaki's sweet and gentle side yet unexpectedly stoic makes my heart fluttered harder than before!

You're very welcome! This interview was wonderful in more ways than one, not just the amazing pictures, so I wanted to share that with everyone too. :)

<3 ahhh this is a really good interview, makes me feel like I can comprehend Aiba a bit more. Thank you for sharing this!

You're welcome! Glad it helped in any way, since that was the whole purpose of translating and sharing :)

wooowww...i really can see how matured aiba become by reading this translation...he really have a good point in explaining things around him...aiba chan has grown up and become cool man..ureshiii~...but please, dun leave ur playful side..we really luv those side as well...tq so much for sharing this translation...luv it...=)

I think he reserves his playful side for TV and when he's around the other members, so you don't have to worry too much about that ;) Glad you liked it!

this is great interview....aiba is really matured a lot and its interesting to see how his thinking works XD

thanks for sharing

You're welcome! You're definitely right about that, and I look forward to hearing more of his thoughts down the road :)

"Despite the winds blowing so fiercely that it threatened to put an end to the shoot, they came to a still the moment Aiba-san stepped outside and gazed out to the distance. That is the mysterious power which he holds."

Omg, I just loved how he can change the whole atmosphere. It's interesting to see his stoicness side once in a while.

Thank you for sharing and translating 😃

You're welcome! I think we're likely going to see this side of him more often now (after all, he's already in his mid-30s!), but I love what I'm seeing. :)

thanks for translating and sharing!

Thank you for this! It's nice to read about his recent views since a lot of changes has happened in his life that might contribute to a change in perspective. He's still the now person, but there's a feeling of maturity to it. When he said that in HnA a few years back, it didn't sound like this? It was sort like a give-up reaction because of his health.

You're welcome! There's definitely a lot of recent events in the past few years that may contribute to his change in perception! All his new shows, Kouhaku, getsu9 dramas... It makes me all warm and fuzzy seeing the way he describes his thoughts now. ♥

Thanks for this excellent translation. I agree it is a wonderful interview. I like the way it gives us an insight into Aiba as he is now. I enjoyed reading it.

I'm glad you enjoyed it! The interview wasn't long but I think it really did a good job showing us how much Aiba has matured.

Thanks for translating this. It's so awesome to read about how he has grown and changed and his thoughts on certain things.

Yes! I think many people are still stuck on their view of him as a loud silly boy who acts before he thinks, so I really enjoyed this interview.

Thank you for sharing! Aiba is my ichiban so I really liked this interview, he shared a lot about himself.

He's my favourite too so I couldn't resist translating it. ;) Glad you liked it!

Yhank you for translating. It was interesting to read. He really works hard but I hope he will take care of his healt. He's really gentle and sweet.

You're welcome! I think he's really started taking care of his health in recent years, and I hope he continues that way :)