Special thanks to zaizaiaddict for scanning these, and I hope you all enjoyed reading!
Gate A-01_Masaki Aiba
Just like the heading for these concerts, "First", I hope it means
that we would be able to hold them many times in the future. If it
could be as I wish, that would be great.
Arashi's finally going to Asia! Just as expected, it was all thanks to everyone's enthusiasm and support. We were also affected by the feelings of our Asian fans through those who had come to Japan to watch our concerts in the past. The message boards on the internet also contained many messages written to Arashi by fans... it was easy to tell that there really were fans from many different countries, and we also often received letters and emails sent to our radio shows. We really, truly, deeply felt everyone's anticipation. And no matter if it was message boards or letters or mails, everyone wrote in Japanese too. But Japanese is really hard, isn't it? Yet the Japanese in those letters were written very well.
I really am very grateful towards everyone's diligence. After the senpais in the jimusho had already been to Asia, we were very much looking forward to them saying, "Should the next one be Arashi's turn?" 7 years have already passed from the time of our debut, and at last we are finally able to go to Asia as well. We finally have a chance to repay everyone, I thought. It really is 'at last' this time! We've made everyone wait 7 years but we're coming at last. It really makes me happy. But speaking of which, going to a foreign place to perform is always a bit worrying, like the problem of language, or things like MCs and greetings. Of course to requite everyone's hopes, we will try our hardest to learn your languages! Though in the end it will still be limited (laugh). That's why to be able to hold concerts in Asia, honestly speaking, aside from happiness and anticipation there's also a certain level of unease.
Out of the three countries that we will be performing in this time, I've already been to Taiwan and Thailand. And even though both trips were due to work, I was still able to watch Thai boxing. I find the culture and lifestyle of that country to be very interesting. So at the time I requested the staff at work to definitely take me to watch a boxing match, and once the work was done we immediately went. To be able to come in contact with Thailand's national sport firsthand and experience it on the scene was a very interesting event. And now to actually be able to go to Thailand to hold a concert there, it's very unbelievable. Speaking of Taiwan, I've been there before to do a filming for "Tensai! Shimura Dobutsuen". What was it like at that time? Nnn... how should I say this. Because it's an animal-related program, I came in contact with more animals than I did people (laugh). Regrettably, I didn't have a lot of chances to come in contact with Taiwanese people that time. But the food in Taiwan is absolutely delicious. No matter where I went to eat, it was all really good. Taiwanese and Japanese people really do have very similar tastes. Nnn, that's what I think. As for Korea, even though I haven't been to Korea yet, there is an impression of the "Korean Wave" in my mind. I watch Korean dramas and movies very often, and my mother also really like Korean dramas; she's a super Korean drama fan (laugh). She has a huge pile of pictures that she took during her trip to Korea. She'd look at them and say, "I've been here", "and this is taken at one of the locations of a Korean drama, and this place is..." My mother would strive to point at each photo and explain in full detail the places she's been to. "Really, that's great!" I would also strive to give her responses, so I'm pretty aware of things about Korea (laugh). To be able to hold concerts in Asia is something that really makes us happy.
With regards to the concerts in Asia this time around, we want to display "Arashi" from the past to the present for everyone to see. Extending this kind of thinking into the content development of our shows and the actual onstage performances probably isn't bad, I thought. It's Arashi as a whole from the past to the present. So our performances will be different from the ones in Japan. The Japanese tours are centred around new albums as their focal points, but the Asian concerts will be different. The performances in Asia are to let people distinctly experience the majority of Arashi's singles. These performances will actually also be a new experience for us. It's like saying, this is Arashi's first concert tour, and will also be based on a set list of primarily singles, which is something that you won't see in our Japanese concerts. This kind of show is very new to us too, so please anticipate Arashi's performances.
But with regards to what kind of attitude Arashi's Aiba Masaki should show up with? I don't know, I guess it'll just be with a very cool attitude! And then I'll turn back to my old self after I get back to Japan... how's that? This kind of strategy (laugh)? Haha (laughing hard at something he's thinking of). I'm just joking with you guys, there's no such thing. I'll definitely let you guys see me at my truest (laugh)! It doesn't matter if you guys can understand or not, but that's also a part of Aiba Masaki. Lastly, to the Asian fans who have waited so long for us, I want to say this to you: the concerts this time around won't be the only time, I hope you were able to realize that just from reading the heading alone. Because this is the first time, I hope that after this first concert tour, we'll still be able to hold a second time, and a third time... I hope these concerts will give you guys a sense of fulfilment and also allow us to enjoy ourselves to the fullest. I will work hard to strive for this objective. Ganbarimasu! And everyone, please anticipate the arrival of our concerts.