—In June this year, you graduated from NMB48, which you had belonged to since you were 12 years old. Did your feelings or lifestyle change after graduation?
Yuzu Hongo: “Immediately after graduation, I didn’t really feel it at all. I just kept checking my LINE to see what my schedule was like today. I would check my LINE to see what my schedule was today, or I would think about what time my lesson was. I was thinking, “What’s the schedule for today? It was hard to get out of my usual routine, and after about a month, I finally got used to a different routine.
—You mentioned that you have much more time to yourself now.
You mentioned that you have much more time to spend alone. “Until now, I had to spend a lot of time with a lot of people because we had to perform at the theater all the time, and I had to do a lot of physical activity. But since graduating, I have been spending more time by myself, just relaxing. I realized how precious it is to be able to spend time without thinking about anything. Recently, I have been trying new dishes in my free time.
—You have always loved cooking, haven’t you? What did you cook recently?
I have been experimenting with healthy food recipes I found on social networking sites! I made soup stock from scratch with lettuce, pork belly, and bean sprouts, and I made vegetable foil pancake with lots of enoki mushrooms. I’m trying to expand my repertoire of healthy diet meals.
—There are other things he wants to do. ……
Yes, I do! The thing I want to do most right now is to take a “family vacation! I want to travel with my father, mother, sister, and grandmother. My father, mother, sister, and grandmother all want to travel together. When I move to Tokyo in the fall, I am planning to invite everyone to Tokyo and show them around (laughs). I’m looking forward to it.
—Was your family surprised when you told them about your move to Tokyo?
Everyone was positive. When I told my grandmother, “I’m moving to Tokyo! She said, “You can save money on accommodation when you go to Tokyo! Let me stay here! My father also said, “I used to dream of living in Tokyo, too, so you should go! I’ll come see you once a month at ……. What’s that? Is he a little worried?
—So this is your first time living on your own, right?
Yes. I’m worried that I won’t be able to keep up with the housework, but I’m really looking forward to it. Until now, when I was tired and went to bed, one of my family members would do the laundry or clean the house for me, and they helped me a lot. I think that living alone is a good opportunity for me to realize how much I appreciate things that I did not realize.
The same goes for my work, since I will be alone from now on. …… I would like to continue doing gravure more, and I also love variety shows, so I would like to be invited to more of them. Then there is acting! I participated in a musical once. As we rehearsed more and more, I was able to see myself in ways I had never seen before, and I was surprised to see that I could also make such a face. I want to experience that joy again. I want to experience that joy again.
—I want to experience that joy again!
My dreams are expanding! I’m so happy to be back so soon! I will do my best to live up to the expectations of my fans who said, “Thank you for coming back so soon! It would be great if I could show you all a side of me that you don’t know yet, too!
Photo by： Yasuhisa Kikuchi