This is a repost from a translation I made long ago. I thought it'd be fun to repost, but beware I made this 6 years ago when I was not yet properly studying Japanese. Therefore translations might be off. When I have the time I might update it to be more correct. Thank you for understanding! - Nele
In January 2011, at that time a first year high school member, Ikuta Erina joined as a 9ki member. Having the best reflexes in Hello! Project and having an excess of self-assertion up until now, she's a sub-leader who increases her presence day by day. Living with that anguish day-by-day, she lives an unexpected life───
I finally understand the joy of doing concerts after 5 years
──The first contert tour with the 13 member line-up has finally started.
This tour has a really hard content so it's difficult everytime, but when you overcome those "harsh things" it becomes really fun. When I think about the harsh things, I try to give my best until the bitter end.
──In this tour, what is Ikuta-san's personal goal?
To level up my dance and singing level... well, it's the same like always, up until now my singing ability is small. There was a Challenge Act from the Kenshuusei one time, I had less solo singing parts than them, I was not even at the level of "I'll do my best at singing". But, because I get a lot of singing this tour, I want to do my best at singing more than ever before.
──Because your solo parts increased, did your feelings change during concerts?
The performances simply became fun. Up until now, even if I didn't desperately work hard, there were some moments I struggled, but this time it seems to be fun from the bottom of my heart, on my blog as well, reading comments like "This tour, Eripon looked like she had fun" makes me happy. I finally understand the joy of doing concerts after 5 years.
──(The members respectively introduce themselves during this classic song) In Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari, there's a big highlight right?
I suggested that part myself. What kind of female idol can do that performance while singing? Well there aren't any who can right. So I thought "Only I can do it!". So, after I put "My Era" in the lyrics, I told Tsunku♂-san about it and thought to myself "Ah, I'm great".
About making friends, I hate that I became unable to even care
──What about in terms of dance?
After we ended the Hello! Project Winter concert (Hello! Project 2015 WINTER), I was praised by the dance teacher. Up until now I didn't even get praised one single time, so I was really happy. I want you to look at my grown dancing in this tour.
──You usually don't get praised a lot?
Right. My teacher told me "I don't want to praise Ikuta too much". But, it's true that my frustration gives me feelings like "I should do more my best". Though in my opinion, I think I'm rather the type that wants to be praised to progress...
──This concert tour, it's also your first tour as a sub-leader.
I'm in a "Look at me" position now. When you observe the whole group, you would have to keep attention to special places to notice me. The staff always tell me "You can do it, Ikuta". Honestly I thought "Can I really do that?". I was happily surprised. Anyways, I'll do my best to keep this position.
──What kind of relationship do you have with the 12ki members?
In terms of performance, I take care of them when they're worried. But otherwise, I don't speak with them a lot.
──Don't you get along well?
Hm, I guess you could say so. I feel like our relationship is not that good. I tend to live in my own world when I'm in the dressing room, because everyone's noisy so I look away from them. About making friends, I hate that I became unable to even care. In that sense, my "Look at me position" might not be perfect.
My life plan has been achieved
──Your previous appeal (your love for OG Niigaki Risa) has become less seen recently.
I watch all plays in which Niigaki-san is being casted, and just a while ago I was invited to her house, I was treated for dinner. Though my feelings for her haven't changed, I feel like relying on her forever will not help. It's not just about telling how great Niigaki-san is, it's about time that people will just say "Ikuta Erina is great". So, that's why I hold back my "I love Gaki-san appeal" in my blog.
──Did the 9ki members have an influence on the group now you became senpai's?
Even though we don't really have a proper senpai appearance, because of that I thought that we have to grow on our own. Even though I'm talking ahead now, at times you're convinced that you have grown, I think that's the time you should think about graduating from Morning Musume. Despite being a member for already 5 years now, I feel like I am not able to grow at all.
──So you have thought about graduating already.
Specifically, I don't really talk about it a lot, but I think of it as my life plan. I had made a life plan during my kindergarten days, up until now I am progressing. My dream during kindergarten was "Joining Morning Musume" and "Taking my first year of junior high school in Tokyo" so I have achieved that. I made a life schedule, because I didn't have a target so I would spend a lazy life, I have quite a long span of outlooks for the future. So yes, I have already thought about graduating.
──By the way, what kind of schedule do you make?
I made a "Regular Program up until the age of 18" schedule, I realised it during "Karada wo Ugokasu TV" (E-tele). And my current goal, "Getting a solo song up until the age of 18", has priority now. Because after all, a solo song can maximize my own appeal.
──That will be quite hard work.
Right! Actually I still have a "Fix my tone deaf"-goal, somehow I didn't got to manage that yet.
I don't only show my smile because I'm an idol
──On April 15th '15 (One-Five) will release their first single.
In "Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru", my solo parts exist of 5 characters. Because there's more Ikuta than usual, I want you all to focus on it. And "Ima Koko Kara", because it's a theme song for "Pretty Cure" which I've watched in my childhood, it's really a honor to have sung it.
──How about "Yuugure wa Ameagari"?
It's a song about the loneliness of new life, it starts off with lyrics like "I won't show anyone this crying face". When Niigaki-san graduated, I thought "I can't show my crying form at such an important time", so I was reminded of these words. So, even though it's a lonely song, I want to continue to sing positively.
──After Niigaki-san's graduation, did you no longer cry?
Yes. Contrary to Michishige (Sayumi)-san's graduation, I was asked "Why didn't you cry?". But I think can only cry when I'm alone at home. I am an idol, but I don't only show my smile to the fans.
──Lastly, what is the part of Ikuta Erina that you want people to pay attention to in this tour?
At any rate, I want you to look at my improved singing and dancing. After that, the color of my hair. Right now it's "Milk Tea Beige". Please notice the change of my hair color!
Translated by: ©Eriponderful World