Q&A with Wasuta at Anime North 2019
Wasuta fields questions from fans at a Q&A panel at Anime North.
The World Standard, or Wasuta for short, are a pop quintet aiming to spread kawaii Japanese idol culture all over the world. Following their successful North American concert debut at Toronto convention Anime North on May 25th, the idol group took some time the next day to answer questions from the fans at a Q&A panel.
The girls were dressed in their colourful stage costumes, complete with their signature cat ears, and they greeted each fan who stepped up to the mic with bright smiles and a cute group "Hi!" or "Hello!".
So, first of all, thank you for coming. I was one of the people who wanted very badly for you guys to come, so I’m very glad that you guys are here. My question has to do with a lot of–you guys tend to have a very diverse style, so I guess my question is, which style is your favourite to perform in and why?
Miri Matsuda: (in English) Country! (surprised laughter from the audience) Country! I like country!
Ruka Mishina: Rock.
Nanase Hirokawa: Jazz.
Ririka Kodama: Hip-hop.
Hazuki Sakamoto: EDM.
Thank you for coming to Canada. I want to ask, since coming to Canada, what has been your favourite food that you’ve eaten?
Ruka Mishina: (in English) Tim Hortons! Maple cruller–very good!
Miri Matsuda: Maple syrup. I bought maple syrup as a souvenir. It’s about this big (gestures to convey size of bottle). I bought three of them.
Nanase Hirokawa: (in English) Canada’s watermelon is very sweet–very good.
Ririka Kodama: (in English) Ice cream. Very good!
Hazuki Sakamoto: (in English) Potato chips, ah, ketchup. (ketchup-flavoured potato chips)
Maybe this is more of a question for management, but how did you get to do the collaboration for Yo Quiero Vivir? (their collaboration with Spanish pop duo Adexe & Nau)
Miri Matsuda: (begins excitedly doing dance moves from the MV in her seat)
Nanase Hirokawa: Actually, we were invited to an event in Spain and Adexe & Nau were thinking about who they could do a collaboration with and they said “Wasuta!”, and that’s how that came to be.
Ruka Mishina: Niagara Falls!
Wasuta: Me too!
There are a lot of us here from the United States, and I just wanted to know if you have any plans to visit the United States–especially New York?
Wasuta: We really want to go! Please invite us! Then we can eat a big pizza. Big pizza!
I came here from Japan. What do you think about the difference between Japanese concerts and concerts in Canada?
Miri Matsuda: In Japan, idol culture has fans that cheer more for the idols themselves. I found that here in Canada more people are at the shows to listen to the music and enjoy the music itself, and the speed of the reaction is different in Japan compared to other countries. So one thing I think Japan could learn from Canada is to have a faster reaction.
What is your “Splatoon” rank?
Miri Matsuda: I'm the most confident player. Mine is S now.
Ruka Mishina: I think it's B+. I’m doing my best.
Nanase Hirokawa: I’ve just been sort of cheering people on, so I haven’t really played much.
Ririka Kodama: I’ve done it, but my highest mark is B-.
Hazuki Sakamoto: I’m an amateur.
When you went to Hong Kong, you collaborated with Niji no Conquistador. If you had the opportunity to collaborate or perform live with another artist–any style of artist, it doesn’t have to be an idol–who would you like to work with?
Ruka Mishina: We haven’t actually met Adexe & Nau in person, so I’d like to perform together on the same stage with them.
Nanase Hirokawa: Ariana Grande, because she usually wears cat ears and we’d like to perform together with her wearing cat ears.
Hazuki Sakamoto: Lady Gaga.
What is everyone’s favourite Wasuta song?
Hazuki Sakamoto: Just be yourself.
Ririka Kodama: It actually changes depending on the day, but right now it’s PLATONIC GIRL.
Nanase Hirokawa: (in English) I like PLATONIC GIRL too.
Ruka Mishina: Saijoukyuu Paradox.
Miri Matsuda: Ultra Miracle-cle Final Ultimate Choco Beam. I have a lot actually.
Miri Matsuda: I was taking dance classes, and a girl at my dance school became an idol. She became so cute, and I thought “I really want to be like that”, so I became an idol. Of course, being an idol doesn’t necessarily mean that you get to go overseas, but with Wasuta I was able to do that. Being able to be with everybody here from different countries, everybody came together–even people from Japan have come to see us here. This experience has been a treasure in my life, and I really want to say “Thank you”. I really, really appreciate it.
Ruka Mishina: I used to do hip-hop dance, and I didn’t actually have an interest in being an idol during that time. But, as it came about, somebody asked if I could go to an audition to be an idol and I really fell in love with dancing and performing. One of the fun things about being an idol for me is creating these songs and having everybody come together and enjoy the music and enjoy our performances. That has really been the high point for me as an idol.
Nanase Hirokawa: Actually, from when I was a little kid, I was doing auditions for magazines and things like that. My mom even put me in an audition when I was a little kid, so I was very into the idol culture from a young age. In Japan, idol culture started to get really big, for example AKB48, and I was able to get an audition with iDOL Street (Wasuta’s label) to be an idol. One thing that makes me so glad I became an idol is the number of relationships that I was able to build—the people that I was able to meet—and I think, if I wasn’t an idol, I wouldn’t have been able to do that, so I’m so appreciative of being an idol right now.
Ririka Kodama: When I was younger, I wasn’t really planning to be an idol. However, I really liked dancing and I really liked acting, and so, the staff actually approached me and said “Why don’t you audition to be an idol?”, and I did it, and I became one. One thing that I’m thankful for is these relationships and experiences that I would never have had if I hadn’t become an idol, and so every day I think about that and I’m really thankful. That’s one of the things that I find is amazing about being an idol right now.
Hazuki Sakamoto: Actually, my father took it upon himself to put me in an audition to be an idol and, of course, at the beginning I was very shy. I was a shy girl–I didn’t really dance, and I didn’t really sing, but, after becoming an idol I was able to travel to so many different places, meet so many different people, and learn how to communicate with them, and so for me I think that’s one of the things that I’m most thankful for and what I find most amazing about being an idol.
I was in Japan in March for Ruka’s birthday concert at Mt. Rainier Hall in Shibuya, and I saw her play guitar. How long does she practice, and do the other girls play any instruments?
Ruka Mishina: I started playing guitar in 2018, about a year ago … That’s when I played, I mean, that’s how long I’ve been playing guitar from.
Nanase Hirokawa: Actually, I’ve tried to play an instrument twice during our Wasuta Planet lives. I was playing the piano, so I had practiced. I haven’t been practicing consistently since then, but my vocal teacher keeps asking me to practice playing the piano, so from now I’m going to try to continue that.
Miri Matsuda: I play the koto, but just a little bit. (imitates the sound of a koto string being plucked several times, making the audience laugh)
Hazuki Sakamoto: I’m not very good at playing instruments, so I rap.
Ririka Kodama: It’s only been a couple of times that I’ve played them, but I’ve played the drums. I really want to get better at playing them so that I can play them for everyone at a live someday.
Nanase Hirokawa: CN Tower. Downtown, I want to go downtown.
Ruka Mishina: Do you have a recommendation of a place to go?
There’s Ripley’s Aquarium, it’s like a really nice place.
Ruka Mishina: An aquarium?!
Like really big! It’s really nice.
Wasuta: Ehhhh?! I want to go!
You guys are so cute! So, I was wondering if there’s any other artists that you’re interested in or that you’ve been listening to lately?
Nanase Hirokawa: She’s a Japanese artist, but LiSA. I love LiSA so much. I love listening to her more than any other artist–so much so that it’s like she’s the only other artist that I listen to.
Ruka Mishina: It’s a Japanese artist–I like rock bands, so ONE OK ROCK.
Ririka Kodama: It’s a Japanese artist, back number. I like them a lot, and I listen to their songs all the time.
Miri Matsuda: Ever since I was born, I’ve had one favourite artist, and her name is Amuro Namie. She is god. (audience laughs) God.
Hazuki Sakamoto: I listen to lots of different music, but one of my favourites is the Anpanman March.
Yesterday, during the live, you distributed Japanese sweets. Please tell us about your recommended Japanese sweets.
Ruka Mishina: Bisco. It’s a type of cookie where there’s cream sandwiched between two cookies–that’s my favourite.
Miri Matsuda: Choco pie.
Hazuki Sakamoto: Yan Yan hazelnut cream snacks. They’re like the Japanese version of Nutella with biscuit dippers.
Ririka Kodama: I like Japanese sweets, so omanju.
Nanase Hirokawa: Jagariko, and Pocky is number one.
Other than your own songs, what songs do you like to play on “Girls Beat Stage”?
Wasuta: We only do our own songs.
You guys perform at a lot of other live houses and stuff. Are there any idols that you like to hang out with backstage, and do you have any funny stories?
Ruka Mishina: There’s so many people backstage that there’s not really time to talk with them, but if you’re asking about which groups we’re friends with–
Nanase Hirokawa: Rika Watanabe from Keyakizaka46 is someone that I’m really close with and that I hang out with backstage if I get a chance.
Ruka Mishina: Riko Nakayama from Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku is someone I like to hang out with, and we’ll catch up if we see each other at events.
The last question came from the event organizers, J-rock North Promotions:
We want to know, everybody in this room, if we invite you back, will you come back?
Wasuta: Ehh?! We want to come back! Do it, please! We definitely want to come back!
Following one final group “Thank you, Wasuta!” from the audience, the girls made their way out of the room and fans who had purchased merchandise began lining up for the autograph session.
Read our live report on Wasuta's Anime North performance at: https://www.jame-world.com/en/article/150282-wasuta-at-anime-north-2019.html
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