Credits to Yoake@AHS

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Ayumi Hamasaki Dream Girl 100+11 Questions!

Ayu answers 111 questions with grace!

Following 2010 November’s ultra-popular legendary feature on “50 Never-Before-Asked Questions to AYU”, we have more than doubled the number of questions to commemorate S Cawaii’s 11th Anniversary, and ayu answers it all with grace! A special dream feature only with AYU X S Cawa, we bring to you unprecedented enjoyment ♪

Q1. After the disaster, lots of people changed their perspective towards various things. Did ayu change too?
A. I feel like I’ve become simpler. I think everyone feels the same too, we clearly know what is essential and important to us. What I absolutely need can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

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Q2. We’ve done a 50-Questions series before, now we’re doing a 111-Questions one. What do you feel about this?
A. I remember having lots of fun the last time, so I’m up for this one too.

Q3. What did you do yesterday?
A. Preparation of a-nation at Osaka.

Q4. What time did you wake up this morning?
A. Because we had to move out today, around 9:30am. Normally, I would still be in that golden just-awakened state. (laugh)

Q5. How’s life been lately?
A. I’m as antisocial as always. (laugh)

Q6. This issue will be released on 7 September, what do you think you’ll be doing?
A. Because of work, I probably won’t be in Japan.

Q7. Express your recent mood with an ayu song?
A. Not a super high or a super depressing song… Maybe like a rippling alpha wave. Some song like that.

Q8. Why’s that?
A. Because I’ve been busy with work, there’s no spare time for fantasies or to care about emotions, so I’ve been quite calm.

Q9. Any personal failings that made you feel guilty recently?
A. Just a mistake that everybody makes. I wanted to send a mail to someone, asking them to “Please tell ○○ this”, but I sent the mail out to ○○ instead.

Q10. What happened after that?
A. I followed up with the message “LOL ♪”

Q11. What’s a favorite item that you’ve recently bought?
A. I’ve been busy lately, so I haven’t had materialistic cravings. If I have to pick something, maybe my pressure training belt?…… Wow, that sounds really sad. (laugh)

Q12. What’s your recent fashion like?
A. It’s still hot these days, so I wear bikini tops or loose shirts. Today too.

Q13. Fall/winter items will start going on sale soon, anything you’d like to get?
A. I’ve been really casual all summer, so I want to go for a super ladylike look this fall/winter. However, basically I still like the casual style, like what I’m wearing for this S Cawa photoshoot, so I guess it’ll depend on the time, place and occasion.

Q14. How many pairs of shoes do you have in your closet at home?
A. I don’t count them, but it’s best not to ask. You’ll probably hate me. (laugh)

Q15. Which is your favourite pair?
A. Right now, Havaianas beach sandals. They’re light and easy to walk in, and the colours are pretty.

Q16. How many pairs of that do you have?
A. I have them in different colours. There’s also the vintage designs, and the limited designs, lots of different types… It’s not a complete collection, but I have quite a few.

Q17. If you had to throw all your precious bags away and leave only 1, which one will it be?
A. You know all the bags I have at home? (laugh)

Q18. Name something that is essential in your life recently.
A. Asahi’s Rokujou barley tea. I need it on hand anytime, anywhere ♪

Q19. Where’s your power spot?
A. My spot changes, depending on what’s currently puzzling me, or what I’m wishing for. Recently, no matter where I go, I burn some sage. When I can’t sleep, I get up and burn some sage, which gets me sleepy again. When I do that, the place where I am will become my power spot.

Q20. Are you enjoying Twitter nowadays?
A. It’s more fun these days. I’ve finally understood all the different functions. It’s a platform that allows me to easily share my thoughts, but because everyone can see what I’ve written, I have to protect myself. We sometimes say hurtful things, don’t we? If we don’t want to get hurt, we have to use it wisely and cautiously. Also, it’s important not to press the wrong button and send a personal mail out as a tweet. (laugh)

Q21. What’s your current obsession?
A. Pressure training. As a muscle otaku, it helps to tone my body.

Q22. About the bracelet you’re wearing now, what did you wish for when you tied it on?
A. Hey hey, I’m not supposed to say it out, right? (laugh)

Q23. At this moment, if you can have just one wish come true~? (by ayu song)
A. I want to sleep…

Q24. How many contacts does ayu have in her phone right now?
A. I don’t really keep count, I normally just go through my call log and do redials. On a normal day~, I do about 10 redials? (laugh)

Q25. What is ayu’s ringtone?
A. “Piriririri”. (laugh) When someone calls me, they hear “Purururu”. (lol)

Q26. Any special traits of ayu recently?
A. Beautiful abs (by nailist nearby)

Q27. What does ayu consider to be her “battle costume”?
A. It’s probably far from what you’re imagining. When I need to meet up with someone whom I can’t really open up to, I arm myself by putting on make-up and maybe wearing a beautiful dress. On the contrary, if it’s someone whom I can really open my heart to, I’ll feel ok to be without make-up and in casual wear.

Q28. Are you confident without make-up?
A. Not sure if you can call it confidence, but I like my face better without make-up.

Q29. If you had to rate your no make-up face? (laugh)
A. It’s kind of sad if you hate your face without make-up. So I give myself 100 points!

Q30. What’s a favourite skincare technique?
A. I don’t really do anything special. Just keep it normal and take care not to let it dry out.

Q31. Do you do your own make-up sometimes?
A. I have all of what’s needed, but I really seldom use them myself. I only put on make-up when I need it for work, but otherwise, I like to go without.

Q32. Any make-up point that you are obsessed with?
A. Lip cream. I’m so not girlish! (laugh)

Q33. Any secrets to maintaining such good looks even after 10 years?
A. Don’t overdo skincare.

Q34. Why are you so beautiful?
A. You say that, but I’m starting to think that everyone else are the more beautiful ones now. Girls here put on beautiful make-up and curl their hair nicely everyday. Whenever I go overseas, I always realize that Japanese girls are really concerned about their looks.

Q35. On to scalp care, what’s a beauty item that you’d like to promote?
A. I’ve written about this on Twitter: an edema cream that my pressure training sensei produces. It really produces results, whether used on the face or body, so I like it. You can buy it off the internet. Katou Yasuko’s BODY DESIGN CREAM.

Q36. What’s your favourite fragrance?
A. Plumeria recently, to fit with the season. I like the smell of Arabian Jasmine, just like the Southern Islands. And Lavender basically helps to sooth my nerves.

Q37. How many keys do you have?
A. Zero. I never go home alone.

Q38. You know that your answer is really mysterious?
A. I guess. (laugh) But no matter where I may be, Tadashi will always come to fetch me home, so I don’t have any chances to go home by myself..

Q39. What would you do if a group of little old ladies surround you on the street?
A. Little old ladies are sweet, so I’ll let them do whatever they want.

Q40. If someone mistakes you for another person, how would you reply?
A. I won’t reply directly, but will tweet about it later on.

Q41. What would you do if you encounter a molester on a train?
A. Use whatever strength I have to lash out. If I see another girl in that situation, I’ll do the same to help her.

Q42. Any food you’ve been addicted to lately?
A. Woodberry’s Frozen Yoghurt from Kichiouji ♪

Q43. What would you be if you were food?
A. A quail egg peeled from its shell. I relate to its whiteness and small size. (laugh)

Q44. Anything that you didn’t do but felt like you should have done recently?
A. I’m sure everyone thinks the same thing, but it’ll be good to tell it to the young ones. “It’s better if you go to school”.

Q45. Do you watch TV? Any favourite programmes?
A. I don’t watch local channels, just cable ones. I like scientific detective dramas like NCSI and CSI.

Q46. What would you do if you have some free time at home?
A. Talk to the dogs, as usual.

Q47. What do you think of that, objectively?
A. So cute ♥ Both the dogs and myself. (lol)

Q48. When was the last time you drove around the city on your own?
A. About 3-4 years ago. Traffic rules are stricter now, so I don’t drive anymore. I don’t have a car anyway.

Q49. Does ayu bring friends home to drink?
A. Nope~ But I drink alone at home. Stuff like beer.

Q50. That’s surprising?
A. Less of surprising, more of dark and emo. (laugh)

Q51. Any moments that made you feel good recently?
A. When I was sure I’d miss my bullet train ride, but I managed to get on anyway. Not that I ran for the train myself, more like I was swept along by the staff. (laugh)

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Q52. We’re nearly at the halfway point… How would you express this in a tweet?
A. …

Q53. What would you do if a cabaret club scout approaches you?
A. I’ll listen to what he has to say. I’d love to hear a personal assessment!

Q54. “Please become a teacher at our school” Which subject would you teach?
A. I’ll work in the sickroom. The reason? I hate classrooms.

Q55. Is there anything that you have to do every single day?
A. Steam some mugwort and do a personal sauna. If I don’t sweat for the entire day, I feel really gross. Each day, our bodies absorb both good and bad stuff, and at the end of the day, I want to detox out the bad things. That’s why I do the sauna every day, even when I’m touring or overseas.

Q56. Which is your favourite room in the house?
A. Bedroom. I have quite a few of those, each with a differently-styled interior.

Q57. What’s your favourite phrase recently?
A. “I think that’s good”. I like using it even in situations when you don’t normally say that. The staff and band members are also starting to pick up the phrase~

Q58. Was there a reason why you cut your hair short?
A. I wanted to have a simple style after the disaster.

Q59. The previous time, you said that the largest item you’ve ever bought is your home. So how many rooms are there in that house?
A. I’ve never counted, but I’ll say that there are some rooms that I’ve never even seen myself. (laugh)

Q60. How many bathrooms are there?
A. I think there are some which I haven’t been in as well. (laugh) There are some just for guest use. Even though lots of staff go in and out of my house, I don’t really know where they go for that…?? Well, I don’t really care about those things. (laugh)

Q61. Do you plan to change your hairstyle soon?
A. When it becomes a little longer, I may stop being blonde and go for dark hair.

Q62. Do you like to bare your legs or back more?
A. I’m an abs expert, so I’m the “tummy-baring” type.

Q63. What would you do if you woke up one day and found yourself fat?
A. I’ll get really angry, and start running like crazy! (laugh)

Q64. What would you do if you woke up one day and found yourself a super ganguro?
A. I’ll burst out laughing. When I calm down, I’d like to take a bath, just to see what happens?

Q65. It’s 1 more week to payday. You only have 1,000yen in your wallet. How would you live?
A. I’ll sleep as much as I can so I won’t feel hungry. (laugh)

Q66. What would you do if you suddenly became penniless?
A. What will I do? More like there’s nothing I can do. Will anyone give me a job~?

Q67. You have to do a forfeit in front of 109 (the most famous shopping complex in Shibuya). Would you wear Kato-chan’s bald wig or Shimura’s swan?
A. I don’t mind, but I will definitely pick the wig! The swan looks uncomfortable~ (laugh)

Q68. You have to change your stage name. Would you pick Star Hamasaki or Diva Hamasaki?
A. The former title is Nishikino’s, so I’ll take the latter.

Q69. If you were in a different situation, do you think you would be able to manage a ramen store by yourself?
A. No problem. I’m totally flexible with that. I don’t mind how people look at me. I can even work at a convenience store. Even if my life changes, I won’t mope around and think “This is bad”. As long as I can do anything I like, I’ll lead a normal life. Anyway, it’s easier that way.

Q70. You lost your way. What is the first thing you would do?
A. Give Tadashi a call.

Q71. You just tripped and fell. Everyone is looking at you. What’s the first thing you would say?
A. “Tadashi~”

Q72. If life without your mobile phone or life without your computer harder?
A. Mobile phone, because I won’t be able to call Tadashi, so I won’t be able to go home. (laugh)

Q73. A guy is hitting on you, and he’s really persistent. What would you do?
A. I’ll keep calling for “Tadashi~” (lol)

Q74. By the way, who is Tadashi?
A. My manager. (laugh)

Q75. What is the limit on ayu’s credit card?
A. No limit.

Q76. If you have to tattoo a kanji character on your body, what would it be?
A. My name “歩” (ayumi). Speaking about that, there was one time in the past when I seriously considered getting such a tattoo.

Q77. What’s your favourite English phrase?
A. LOVE.

Q78. Do you go to convenience stores?
A. I can’t really go~. Actually, some time ago, I was somewhere out of Tokyo, and I thought it would be fine for me to go, but it turned ugly after 2 seconds. Sorry for causing trouble!! (laugh)

Q79. Is the person you are now similar to the person you imagined yourself to grow up to be like in the past?
A. I used to think that, at this age, I would be alot more adult-like. Even though I planned to become more of an adult… This is unimaginably nice.

Q80. If you had to choose between 2 of S Cawa’s popular features: The 30 days dress-up and the BEFORE&AFTER make-up, which would you choose?
A. The make-up one seems easier to do. But if everyone wants to see me do the 30 days dress-up one, I’m fine too. But I’d like to do a different version: 10 days with 3 costumes each. (lol) I guess the biggest challenge will be to secure 10 days in my schedule!? Work hard at that, S Cawa!

Q81. What praise satisfies ayu the most?
A. As long as it’s praise, I’m happy whatever it is~ (lol)… Is that an answer?

Q82. You have to earn 1 million yen. Would you busk on the streets or work in a cabaret club?
A. You mean as an experience kinda thing? If it’s something fun like that, I’d love to do it. Even though I’m not of the appropriate age anymore, I still want to try.

Q83. What is one characteristic that proves that ayu is an adult?
A. I can provide support to others.

Q84. What were you thinking when you created POWER of MUSIC?
A. The disaster was my chance. We were already in the final preparations for a tour that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but I scrapped it all and recreated everything. And that is the show now.

Q85. What meaning does it hold then?
A. I think you will understand if you watch the show. Every performance brings everyone in the venue closer together than ever before. I’m glad I made this show. And because I’m really glad I made this show, I hope everyone will come to see this tour. There are still tickets left ♥

Q86. What is this show to ayu then?
A. Usually, I can’t predict how the show will turn out, but this time more so than ever. Since there were no props and stage set, each song’s performance and design were based on the current feelings of myself, the band and the dancers. So the show was constructed out of such feelings.

Q87. What about the changing setlist, from the 1st to final chapter?
A. That’s because Japan is progressing. That wasn’t in the plan at the beginning, but came about during the tour itself: the idea of progressing together.

Q88. What are your reflections after completing the first half?
A. Now, I’m wondering what will happen in the coming autumn. It’s not that I’m lost, but just that I want to match the show with the direction Japan will be heading in, so there are some details which I won’t be able to include until the right time comes. I’m looking forward to how things will turn out.

Q89. Anything new you’ve discovered while touring?
A. While the tour is limitless, I shouldn’t stress my throat. That is usually my first concern.

Q90. Any fads from backstage during the tour?
A. Everyone was burning sage. By the way, we burned some on stage as well.

Q91. Is it really true that you require your backstage room to be fitted to become like your own?
A. Eh? Doesn’t everyone do that? It’s a natural response, right? (laugh)

Q92. When do you come up with lyrics?
A. When the deadline is near. Even if I write some beforehand, I’ll change them. Even though the things I want to bring across remain the same, the phrasing, perspective, how to end the song, all these change according to my mood.

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Q93. Have you ever suffered a broken heart?
A. Every now and then.

Q94. What are your thoughts about that?
A. Women’s intuition is really amazing.

Q95. How is ayu like when she is writing lyrics?
A. I won’t do anything except write the lyrics. I don’t even eat or drink. Until I finish, I can sit at the same place in the same position for hours without moving, and people often wonder “Hey. Are you ok? Still alive?”

Q96. What is the biggest gamble ayu took in her life?
A. When I couldn’t decide if I should debut as a singer.

Q97. About that gamble?
A. I won.

Q98. New mini-album 「FIVE」 is released! What does the title mean?
A. Well… I won’t tell you. (laugh) However, there are hints everywhere, on the jacket cover, in the lyrics, in the PVs. I didn’t start out with a firm concept in mind, so the lyrics were written during different periods, and the songs are of different genres too. However, in the end, I felt that this is what I want to say “now”… And that became the mini-album.

Q99. By the way, this issue marks S Cawaii’s 11th Anniversary. Any congratulatory words? (laugh)
A. Congrats! I shall work hard so that I can grace the cover on S Cawa’s 15th Anniversary too!

Q100. Tell us more about 「progress」!
A. I’ve performed it during the tour, and this song’s message really links up to the “present”. The message will come across better if you watch the PV while listening to the song. By the way, the PV was made by stringing lots of still shots together to make a video. The directors spent 5~6 hours walking along mountaineous paths in LA, clicking their camera shutters probably thousands of times. I take my hat off to their spirit!

Q101. Who is the JUNO who featured in 「Why…」?
A. He is JYJ’s Junsu’s elder twin brother. He told me during recording that Junsu gave him some advice regarding the lyric meanings and how to sing earlier on. The perspective of the lyrics really matched with JUNO’s sorrowful voice, and it came out really well ♪ The PV is a tricky video made using the latest technology available in Japan, so do check that out too.

Q102. How about 「ANother song」 with AAA’s Urata-kun?
A. The lyrics are a story written after a talk with NAO, so they’re not really from my personal perspective. The PV was also made because NAO did it together with me, since I rarely do dance videos.

Q103. The 「BRILLANTE」 PV packs some punch. I really like it!! What’s the meaning behind that???
A. You should honestly laugh at 「BRILLANTE」. (laugh) The photographer who did this S Cawa x AYU shoot, Leslie Kee, was the one who directed the PV. By the way, Leslie also directed the LOVE&HOPE PV for 「beloved」. It’s frightening… the extreme difference between these 2 PVs. (laugh)

Q104. Countdown Live DVD is released. I’m surprised that ayu’s troupe can accomplish such a show, so what was the toughest bit?
A. The 360-degree center-stage. We didn’t know in which direction to look, and some of us even got motion sickness, and it was personally tough beyond expectation at first. Basically, I will always be back-facing someone. It’s ok for groups, but since I’m a solo artist, I had to solve that problem. There were some skeptical opinions during the brainstorming process, and we went through lots of ideas until we found one that just might work, and we took up the challenge at year’s end. POWER of MUSIC uses the same center-stage concept as CDL, but I recommend seeing this show live instead of on DVD. The stage will seem alive, and it’ll be easier to see the difference from CDL’s stage.

Q105. I’ve heard that you eat carbohydrate meals before each live. What do you eat, and how much?
A. I eat pasta. However, I somehow always can’t get warm pasta and eat alot, so it’s always cold packaged pasta for me.

Q106. How do you decide on your costumes?
A. Looking at the theme and setlist, I naturally get a feeling of how each scene will be like, and the costumes come to mind. Same thing for the band and dancers’ costumes.

Q107. You sometimes cry when singing ballads, right? Is that an act, or real tears?
A. What? It’s probably just my sweat.

Q108. This is the 28th time you’ve graced our cover! (of course, the most number of times as well)
A. Well… I’m getting senior. (laugh)

Q109. Since the 30th time will come soon, any way that you would like to commemorate it?
A. Shall we do it?~ That 30 days dress-up feature ♪ However, I can’t last 10 days with 3 outfits per day!!!! (lol)

Q110. What should S Cawa’s female readers do?
A. Well, fall in love lots and hone your discerning eye ♪

Q111. Lastly, any themes which ayu wishes to sing about in the future?
A. To be honest with every part of myself, and then to freely express them all…