Bros#84 “Hi, this is Fukuyama” (2009.10) Part 2
(Part 1 of this article is here.)
We didn’t have too much hesitation on the set list (that means the songs) for the tour this time. Besides the ones people were looking forward to, where should we add in the new songs from the album “Zankyo”? I wanted a performance that would give the highest level of “entertainment”. That was all I was thinking about.
During the first part of the tour, in the Shizuoka (靜崗) and Niigata (新瀉) shows, the album wasn’t released yet. I was feeling my way as was the audience, so it was a bit exciting. It was only after evolving the concert run-down bit by bit, that we were able to come up with the unique arrangement for Inasayama, and onward to the final Yoyogi shows. In this regard, I feel we were able to achieve it only with the help of the people who came to the concerts.
Oh, by the way, if you want to hear something not related to the concert, I’ll have to tell you about Sapporo (札幌). The Makomanai (真駒內) Ice Arena has no air-conditioning installed. Generally, this wouldn’t be a problem, but when the audience gets excited, that heat, that humidity and sweat and carbon dioxide from the people, is no small matter!! That was hot and stuffy, Sapporo!
And we had 4 shows in that environment. In fact, those 4 shows held in each of Sapporo and Fukuoka (福岡) were very good memories for us. From the time we arrived, we were able to stay for a whole week. So there was no need to rush in setting-up and disassembling the stage, as we had to do in other places. I felt I was much more able to take in the local flavour. If I was in Tokyo, I’d definitely be working on the day of rest in between the shows, but not in other places. That was such a blessing. I had the leisure to go around and to places like the gym.
Yes oh yes, this tour has reminded me once again how much physical strength is needed in a concert. It’s a good thing that I’ve been on physical training all this time, as well as a high protein diet. I can strongly understand that, not only in music, lyrics or stage performances, but even my physical strength must evolve to be “diversified” and “intensified”. After all, I am 40 already.
And while we’re on that topic, the “Peach” bottom has evolved too (laugh). What do you think about it? We were actually able to develop it into a merchandise, 10 years after the single was released. This has never happened before! It’s certainly something worth cheering for.
Another cause to celebrate is, yes, Inasayama. This concert in my hometown Nagasaki, was only made possible with the help of many many people there. They allowed me to stand there on the stage and show my gratitude to everyone. Let me voice it out again here. Thank you to each of you.
Maybe I shouldn’t say this…..but we did invest an incredible amount of manpower into the Inasayama concert. The venue goes without saying, but there was also the public viewing; the various performances used to stir up the audience; the broadcasting system linking up the 2 sites and the helicopter ferrying me up the mountain, all this gave rise to a totally new dimension for a concert.
Personal memories for me include, training non-stop everyday for the opening pitch and then throwing an unbelievable Ball because of slippery fingers on that first day (sigh); the helicopter flight that I still can’t get used to; changing my clothes in a rush on a moving car and then coming straight out to sing; the rising catwalk; the dragon dance…….such a lot of happy memories, but also a very tough time too (there, I said it again! Laugh)
Alright, seriously, let’s talk about the helicopter ride first. To be honest, this person who’s not at all used to flying in a helicopter, was sitting on very nervously, watching closely as the pilot steadily brought the craft down to the lowest point (above the audience), and then squeezed a big smile to wave to everyone. Did you all see it? And on the second day, in the middle of the flight, the pilot actually asked for my autograph……I couldn’t say no under those circumstances (laugh) To be honest, he was a very steady pilot. But what surprised me most, on the extent of hard work it involved was — the dragon dance. The moves were very complicated. Although I’d missed some moves here and there during the actual performance……I tried my best.
What I’m going to say, I’ve mentioned on many different occasions already. To me, one key consideration was how I was going to enjoy these “festivities” myself. And in order to do this, I had put in everything I got, but in the end, I found I wasn’t as ecstatic as I thought I would be. (laugh) I’m not complaining! How shall I put it…….it’s my inborn character. If I could channel it towards a good cause, it could become quite a good trait.
I’m so glad that we were able to accomplish and run the concert at Inasayama smoothly, and that the entire city of Nagasaki had joined in with the celebrations as well. Flags flying everywhere; the banner in the Nagasaki train station which said “Welcome back, Fukuyama-san”; my songs being played non-stop……as if they’ve become “the City’s BGM” or “the City’s Fireworks”…….that sensation made me very happy (in fact, we did have fireworks).
And not only from Nagasaki or Kyushu, for every one of you who came from all over the country, I hope this trip to Nagasaki has become a “delightful trip” for you all.
And so, we ended the middle chapter of 2009 and entered the season of “Ryoma-den”. Filming of the drama had started earlier on already. I have begun my days of the pony tail, Ryoma makeup and running about in haori-hakama (羽織袴)*1. For pre-filming preparations, we had already started meetings during my concert days; I had gone to Ryoma-san’s grave in Kyoto to pay respects; as well as training for my physique and ultraviolet tanning for the right skin colour. That’s right, without a tan, there is no way I could have the sun-burnt look of a Tosa man.*2 Even though we could have used makeup to produce the effect, but to a “Mr. Prep” like me, that’s just my nature. If I could channel it towards a good cause, it could become quite a good trait. Even though this repetition is starting to sound a bit tiresome. If the face becomes darker, the eyes will look very white. And the teeth will look whiter too. I’m just joking.
From a musician to an actor, I have long prepared myself mentally for that transition and I couldn’t wait to get to the filming location. In musician’s jargon, I want to “sound out my voice”, this is what I’m feeling now. I know nothing about historical dramas, or even how a taiga drama is shot, so I’m really looking forward to that excitement you get from something totally new.
Although it’s going to be a long time, spending one entire year on Ryoma-den, but based my personality, I rather enjoy doing the same things over and over. I don’t know why I don’t ever get tired of it. It was the same with “Galileo” and even though the concert tour is a different nature, it’s the same in that way as well.
This is probably one facet of the so-called “The Nihonjin” (ザ・日本人 The Japanese). As a nationality, Japanese people seem to be very capable of precision working continuously for a long time and with enthusiasm. That’s the Japan I have in me. After all, I am Ryoma-san too, if you would all like to see me in a mawashi*3, I wouldn’t dislike it either. If you don’t, I think that’s fine too (laugh).
By the way, I’m still drinking single malt lately and I’ve started on Junmai Daiginjo (純米大吟醸, Top grade premium sake with no added alcohol)*4. I’m infatuated with that slightly dry and fruity taste. I have a drink every day now with my meals, not big gulps and swigs, but one cup with food (two go “合” a night to be exact, i.e. approx. 360ml) After all, I am Ryoma-san. The reason why I started drinking sake, was because I received a lot of it at the various stops of the tour, and there’s still a lot left.
Although it will be a long time before I can see you all again in the concerts, let us all engrave this year’s memories into our hearts and prepare for the ultimate “limit in our endurance”, so that when we meet again, we can fully enjoy ourselves then. In the meantime, please bear with me.
Finally, please look out for the start of “Ryoma-den” on Jan 3!!
~The End ~
While I have the highest respect for Masha’s commitment to his work, I do hope that he will continue to take good care of his health. On 2009.11.30, the US FDA has released their latest article on UV lamps here. Please please be careful, Masha.
Translated from the Chinese version Fukuyama Honne (Articles 7204 and 7244) with reference to the original article in BROS issue 84.
This English translation was first posted on MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums. (Registration required to enter.)