We heard good comments from the previous installment, in which Maaya Sakamoto reverse-interviewed Yoshifumi Hioki, who designs the newsletter and merchandise for this “Idling Stop!” fan club. After that, Mr. Hioki went on to design the “Windreader Flag” and tour pamphlet among other things, and we’ve worked together on many projects. As I’m sure all of you know.
So with that, here’s the second round of the reverse interview series!
My guest this time is Kōichi Taniwaki, who is the director for my radio show “Vitamin M”, currently airing on bayfm. “Vitamin M” is a long-running show which marks its eighth year this year and which at the end of last November reached its 400th broadcast, but actually we have known each other since before this show began, when I had a five-minute segment called “The Diary” on the same station. All told, he’s a priceless colleague with whom I’ve worked for nearly ten years.
Mr. Taniwaki has the sort of cool demeanor that at first glance gives you a sense that he’s kind of a scary person, but he’s actually a very humorous and passionate guy with the aura of an older brother. He’s active, always off to different places and trying his hand at new things, and I think the fact that he’s interested in so many things gives him that youthfulness and constant energy. He’s never lacking in interesting topics of conversation, which makes you wonder if maybe he should be the one behind the mic? And even though he’s extremely busy, he makes it a point to come to my concerts and events. He lets me know about tons of amazing restaurants, and feels like a dependable big brother. He actually does look a little like my real big brother (laugh).
So then, let’s see how Mr. Taniwaki handles a barrage of questions!
Sakamoto: When was the first time we met again?
Taniwaki: If memory serves, September 2001. I think you were still in college back then!
Sakamoto: Right, I was. That was when I was sort of cutting it close on credit hours and on the edge of whether I’d be able to graduate. What sort of first impression did you get from that time?
Taniwaki: You were a girl who had an aura of kindness.
Sakamoto: Come to think of it, we’ve known each other for quite a long time—did that impression change later?
Taniwaki: Definitely (laugh). I was spot-on when it came to you being a kind woman, but on the inside you’re manly. Lately it’s almost like you have a feminine sexiness about you—there are surprising moments when you’re giving off pheromones. A while back if you asked me “What do you want to drink?” you meant a soft drink, but now it’s like “What do you want to drink?” means alcohol.
Sakamoto: That’s because at first I was shy and feigning innocence a little (laugh). But wait—I’m giving off pheromones?! Seriously? I can’t tell. Next time you sense them you should let me know, “You’re giving them off now!” (laugh) Anyway, throughout our long history, have I done or said anything you can’t forget?
Taniwaki: This is something recent, but it would have to be when you went on that solo trip to Europe without so much as a second thought. You definitely versioned up there.
Sakamoto: Being away from my home in Japan for five whole weeks meant we had to record that much of our regular show “Vitamin M” in advance, which I’m certain put a tremendous burden on you, and so I’m truly grateful that I could get you to work with my selfish request. The same “Vitamin M” the other day finally reached its 400th broadcast, didn’t it? In a word, how do you feel about it now?
Taniwaki: We’ve still got a ways to go.
Sakamoto: Of course! The best is yet to come, right? Starting with that 400th broadcast, the show became available on the internet so everyone across the country can listen in. I imagine this will mean an influx of new listeners, so please direct a few words to those listeners from across Japan.
Taniwaki: There’s no one else whose voice when singing and talking can give this much energy and refreshment to men and women of all ages. You should definitely tune in at least once to the combined manly and womanly sides of Maaya’s talk. I’m positive you’ll look forward to listening every week! We appreciate your support as we work to make it an exciting and even longer-running show. We welcome your messages.
Sakamoto: We certainly do! By the way, seeing as I’m turning 30 next March, as my role model in life, if you have any advice I’d love to hear it.
Taniwaki: For me, turning 30 was more of an emotional shock than the time I turned 20. But it’s more fun from here on out!
Sakamoto: Really? Speaking of which, what was it like when you turned 30?
Taniwaki: When I turned 30 I guess I was running around in a dazed state, trying to figure out if I’d get divorced or not. (As it went I got divorced, but now I’m married again.) I feel it was a critical time when I grew mentally in a huge way.
Sakamoto: Ohh, so that’s how it was. There might be a difference between the way men and women perceive this, but for me personally, I picture the time after a man passes 30 as a time when he finds room to relax in a lot of areas and becomes more attractive. With women too, I have to say I’m trusting that it’s a time when you can put the experiences from your 20s to use and shine even more, so I’ll do my best. On the other hand, is there any one thing you wish I would quit doing?
Taniwaki: Maybe that you’d keep that manly side of your personality from showing through any more than it already does!
Sakamoto: Ahh. I’ll keep a close eye on that. The things I’d like you to stop doing are getting flat tires at high speeds or having thieves break into your home—that talent (?) you have for finding yourself involved in twice as many incidents as the average person! It worries me, you know (laugh). Your private life is certainly never in want of dramatic stories (laugh). Now then, on to a different subject—you already know everything there is to know about my music, but if you were to list three personal favorites from my songs, which would you choose?
Taniwaki: Choosing wouldn’t be easy, but I guess “Loop”, “Remedy”, and “Magic Number”.
Sakamoto: Really?! We haven’t really talked much on those lines, so that’s the first I’ve heard. I’m glad you like those. Incidentally, excluding me, what artists have you heard recently that you recommend?
Taniwaki: Recently that’s been Mika, Owl City, Lil’ Eddie.
Sakamoto: I also love Mika and listen to his music often; it was you who first introduced me to one of his albums and got me started. You pretty much know my taste in music backwards and forwards by now, so all the time you let me know about various artists you think I’d like. And you’re always right on the mark, as expected. OK! Let’s wrap this up, shall we? I’m sure there are a lot of Vitamin M listeners in the fan club. Since you can listen to the streaming broadcast on your cell phone and it’s started airing on internet radio too, Vitamin M’s circle of listeners looks like it’ll expand even more in its eighth year. That’s something to be happy about, isn’t it? Could you please give a closing message for those listeners new to the circle?
Taniwaki: This show is built on all of your messages. Staying on the air for 400 episodes is all thanks to you. This is something built up week by week, so please keep on writing in and taking an active part in the show!
Sakamoto: The same goes for me too! And I’m also hoping this show continues for a long time. Mr. Taniwaki, thank you very much!