(2022) Translation | Airi Suzuki and Maimi Yajima interview for Ray


Source : Ray magazine December 2022 issue
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The members were often inspired by Airi's ambition

Maimi : After °C-ute disbanded, we often worked separately, but I often heard about you. Staff working with you told me "Airi is very funny", "She's so bright", and so on. I thought "No matter where I go, Airi remains the same", and I was happy you were, even when if we couldn't meet.
Airi : Yaji, you sounds like my mother when you talk like that (laughs)
Maimi : I know (laughs) I have so many things to say about you. You've been someone who enjoys work and gives your all ever since your ℃-ute days. I feel like you enjoy seeing yourself evolve through the accumulation of your own efforts. I'm a pretty lazy person, so I can't keep going on every single day, but you're able to use the slightest change as motivation, like when people tell you "You've lost a little weight, didn't you ?". I've seen you be that way for years, and you told me that people can change if they keep trying.
Airi : You're good at remembering things !
Maimi : When we shared the same hotel room for work, or when we all stayed together, you used to massage yourself in silence, and I was amazed by the fact you were sticking to your habits every single day !
Airi : I taught everyone reflexologia after that! (laughs)
Maimi : Right ! Mai was the type of person who'd go like "That's amazing, I'll do it !". I was the type of person who would say, "You're amazing, Airi," while eating the huge meal which was right in front of me (laughs)
Airi : Yeah, you're right! That reminds me so many things! But that's also what I like about you (laughs) I'm glad we're still teaching each other the things we like and the places we recommend.
Maimi : Because you enjoy working hard, and it brings results, I believe we all were often inspired by your ambition. 

Yaji is a genius at extracting people's good parts

Airi : Around me, you're the person who's the best at finding the good in other people.
Maimi : Stop it!
Airi : People often allow people to stay by our side because we love them, but we get used to their nice parts and take them for granted, don't they? You, you're a genius who continuously extract the best parts of people. When you were an idol, you were called "the goddess," and of course it's because you're a beauty, but you're also a goddess inside !
Maimi : No, that's not true. If you say that, then I have to add that you're a generous person who don't hesitate to show your self-production skills to other people. You even gave me advices about how to present myself and how I should go about my activities when I started working alone.
Airi : Ah, when we were at the Shinagawa station's café ?
Maimi : Exactly ! (laughs) Instead of thinking about yourself, you think about how I and the other members can do well, and wants everyone to succeed.
Airi : Thinking "if I was your manager..." (laughs)
Maimi : But it actually made me learn a lot !
Airi : I only do that for people I love and who I wish happiness too. As °C-ute, we've been working hard together for 20 years since childhood, so whatever path we choose, I want us all to be happy. We've decided to disband because we wanted to challenge ourselves !
Maimi : It's such a great thing to have people we think about that way, besides our family. You're so innocent now, but when I look back, you weren't positive from the beginning. When you were a kid, you were shy. You tried to communicate with everyone by giving us your favorite soybeans makis and saying "I'll give it to you" (laughs).
Airi : You all ate them before I noticed, and I ended up crying (laughs) I loved those soybeans makis (laughs)
Maimi : Who would've thought this whine Airi would become a person who bring so much happiness to others.
Airi : During our °C-ute days, there were times when I whined and complained in front of you. I miss those days. 

The moment I thought I had to break the walls I've been building

Maimi : I was worried about you during your adolescence. You had so much pressure as the center of the group, and it was hard to balance your activities with schoolwork. But somehow, you started to change. You suddenly started to make funny faces and all.
Airi : Oh, so you noticed it ? I'm so embarrassed (laughs) You wrote a letter to me when I was about to retreat into my shell. And fans know how long your blog post were, so they can imagine its lenght (laughs) The words that you use have great power and warmth. I've met many people in my solo activities, but there's no one as warm as you, and there's no one like you but yourself. You're like... a natural water that gives me a great deal of thoughts. So, when I see you for the first time in a while, it always makes me wonder "Did I change ?".
Maimi : I stay the usual me. When we can't meet, I check your Instagram and I think "Wah, she's so cool", "so stylish". I was actually a little nervous before meeting you, because I thought you were now this "a woman in a big city" type of girl.
Airi : People often tell me I'm different in pictures and in real life (laugh)
Maimi : I was reassured to see you were the usual Airi when I saw you today.
Airi : I'm very relieved to hear that I haven't changed (smiles) You shower me with compliments, and I'd like to be that way towards the people around me and see things with the same gaze as you. I started by being negative and lacking confidence, but I became very good at transforming that into positive thinking and I'm sure it's because I had you and other positive girls by my side.