Please do not repost anywhere without the translator’s permission.
87th Class: A Miniature Encyclopedia (1)
Episode 11, Ryuu Masaki
Text/Illustrations by Hinata San
It's November. Shimotsuki (2), that is, a cold enough for falling frost has come. It's the turning point of the seasons, everyone, so please take good care of yourselves. Now then... Even for this little monthly corner, the time has come for the final guest. The final guest to commemorate the occasion is the most plucky of the 87th class's otokoyaku. She'll perform the closing act with a presence and showmanship to rank with Sabu-chan (Kitajima Saburou) of Kouhaku Uta Gassen (3) — Moon Troupe's Ryuu Masaki, Masao!!
The get-up for this month's photographs was a strong wish of Masao's; an instant decision for the china dresses. By all means, she herself said, "I want to be an order maid with the china dress", which seems like quite a cute dream to have.
Ma: "I'm so glad we could wear these for these photographs♥ But next time I want to take the photos in my own china dress!!" she said passionately. Wouldn't it be nice if the young maiden Masao's wish came true some day? But, Masao, female clothing (?) really suits you♥ On me it takes on the look of an out-of-work idol... (sweat drops)
Let's ask this Masao whose feminine side remains unchanged: What were you like as a child?
Ma: "I was a chocolate ball kid!" she said.
It seems that Masao's family are through and through outdoor types, and during summer vacation, without fail, it was standard practice to go camping and to barbeque. Also, Masao was a girl scout; she would go out to Nushima, which is to the south of Awajishima, or to Yashima in Kagawa Prefecture, which was fairly normal procedure for outdoor types. And moreover, she would go to the pool just about every day in the summer, and so her skin was darkly tanned.... Evidently she was the color of a chocolate ball.
Anyone would be jealous of Masao's perfect childhood summer. When I try to ask her for her best memory out of them... unexpectedly, a painful memory came flying out. It was when she was returning home from a family road trip. Her little brother and sister had tired themselves out playing and were sleeping, and she alone was the only bright-eyed one.
Ma: "I want to eat takoyaki!!"
It seems she began pestering her parents who were taking turns driving. When her kind parents heard her request they bought her some takoyaki at a service area. And then when Masao got back to the car — Now then, to eat-! She was in high spirits, and in the moment when she took the tray in her hand .... bump! ....What was this? All of the steaming hot takoyaki-chan were knocked over inside the car.
Ma: "Not only did they buy them for me when I selfishly asked for them, but then I got the car all dirty... I had feelings of extreme guilt through my childhood. (sweat drops)"
Even now, because of that trauma, Masao can't eat things in the car. The resentment (?) of food is a very dreadful thing, isn't it? (angry face)
Up until now I've introduced you to a slightly naughty Masao, but at the same time that was balanced by a cultured side of her which zealously strove to learn lots of things. Her parents had an educational plan, and for the sake of discovering what this child's talent might be, it seems that they let her try out all kinds of things, from singing to painting, cram school, piano, kendo, and pool. Among them, her favorite was singing, which she had been practicing since she was three.
Ma: "At first, all we did was sing things like 'The Frog Song', but it was really fun."
Could anyone guess back then that this love that Masao had for singing would later became the impetus which turned her to Takarazuka? Masao, who continued singing lessons into the upper years of elementary school, went to go see Takarazuka for the first time with the encouragement of a friend's mother. The production was Moon Troupe's "Gone With the Wind". This first production that she saw left a deep impression on her, and Masao thought that she would like to stand on that stage. Without knowing what she needed to do to reach her goal she participated in the kiddie theater, while spending her days going to see the Moon Troupe that she had become a big fan of.
The days and months pass, and Masao (who has become a high school student) finally learns about the reality of the Music School. When Masao, who has resolved to take the Music School exams, conveys this to the vocal teacher whom she had always gone to, the teacher was greatly in favor of the teachers at Takarazuka. To increase her motivation, The high schooler used a sticker book, and it seems that every time she finished a song task a sticker was stuck in it. A very playful teacher, hm?♥
Masao is a lesson master, but she had never learned the ballet which was necessary for the Music School exams. So without delay she began going to take ballet lessons from a gym that had opened nearby. There Masao met another wonderful teacher. The teacher always encouraged Masao, who didn't think much of dancing.
Ma: "The teacher told me, 'Even if you can't do it, try your hardest and you'll be fine.' I held on to my hope and did my best."
With this and that, she took the lessons for a year, and passed the Music School exams admirably. Even now it seems she is grateful to her teachers.
Here I'm going to tell an episode about Masao and I. The two of us are from Osaka. Because it took two hours to get to the Music School, we both wanted to be in the dorms. However, the dorms are assigned starting with those who live far away, and so before it was our turn the rooms became filled until there was only one left. Masao was from inside the city, and I was from the suburbs, so I became the dorm student!! She had to take the first train in to school, and she had to wake up at 4 am every day. And so that she would have a lunch, her mother got up even earlier.... It must have been very tough. I'm sorry. (sweat drops)
Masao says that in Music School she enjoyed the acting lessons from the director Shibata-sensei and from Watanabe-Sensei (OG Shion Yuu-san). Because she liked it, she became skilled, and she improved steadily. Her natural singing skills were also helped, and from this time an air of being an important person hung about her.
Because Masao loves acting, when she's reading a script she likes to think about how that person would have lived.
Ma: "When I can feel the enjoyment we give to the audience with our performance, the painful process of creating a role turns completely into happiness."
Splendid! I wonder if before long we'll be able to see Masao's improvisations as a minor performer!? I'm anticipating it!!
Right now she's very promising, but as a hatsubutaisei she was cute... Actually, back then she was completely Kotobuki Tsukasa's (her rockette older sister). Even though when they first met, Kotobuki-san made a mistake and called her "Ryuuma Saki", she was beyond content. Kotobuki's family runs a sushi restaurant, and Masao even gave her slippers with a sushi motif.
Ma: "I was inspired by the otokoyaku nearby. Now that I'm slightly more of an upperclassman myself, I think, 'I need to do my best like Kotobuki-san, whom I admire.'"
She entered the Moon Troupe that she admired, and passed through many turning points, and now the grown Masao thinks...
Ma: "I always want to be asking myself if I am being a member of Moon Troupe as I should be. At this juncture where I'm graduating from shinjin kouen, I want to grow even more while taking care of the atmosphere of Moon Troupe!!"
We can't take our eyes off of Masao, who from now on will continue to shine more and more!!
Now then, at long last, next month is the final episode. It'll be the counter attack.... My classmates, help me to improve through your harsh words, and be... kind.
Yes, those (?) were all originally in the text. ;)
(1) The title is a word-play, because "Mame" is both Hinata San's nickname, and the word for "miniature/tiny".
(2) Shimotsuki = lit. "frost month". The eleventh month of the lunar calendar.
(3) Kouhaku Uta Gassen = An annual televised singing contest held on New Year's Eve; Kitajima Saburou (also known as Sabu-chan) is a very famous Japanese singer who has often appeared on the show.