Fish Tank 52
Interview with Sakurai Atsushi
Translation: Lola

Mr. Sakurai is still practicing the kanji strokes for Niigata, Ibaraki and Tottori with his finger. For full details please see the Blank Map Test on PG 43.

Ready? Shall we begin the interview?
Yes, yes *smiles*.

You're still touring but, looking back on it up till now how would you say it's going?
Quite good. With the band and the staging......I think we're able to do incredibly good lives.

You've changed the set list along the way too.
Yeah, after doing a certain number of shows, we can see what flows better and so re-work the set list. I think it's good how we have it now too.

Since when have you been entering the stage during the opening from that sphere on centre stage?
Since about two days ago *smiles*.

*smiles* Wasn't it hard to breathe inside? When it opens, smoke comes out right?
I just can't see anything, when it opens.'s like I'm in a state of suspended animation *smiles*. I always feel like Urashima Tarou (1).

And now you've grown a beard for this tour.
See, because I'm like Urashima Tarou *smiles*.

Were you aware you look like Johnny Depp?
Like Jack Sparrow.

*smiles* During the tour, occasionally you would urge people to "please sit", but what was it like having the fans sit and watch you?
It wasn't any great hurdle or anything ...they watched and listened calmly. But well, it was a challenge for me though in a way.... That song, the point of the ballad of [Message] is to just focus on the guitars, the piano and the vocals which makes me have to really concentrate on singing it, and that made me feel more nervous about it.

You had quite a bit of fire during this tour too.
Yes, yes. For [Memento mori].

It must have been hot......right?
If you were close to the fire then yes, it was quite hot.

It was thrilling, seeing you come out from between the pillars of flame.
Well, it was supposed to be thrilling to watch.......doing that right at the last moment, was supposed to show what it's like to be alive. Even though that's what I wanted to express, I was nervous doing it but that's part of it too.

There's a question for you. When you were grabbed by someone in the first row, it looked like that person stole your ring....
No, that never happened.

They didn't take your ring?
They didn't take it. But what's more important is that it looks like they did.

Aah.......*giggles*. I'm printing that!
It's ok, go ahead *smiles*.

During the tour you performed for the Arabaki fest and that was your second time doing that right Sakurai-san? But how was it participating with Buck-Tick this time?
Rain, rain, rain! I caught a touch of a cold afterwards. There was a roof outside this time the time our turn came along, the rain was falling quite heavily. So I thought you know, everyone's been waiting for us late through the night in the rain so when I came out to sing, I went past the roofed area to sing in the rain. Up till then we had only performed in big halls so the atmosphere of the live was completely different...I'm glad I was able to sing in such a pretty place, that carefree feeling really encouraged me. It was a good motivation for me.

It's been decided you'll be doing a standing tour as well but how have you found doing shows for "memento mori" both in live houses and in big halls?
Halls are good because there are certain things that can only be done in them. But live houses give a more united feeling that we as a band and the fans can enjoy together but as I said, each one has its different uses that interest me and so I'm happy to have been given the opportunity to explore both.

Speaking of live houses, you haven't been to Akasaka BLITZ since the special live in February.
I'm glad we were able to do that before the tour. I think being able to try out so many things in advance at that point in time in February made it easier when the actual tour rolled around, that show gave us a good head start.

Was there anything that left an impression at the Akasaka BLITZ show?
Ah, certainly I remember a certain interviewer being right in my line of sight on the second floor. And you know, there was a difference in temperature between the first and second floor, it was about 30 degrees Celsius on the second floor *smiles*.

That's right, that's why the interviewer mentioned it.
I felt like, ah, I'm being scrutinized *smiles*. That was strange for me. But you know, I was happy because I could also see the interviewer Inoue Takako-san applauding from the second floor.

Because you could see the second floor clearly right.
I told her, "I saw you!" *smiles*.

You have quite a bit of free time compared to other tours with this tour's schedule but, how do you find it?
I'd say it's comfortable for me......because it's easy to get into my rhythm. On the weekdays I can train, I can rest and then on the weekends I do the lives, it's easy. I think it's good this way.

Finally, in regards to the upcoming tour, would you say a word for everyone awaiting those lives?
Thank you so much to all those who have come to see us on this tour and to those who came to see us in the rain in Arabaki. And for those who haven't seen us yet, you must come because things are going to get even better.

(1) Urashima Tarou is a character from Japanese folklore. He is a fisherman who rescues a turtle and ends up being rewarded for his good deed with a visit to the Palace of the Dragon God beneath the sea. It turns out that the little turtle he saved was actually the Dragon God's daughter, a princess named Otohime. Anyway, he ends up staying at the palace with the princess for a few days until he finally asks if he can return to his village. She says yes, and presents him with a box that she asks him to not open for any reason. However, when he returned home from the palace under the sea everything had changed. His home was gone, his family was gone and nobody knew who he was. It turns out he had been under the sea for 300 years. In a grief-stricken moment he ends up opening the box and instantly ages into an old man with a long beard and a bent back. There are of course variants on the tale but that's the gist of it.