On the eve of their fourth straight year performing on the J-Pop Summit stage, we had a chance to talk to YANAKIKU about San Francisco, music, and of course... food!
JPOPROCKS: This is YANAKIKU’s fourth straight year performing at the J-Pop Summit. What are your thoughts on how the J-Pop Summit evolved these past four years?
YANAKIKU: We are so happy to be back at the J-Pop Summit as a sponsor for iichiko. This is our fourth year here and we are happy to be back here.
In the past, the event took place in different areas of San Francisco, like Japan Town and Union Square. But here [at Fort Mason] there are more people attending the event, more sponsors and activities and interactions.
JPR: You have quickly become a fan favorite at the J-pop Summit. Have you seen a change in how the San Francisco audience responds to your performances?
KIKU: Over the years we have noticed that the American audiences have been more cheerful compared to before. When we debuted at the J-pop summit we were so nervous and we really didn’t know what we were doing, but after four years of coming here we have learned what the audience is like and now we are used to singing in front of our fans here.
YANA: Speaking of changes, now that we have been here for four years, we have many fans here who remember and recognize us. It's great when fans over here say “Welcome back!” and “I am so happy to see you again!”
JPR: What's your favorite food when visiting San Francisco?
KIKU: The clam chowder at the Fisherman’s Wharf. The bread bowl is very big!
JPR: We really like your song KANPAI NIGHT! Other than iichiko shochu, if I visited your home today, what would I find in the refrigerator?
KIKU: Ice Cream
JPR: Who doesn't like ice cream. Favorite flavor?
JPR: You've been performing together for a long time. Do people often mistake you as sisters? How has your relationship changed over the years?
KIKU: Yes! Even after all our time together, everyone still thinks we are sisters! We used to live together, and have spent a lot of time together as well, and even now nothing much has changed. In fact we spend more time together than we do with our parents!
JPR: You have performed in many countries all over the world. Do you have any memorable stories from the road?
KIKU: We have had many cheerful and excited audiences around the world, but in China people are much more cool and calm. We were very surprised to see that in China.
JPR: HACHIKO↑DANCE has been on our playlists since its release this year. It is a fun and catchy song!
KIKU: That's great! [they both do the Hachiko dance] That was our first attempt working with electro sync, and everyone loves the Hachiko dance!
JPR: We really like your sense of style, especially your “Kimo-Cos”. Can you give us any insight into how YANAKIKU develops their costumes?
YANAKIKU: Thank you! We have a great designer that makes our outfits, and we wear them so that people will appreciate our Japanese style. We also hope that the our fans enjoy them as well. We have a new costume for the J-pop Summit and we hope our fans will like it.
JPR: We are heading to Japan for the first time early next year. Do you have any recommendations for us or anyone else wanting visiting Japan?
KIKU: Really! Where are you going?
JPR: Mainly Tokyo.
YANA: Go to Hachiko! [Laughs] Like Hachiko dance!
KIKU There’s a golden street in shinjiku... there are so many places!
YANA: [Interrupts] Akibahara!
JPR: Is there any special message you would like to say to your fans here in the US?
KIKU: We are so happy to be here again and meet the fans here in San Francisco. The J-pop summit is a once a year event so we always look forward to coming back and hearing from all of our fans here. Thank you so much!
YANA: We are happy to see fans that have returned from our past performances, and we hope that all the people who have never heard us perform will enjoy the performance as well. Please enjoy!
JPR: Let's close this interview with... What is your favorite English word?
YANA: See you again!