Interview with Yuriko 2006

Yuriko for Yuricon 2007, by Kun

2006 Interview with Yuriko

Hello and welcome to the 2006 Interview with hunky Yuricon mascot, Yuriko! As a special treat for her birthday this year, Yuriko asked the members of the Yuricon Mailing List
to send her questions. It has been a long five years since we last interviewed her, and many things have changed. So let’s hear what from the fans – and what Yuriko has to say to them!

As you all know, Yuriko is very busy right now, preparing for a world tour. We’re very glad that she could take a moment out of her busy schedule to talk with us. We’ve forwarded our questions to her and she’s sent us answers back, which we’ve translated for you all.

So, first of all – welcome Yuriko-san, and thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

A: Thank you! It’s a pleasure to be able to talk “directly” to my fans. And thank you very much to everyone who sent me cards and birthday wishes! Thank you all very much for your kindness.

Q: Does Yuriko prefer chocolate or strawberries?

A: Tough question. I think I’ll have to say strawberries.

Q: Does she lurk online places? Or watch TV shows from Europe and North America?

A: I don’t have time to watch much television or do computer stuff, I’m afraid. I do like watching the news, when I can, and Midori likes “The ‘L’ Word, although I find it a little…. I think I like film noir best. I saw “Sin City” not too long ago and thought that was
interesting, if a bit comic booky for my taste.

I am online a little. I do email, but don’t have much time or taste for other things…although sometimes I lurk (is that the right word?)
on fan groups for Midori. But don’t tell her that.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world without fear of persecution for being lesbian, where would you live?

A: I love living in Tokyo, honestly and can’t imagine ever living anywhere else. Of course I’d like things to be more open here, but it
will take a lot of changes for that to happen. I mean, women aren’t even on an even footing here, so there’s little chance for lesbians
and gays. But for all that America is held up as some kind of ideal place, it’s not perfect – and the UK is too rainy for me. (Laugh) I
think I’ll stay here.

Q: What’s it like being a famous lesbian pop idol?

A: It’s…busy. Exhausting, bone-crunching work, followed by hours of promotion, and of course, as much fan time as possible. The other day I met with some members of my fan club, and I almost fell asleep while one was talking to me. I apologized – I had been up since 4AM – but I felt so bad for her. (Laugh)

Q: Is there any times where it’s difficult to deal with because some people can’t accept same sex couples?

A: Of course. It’s one of the reasons I’m open about myself and my relationship. I never really know going into a job, whether it’s a
television show, or an interview, whether I’ll meet with someone who is out to “get” me or not. Sometimes it is very tiring. But I feel
like I owe it to every fan, to every gay and lesbian to every transgendered person, to everyone who isn’t exactly like everyone else
around them to be myself as publicly and openly as possible. Maybe I can make a difference – maybe not. This is who I am.

Q: We know she loves cello music, but are there any pop idols she listens to? Anyone she admires? Like, if Britney was in Tokyo, would she want to see her? Perform, I mean!!

A: (Laugh) Good question! I sing pop music, but I don’t listen to it very much, to be honest. If Britney was in Tokyo (I think she was here a few years ago,) I’d probably be too busy to make it to the concert! I blame my manager. She barely lets me have any fun. (Laugh).

I do like to dance, and whatever is playing is fine with me. House music is good, and I like jazz too. Midori likes ska and reggae, and
sometimes we will go to a concert if I know the band, or it’s a benefit. But on my own? I’d really like to see Christine Brandes –
she’s a soprano opera singer in America who happens to be a lesbian. I’d love to see her sing in person. If anyone knows her, maybe you can get me an invitation? (Laugh)

Q: Do you like anime and manga?

A: Not particularly. I read manga as a girl, but stopped, oh, I guess back in middle school. I read a *lot* of novels. I don’t care for
animation – real life is so much more interesting! Who needs giant robots and things when life is so cool. (Laugh).

Q: If you wanted to drive any car in the world which make of car would it be and what colour?

A: Of course some sexy sports car, right? Something smooth and sleek. And I’d want it to match whatever I was wearing. (Laugh)

Q: How old are you going to be?

A: Old enough that it’s not polite for you to ask anymore. (Laugh) I can tell you this, though – I’m still younger than Midori!

Q: Who, aside from Midori, is your favorite author/writer? Favorite book?

A: I really liked Suzuki Koji’s “Ringu” and I adore Uno Chiyo’s work –  especially her memoir. And the diary of Anais Nin, too. I really like work by women who refused to be defined by society, who were sexual rebels. My favorite book? That’s hard. As a child I loved folktales, especially those connected to the area I grew up. Now? I think I like stories by women who make a difference in their time on this earth – and I like horror stories. I guess my favorite book still has to be Revelations by Yukano Midori. And no, I’m not just saying that so  don’t have to sleep on the sofa. (Laugh)

Q: Where’s your favorite vacation spot?

A: I’ve heard of vacations…. No, seriously, I loved Greece when I was there. I don’t think ever been anywhere else that looked that
beautiful.

Q: Being an out lesbian, I’m sure that the press is constantly comparing you to Melissa Etheridge or other out singers. What’s the most annoying comparison you’ve ever received and what’s the best one?

A: You have no idea. (Laugh) I get compared to anyone who the reviewer or reporter heard about being gay once. The most annoying was a review of a mini-concert I did for a charity. It had some horrible theme like Paradise and all the performers had to be dressed with wings. Don’t ask. The reporter said that my segment looked like a Takarazuka rip-off. I was a little annoyed at that – I wasn’t the only one wearing sequins and wings! (Laugh.) And the article mixed up my set with another singer’s. The best comparison…I like the reviews that compare me to people who have excelled in their field. Even if it’s not a good match, like Melissa Etheridge. We don’t sing the same kind of music at all, and she doesn’t act. But she’s really amazing, so I don’t mind. I think it’s funny when I’m compared to male visual kei artists.

Q: As a famous Yuri pop idol, what love and career advice would you offer to Julia Tachibana of Strawberry Shake Sweet?

A: I’d have to say – go for it Julia-san! Tell Ran-Ran how you feel! Career advice…well…from what I can tell she’s a hard worker and
she picks good roles. I think she’ll do just fine!

Q: Do you plan to expand your fanbase overseas (i.e., beyond Japan and the US, say to maybe the Philippines)?

A: Well, I have an upcoming tour, and I will definitely be playing in Manila, so yes. I appreciate all my overseas fans. The final tour
schedule isn’t complete, but we’ll have dates in several foreign countries, including the US and Europe. (Maybe we’ll even do a special tour t-shirt – what do you all think about that idea?)

Q: Have you ever had problems in the beginning of your relationship where it was hard to read your partner and you had doubts about it?……

A: Every day. (Laugh)

Q: What do you think about gay marriage?

A: Another tough question. Of course I think anyone should be able to marry and share their lives and money. But I think it’s not marriage most people want so much as the guarantee of stability and recognition by family and community. The problem is that a piece of paper isn’t going to confer either of those.

Well, that’s it for this interview. We can’t thank you enough Yuriko for your time and your answers.

That was really fun – let’s not let another five years go by before we do it again, okay?

Okay, we promise! Best of luck to you on your tour, too.

Thank you – I hope I will see you all at a concert.

Any last words?

Thank you all for being my fans and for supporting me. I look forward to many more fun things and I hope you will all be part of
them. (Bows)

Thank you again, Yuriko-san – you can be sure that we will.

***

And there you have it – Yuriko’s present to all of you on her birthday. Thanks to everyone who sent in a question!

Don’t forget to read Shoujoai ni Bokuen: The Adventures of Yuriko, to enjoy Yuriko’s adventures in life and love!