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 [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011

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夢のGARDEN artist
夢のGARDEN artist

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PostSubject: [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011   Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:28 am

She is no longer the 20-year-old girl who, having just arrived in Japan, watched the heated performances of popular AVEX singers with wide eyes. On 25 July this year, she welcomes her 24th birthday. During her 4 years in Japan, she has released 15 singles, several albums and a “best of “ album, and secured her own fanbase. She is no longer simply an arts girl with a high vocal range and well-versed in erhu. Since her debut in Japan after graduating from the PLA Art Academy, she has been busy releasing albums, holding concerts, modeling for magazines, acting as endorsements for products and actively taking part in charity. She is constantly traveling between Japan and China, bringing the message of “love and peace” to everyone…

Indeed, she is the Chinese singer we all know so well – alan

I can still remember when I first saw this Tibetan girl, born in the Beauty Valley in Sichuan. That was back in June 2008 in Shanghai, when she was still a new singer who has released a singles CD in Japan, and was returning to China for promotion. In the hotel where she was staying, I had an interview with her. In the interview – titled “Singing Her Heart Out with a Candid Voice – an Interview with alan, a Chinese singer in Japan” – I wrote, “Out the window is the beautiful night view of The Bund. Inside, rather than a formal interview, is a chat between friends.”

On 2 July, after her promotion event for her 15th single, “みんなでね~PANDA with Candy BEAR's ~ / 「生きる」”, at MONO Shibuya branch, I met alan again. I listened as she recalled the changes in her mindset over the past 4 years, her internal struggle over “staying” and “returning”, her longing for her parents, her standards for choosing her “other half”… Her voice was calm but strong. She always had a smile on her face, yet her answers were well thought out. I could see that the 4 years in Japan has changed alan from a little girl to a mature and dignified “Asian Singer”.

This is the interview transcript:

Firstly, congratulations on the release of your new single.
Thank you.

Living is a proof.

“生きる”(“Living”) from your new EP is your new song from after the Japan Earthquake. I listened to it on Youtube. I feel that this song expresses the respect for life and the good wishes for the strength to carry on living. When you first received this song, what were your feelings, and how did you decide to perform this song?
Initially, after the Japan Earthquake, when I was preparing my new EP, I didn’t choose this song. It was another song that was more cheerful and upbeat. I have always been keen and active in participating in charity works such as disaster relief. After the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008, my team and I created the song “幸せの鐘”. So this time, after the Japan Earthquake, I wanted to have another song like this, so that I can give encouragements to friends and earthquake victims in Japan through music. That was how 生きるcame about.

I listened to the song, and I felt that even though the lyrics are encouraging, the song is gentle, even slightly sad, in terms of the melody and the way it is performed. I’d like to ask, do you have any particular thoughts about singing this song?
This song was not intended to have the effect where, after listening, people feel like rushing forwards, or to tell them to “keep on going!” and all that. What we were thinking was that, 3 months after the Earthquake, people should stop for a while and take a rest, and to listen to the song with a more relaxed state of mind. That’s why I said “I believe that the courage to step forward is very important”. I hope that after listening, people will have this feeling of “healing”. I hope that people can feel relaxed, kind of a “soft” feeling, not so much “onwards!”, just giving them the feeling of being slightly cured. There are a lot of big events and changes in Japan at the moment. For example, a lot of people lost their families and homes in the 11 March Earthquake. What do they do? Where’s their hope for the future? A lot of people are very lost right now, and many are still in grief and despair. That’s why the courage to step forward to move one is very important. If you’re always sad and mourning, your future will never be bright. So, after 3 months of grief, you need to collect your sadness and bravely walk forward, only then can you create a bright future. Be it happiness or sadness, these emotions are all proofs that we are alive.

Spending more time with parents

As we all know, when the 11 March Japan Earthquake happened, you were in Matsudo, Chiba.
Yes. At that time, I was having a rehearsal. I was supposed to perform with Maki Goto and HIROKO later that night, with more than 3000 audiences. Of course the concert was cancelled.

After the earthquake, you have been helping out with disaster relief in both Japan and China, and actively calling for people to participate in charity and to help the affected areas. What I want to know is, after experiencing the earthquake, the tsunami, and especially the nuclear emergency that happened after that, how has your views on life and the world changed?
Certainly there were changes. For the Sichuan Earthquake, I didn’t actually go through the experience, whereas for the 11 March Earthquake, I went through the event myself. Matsudo was nearer to the earthquake zone than Tokyo. Firstly, I feel that we must really treasure our lives. There are a lot of things in life that you cannot control, and the only thing that you can do is to be the best that you can be, and not do things that you will regret later. If one day, you really said “bye bye” to this world, and there are still a lot of things that you haven’t done, a lot of regrets, then I think that’s not good. A different set of values gives a new understanding to life. And another thing, I’m now closer to my family members, to my parents. Previously, I didn’t call my parents that frequently. Now I call them almost everyday, just to assure them that I’m well. When I was in China, I didn’t really feel anything when my parents were by me, and even felt a bit rebellious. I didn’t want to live with them, and thought that they were really naggy: “eat, eat”, “no TV” etc. Now that we have separated for so many years, I miss my home very much. Nowadays, when I go home and hear my mom nag, I think it’s really fun. “Eat your vegetables”. “Yeah yeah yeah… I’ll eat”. I really treasure my time together with my family, because I can’t spend more than a few days with them together in the entire year. Moreover, my parents are really getting older now, so I worry about them sometimes.

If we really have to face “that day”, if there are any regrets, what would they be for alan?
I think my greatest regret would be that I didn’t spent more time with my parents. That’s why I’m thinking now, should I stay in Japan like I’m doing now, making my art and music, spreading my hope of love and peace to friends in Japan, or should I consider returning to China and spend more time with my family? I’m no longer a child, I mean I’m 24 this year. For me this part is quite conflicting, and a lot of times, you can’t get the understanding of others…

When you just arrive in Japan in 2007, you didn’t know anyone and was a complete stranger. Apparently you cried on the 4th day?
I did? I can’t remember

What I want to ask is, when was the last time that you cried and why?
Let me think. I think that would be the day before yesterday, when I when to watch my friend Kanda Sayaka’s concert “Sweet Liberty” in BLITZ Akasaka. She is my best friend in Japan, and I went to see her first concert. She used to study opera, and she played a VCR during the concert that talked about how she rehearsed and all. I started crying as I was watching it because I felt like it overlaps with my own experiences. As a good friend, I’m happy for her, but I can also see that she’s under a lot of pressure. I thought that only I was like that, and I didn’t think that others would have the same problems as me. So I just pressed the towels to my eyes.

(End of part 1)

(Part 2)

May consider acting in the future
I like world music. I’d really love to just take a backpack and stay in Lhasa for half a year
Give each other some space, and not disturb one another
Be filial to parents
Laugh with me when I’m happy, able to comfort me when I’m sad

On the night of 2 July, after alan has finished a series of promotion events for the release of her 15th single, we had an enjoyable conversation backstage in a room that doubled as a dressing room. Outside, in the lobby, alan’s song keeps playing, as she recalls her experiences since coming to Japan, the changes in her mindset, her love life and her expectations in her other half, and also the importance of protecting and promoting traditional ethnic cultures.

The happiest thing is to release new songs
Discovered a lot of things for the first time

What are some things that made you happy recently?
The happiest thing… That would be releasing the new songs. Actually my personality is rather tomboyish and careless. At my age, I’m only discovering a lot of things for the first time in the recent couple of years. For example, there’s a mole on my ear that I never knew about (alan pointed at her ear and asked “there is one right?” The reporter confirmed that there is indeed a mole). I only found out about it this year when they told me “there’s a mole on your ear!”

You mean your parents never old you?
No. And also things like the fact that mechanical watches have to be wound. I never knew that. I thought the watch was broken. And tear duct. I was scared suddenly that day when I looked in the mirror, “why is there a small hole in my eye?”. Only then did I know that’s the tear duct. Haha, how scary is that right.

Being a pure singer or a performer
Tibetan wail is a secret weapon

You were 20 when you came to Japan, and now 4 years have passed by in a flash. Looking back on these 4 years, what are your own thoughts about your future plans and development? Apart from the arrangements that the company has for you, what are your own plans? Do you want to be a pure singer, and artist, or do you want to develop in more areas, for example right now, you’re doing fashion endorsements, shooting shows, being an all-rounded talented performer?
I have never thought about becoming a "talent". For example, if I were to become a comedian, I’m not the kind of person who can joke and clown around, and I know that sometimes I’m easily agitated.

Apart from singing, you don’t reject things like occasional fashion shoots right?
Yes, because all girls like to be pretty. Taking myself for an example, I love to shop. Everyone likes beautiful things. So I’ll shoot some advertisement photos. There are some movies and dramas that have looked for me, from China.

Didn’t you already take part in a drama before?
Haha that was when I was 10, as an extra. I may consider acting in the future.

What’s the company’s plan?
The company is slightly worried since I don’t have any foundations in acting. I’m worried myself.

But you can perform erhu while singing at the same time.
Yes yes. I can also play the piano. Who knows, maybe during the concert this year, I’ll make a surprise performance. Actually these are just talks right now, becoming an actor and whatnot. First and foremost I want to perfect my singing. I sing the same way every time… I think there should be some changes.

I feel like you have more slow songs. Will you sing more upbeat songs in the future?
Actually, before “Red Cliff”, I had a few fast songs. But after I sang the theme song Shen Sen, the impression is very deep, so there are a lot of songs with this style.

Speaking of singing styles, are you going to keep your current style with the Tibetan wail and high notes, or are you going to focus on j-pop style?
I think for the Tibetan wail, that’s kind of my special “secret weapon”, but it can’t be used in every song. It must be the song that suits it. Otherwise I should just stick with the j-pop style I think.

Wish that the children in my hometown can receive better education
Future songs will include more ethnic elements

As a Tibetan singer, you studies in Chengdu, Beijing, then came to Japan to develop. Right now in China, there are strong calls to preserve ethnic cultures. What do you think about protecting the Tibetan culture, especially the musical culture?
I regret about the fact that I can’t speak fluent Lhasa Tibetan.

You mean that the Tibetan languages in the different areas are all different?
Completely different. For example, in Ganzi, Sichuan, where I came from, there are more than 10 counties. The Danba County is one of them. The Tibetan language spoken there is completely different from that in Lhasa. Ganzi also has Litang, Shiqu counties, where there are a lot of nomads. Their language can be used to communicate with that in Lhasa. Tibetans have their own cultures, own languages, own words, and these should be protected. In my case, it can’t be helped because I have lived in mainland China all my life. It is a deep regret for me, and I hope that in my hometown, the children can receive better education, enjoy better studying conditions, so that the children can study well and not forget their ethnic cultures.

We know that you write your own songs, composing both the melody and the lyrics. So in the future, in your own songs, will you incorporate traditional Tibetan music elements in?
Yes of course. I love world music, but I don’t have time now. I really want to take a backpack, and just stay in Lhasa for half a year, or to return to my hometown.

Envies married classmates
Wants to find a boyfriend who’s not in showbiz

I’d like to ask you some personal questions now. You’re going to be 24 soon. A lot of your female classmates, when you return and see them, they’re married, and some even have kids.
Yes. And they live in bliss.

Seeing them, do you sometimes feel envious or even jealous?
Yeah, sometimes.

In these years in Japan, when you’re very lonely, do you sometimes think “how nice it would be to have someone at this point by your side, with whom you can talk about your problems and even rant a bit”?

Then why isn’t it the case, or why not try to make it happen?
Because of my career. It can’t be helped.

Your company doesn’t forbid singers to date right?
No, there are no rules. In fact these years, I have tried dating in Japan with Chinese, but “long distance relationships” just can’t be maintained.

Do your parents get anxious and say “alan, come back and we’ll introduce boyfriends to you” that kind of things?
No. My parents are actually against all the boyfriends I’ve had for the past few years. I don’t know what’s their problem. When I find a good-looking boyfriend, they’ll say he has no aspiration. If I find a career-oriented guy, they’ll say he’s not nice looking. So I have to look for someone who’s good-looking and has an established career, then they’ll definitely approve. But where do such guys exist! You’re asking for an alien! Haha so there’s nothing I can do.

Haven’t you thought about getting a Japanese boyfriend?
I have. There are a lot of eligible guys in Japan too. But my staff protects me very well.

But this (dating in Japan) wouldn’t affect your job.
Now that I’m an artiste, it’s different from when I was studying. When I was in school, quite a lot of guys wooed me. But now that I’m an artiste, people feel like you’re high and unreachable.

You become hard to approach.
Right. Actually artistes are very lonely. You can’t just grab some stranger and chat with him right.

Then in your mind, what are your expectation or requirements of your other half?
I hope that he won’t call me once a day to ask for my whereabouts. We should give each other some space and not disturb one another. I’m independent in all areas right. Also, he must be filial to his parents. When I’m happy, he will laugh with me, and when I feel sad, he will comfort me.

Will you look for artistes or just normal people?
I don’t want to look for people in the showbiz because they tend to be more self-centred. I want to look for a guy who’s completely unrelated to this business…

Before I knew it, more than half an hour has passed, but it didn’t seem enough… Over the past few years, I have interviewed alan many times, and have written a lot of articles about her. If possible, I will continue to watch out for her like this.
I wonder, if there is another interview, where will it be? Will it still be in Tokyo, or back in China…

Last edited by 3000smiles on Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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my life creator

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PostSubject: Re: [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011   Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:32 am

Thank you for translating...and it's colored <3 yay!

But ah alan T_T You're so confusing with your interview....the last interview, you said you didn't consider acting cause you only want to sing and now this lol

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夢のGARDEN artist
夢のGARDEN artist

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PostSubject: Re: [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011   Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:38 am

^haha I know right... I was translating then I though huh? didn't she just say she thinks she can't act so she's just going to sing Confuse
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桜モダン fan
桜モダン fan

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PostSubject: Re: [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011   Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:00 am

the last topic was very good Hohoho
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ひとつ fan
ひとつ fan

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PostSubject: Re: [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011   Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:26 am

Thanks for the translation, it's nice to know that (eventually) she will focus on more ethnic influences in her music. Of course, it's all avex's choices right now.
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tenshi no hane
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PostSubject: Re: [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011   Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:35 am

Thank you for translating ♥

It's sad she's so conflicted between her career and her parents. I hope she figures out some sort of balance between the two.

Quote :
"Yes yes. I can also play the piano. Who knows, maybe during the concert this year, I’ll make a surprise performance."
Yes please *____*
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懐かしい未来 ~longing future~ lover
懐かしい未来 ~longing future~ lover

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PostSubject: Re: [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011   Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:14 am

Thank you for the translation!

it was a good interview. The part about alan and Kanda Sayaka was especially sweet~

Quote :
I was scared suddenly that day when I looked in the mirror, “why is there a small hole in my eye?”. Only then did I know that’s the tear duct. Haha, how scary is that right.
This part made me laugh XD alan is so cute!
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alan newbie fan
alan newbie fan

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PostSubject: Re: [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011   Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:25 am

thanks a lot for the translation. Its sorta surprising to hear that artists and the like get very lonely, but at the same time that makes perfect sense.

wait a sec, mechanical watches have to be wound? i didn't know that either
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alan fan
alan fan

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PostSubject: Re: [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011   Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:07 am

Thanks for the translation! I love the last bit... XD;
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空唄 lover
空唄 lover

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PostSubject: Re: [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011   Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:22 am

alan dating! thanks for translation
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風の手紙 fan
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PostSubject: Re: [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011   Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:41 pm

I want alan to get a boyfriend now!! XD
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RED CLIFF ~心・戦~ lover
RED CLIFF ~心・戦~ lover

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PostSubject: Re: [Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011   Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:21 pm

alan had many boyfriends in the past !!
interesting !
and i hope she can release that cheerful and upbeat song too.
thanks for this interview
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[Article] Eastern Times 14 July, 2011

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