‘Kotobuki Minako’s Another Wonderland in the UK’ a series of the interviews where Kotobuki Minako, a voice actress living in the UK, talks about her life there.
Last time, the series featured the photos of the places featured in “Harry Potter” that she had taken by herself, how she had spent her birthday, and how she was feeling 10 years after she had debuted as an artist.
This 8th issue is going to look back on her life in the UK last month with the pictures taken by Kotobuki-san. She introduced her working scene, her recent favorite food, and the situation of a second national lockdown for England.
[Interview/Writing = Yoneda Kaori]
■Second national lockdown for England. How is the current situation?
ーI want to ask you about your life in October. You had your hair cut again!
Kotobuki: Yeah. There will be a second lockdown soon, and yesterday I thought ‘I have to go right now!’, then I did.
ーYour hair is pretty short compared to before. Is this because you think the second lockdown will be prolonged?
Kotobuki: No, not really. I asked my beautician to cut my hair shoulder-length, and this is the result. (laugh)
But, the second lockdown was announced to last for four weeks from November 5 to December 2, and I would not be able to go out for a salon. I thought that was a good decision as a result.
ーAlso in Japan, the second lockdown for England became the news of the day. Can you tell me about the current situation and any difference between the previous lockdown?
Kotobuki: We are allowed to go out only for groceries or daily necessities, and commuting if telework is not applicable. We are prohibited to see friends inside and outside of buildings. I have to get some tasks done at a studio, so I go sometimes. The difference from the previous lockdown is that schools are not closed.
ーAre you still going to school as well?
Kotobuki: Yes! I am still going to school even during a lockdown. Right after I came to the UK, I had few friends and always stayed at home while taking classes online, so I am greatly relieved that schools are not closed this time.
…However, the number of cases are getting more and more serious, so I will follow the rules for our safety and want to fully enjoy life in the UK.
ーAs in Japan, do people buy up the products in supermarkets before the state of emergency?
Kotobuki: Yes! Toilet rolls, vegetables, and some other products run out (laugh). But the period of the second lockdown was fixed for a month, so I didn’t see such products this time.
On the other hand, many people rushed to hairdressing salons, apparel shops, and restaurants.
Especially for hairdressing salons, there were long lines. British men tend to get their hair cut once a week. That sounds very British like ‘Trimming is taste of gentleman’.
ーThe country of gentlemen! Let’s look back on the past month with the pictures.
■Lip-smacking Sushi, Tapioca, and Udon
ーThis Udon looks good.
Kotobuki: I took this picture at Udon shop in the UK called ‘KOYA’. The shop opens 10 years ago, and is still popular. The taste was so good.
I picked Niku Udon as we can rarely eat thin-sliced meat in the UK. I always pick a menu with thin-sliced meat at Japanese restaurants.
ーNext is Tapioca. Is it popular in the UK as well?
Kotobuki: Yes! It’s called “Bubble tea” in the UK, and very popular among young people. There are many bubble tea spots in China Town, and I went to ‘Kofuku-Do’ that had been on my list for months.
Tapioka in the UK is colorful, and you can choose the color in many shops.
ーNext is a steak. Steaks in other countries are huge.
Kotobuki: I usually eat meat as Sunday Roast (traditional British
roasted meal and typically served on Sundays), but I wanted to try a steak at a restaurant, and went to “Bill’s”. It was served with truffle sauce, and it was so good.
ーThis is Sushi.
Kotobuki: This is a picture of when I went to a restaurant that serves a Sushi course. I wanted to travel around Europe while I live in the UK, but I cannot under this situation… so I changed my mind to have good meals instead, and I decided to go to a fancy Japanese restaurant.
ーHow do you get information about restaurants in the UK?
Kotobuki: I use Instagram. I also found this restaurant on Instagram and wanted to go. I saw a post that said a half-Japanese and half-British staff there that I wanted to talk with, were going to leave a job that week, so I rushed to the restaurant.
ーIs it because of the spread of COVID-19? Is Coronavirus-related dismissal a major problem in the UK?
Kotobuki: Yes, it is. Some airlines in the UK are firing numerous employees, and such kind of news becomes a daily topic everyday. But, the staff was not taking it so seriously, and I was surprised.
The staff was saying ‘It cannot be helped under this situation. I want to take a break and do what I want to’. That was impressive.
■Shopping at a British perfume brand
ーThis is a British perfume brand ‘Jo Malone London’.
Kotobuki: Before I came to the UK, some friends said tome ‘London is nice! You can buy Jo Malone London’, and I was thinking ‘You can buy it anywhere…’, but the brand has a main store in London.
I actually visited it, but the number of customers for entry was limited, the door was closed, and I could not go in.
ーThey are taking preventive measures. Did you have anything that you were looking for?
Kotobuki: An advent calendar for Christmas. It comes with perfume, shampoo, and other Jo Malone London products.
ーThe decorations inside the store are fashionable and cute.
Kotobuki: I only know Jo Malone London located at a corner in a department store, so I was also surprised by the decorations. I like the lovely scent inside the store, and I can feel refreshed just by being there.
ーHave you always liked Jo Malone London and used their products?
Kotobuki: No. I only recognized it as ‘a brand at a corner of a department store’.(laugh) Matsui Rena-chan sent me a candle from Jo Malone London for my birthday. Then I visited Jo Malone London.
ーChristmas coffret season is coming. Do you have any cosmetic you got interested in after coming to the UK?
Kotobuki: I have some recommended by a teenager in my class.(laugh) Especially, I like ‘Benefit’. Their cosmetics have good lasting, and packages are so cute. ‘No7’ is popular in the UK. You can buy it at the pharmacy anytime.
Also, I like ‘FENTY BEAUTY’ produced by Rihanna. The brand has wide shade ranges of foundation to suit various skin colors. The cosmetics are for diverse races, which I was attracted to.
ーDid you change your makeup style?
Kotobuki: British people usually don’t wear makeup. You can go to work without makeup. So I don’t put in much effort on makeup nowadays.
On the other hand, I enjoy trying various lipsticks. In the UK, there are wide shade ranges for a lipstick like blue and yellow, so I sometimes try the colors that are not popular in Japan.
I heard from my host mother, ‘I didn’t use to wear makeup while I was working in the UK. When I was transferred to Spain, I went to the office without wearing makeup, and my boss left a cosmetics bag on my desk’. Different countries have different cultures.
■Autograph at a studio! The working scene in the UK.
ーIs this a picture of your work at a studio that you talked about at the beginning?
Kotobuki: Yes. This is a studio in the UK. Microphones are set lower than my face, but in the UK, they are set higher than my face.
ーIs he a sound crew?
Kotobuki: Yes, he is a sound engineer Max. He is very kind and gives me helpful comments. Whenever I make a mistake and ask him ‘Can I try one more time?’, he encourages me, saying ‘Don’t worry. We still have plenty of time!’. He looks like he’s struggling in the picture.(laugh)
ーYou should get more motivated. Next is your autograph at a studio in the UK. That is incredible!
Kotobuki: There are many autographs by actors and staff. I was so glad that I could leave mine!
■Talk about ‘games’! Which game is she interested in?
ーThe other day, an article about your playing “Watch Dogs Legion” with Toyosaki Aki was released. On ‘Sphere’s 4colorsLABO’, videos of the members playing a game are often uploaded, so which game lasts in your memory?
Kotobuki: The interview with Aki-chan was fun! I used to watch my brother playing games, so I like watching other people playing games. To be honest, I rarely play games…I always struggle at ‘Sphere’s 4colorsLABO’.(laugh)
So far, I like the game “Wordwolf”.
Before, when I attended the stage greetings of “Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll”, we said ‘Let’ play Wordwolf’ and played it while we rode home on the bus, and it was great fun.
I was thinking it would be great for Sphere, and it was great fun as I expected.
ーIn Japan, many titles such as “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” became big hits this year. Is there any big hit in the UK?
Kotobuki: “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” was also a big hit in the UK. When I met the relatives’ children of my host family, they showed it to me, saying ‘Rooms of Animal Crossing are like this’.
And, it is not a game, but “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” is also a big hit. When I was checking Billboard’s ranking, LiSA, who performs the film’s theme song, was ranked. I was very excited!
ーHalf a year has already passed since you debuted as a YouTuber. Do you have any role model among YouTubers?
Kotobuki: To learn British English, I always watch the videos by Lucy. She is so bright that also cheers me up. I want to be like her.
Speaking of Japanese YouTubers, it would be Saeko-san. My friend’s manager appeared in a video, and then I started watching her channel. I am always encouraged by her powerful and energetic life.
I am not a powerful kind of person, but I would like to encourage the viewers in other forms.
ーThank you for today. I am looking forward to your activities on YouTube as well!
Kotobuki Minako’s Profile
She played the role of Fukase Yoriko in “A Whisker Away”.
She is also a member of ‘Sphere’, with Takagaki Ayahi, Tomatsu Haruka, and Toyosaki Aki.