Nodoka Tenma: Existence

The former Nodoka Oneesan made her (second) debut at Tokyo Joshi Pro’s Korakuen Hall event on August 25. Now Nodoka Tenma, she showed off a new costume, new entrance music, a new finisher – everything. I previously translated her final blog post as Nodoka Oneesan, so it only seemed appropriate to do her first as Nodoka Tenma as well.

(The following blog entry originally appeared in Japanese on Nodoka Tenma’s blog.)

One thing about me is, deep down, I’m pretty gloomy. Like, really.  To the roots. Make no mistake, Yuki [Aino]’s always been the brighter, more optimistic, more annoying sister between us.

But even so, when I was a kid, I loved singing and acting. I was fearless and loved to be the center of attention.

I performed in musicals, I played in a band, and all that. But as I grew into adulthood, I started to see my own ceiling. And that’s a scary thing! So I set my limits before I could risk crashing into that ceiling.


I spent a long time not really doing anything at all, lying to myself: “That ceiling’s a long way off! You can keep going!” I was so good at tricking myself, I should’ve been getting paid for it.

As Yuki moved up in school, I set off for Tokyo.

But, for better or for worse, I was too serious to go on as just an actress. If my dreams were going to be so lofty, so hard to achieve, I decided I had to find work where I could act and sing – or die trying.

With that fire lit under me, I tried to become a voice actress (even though I was probably already too old to start by then). I got a few gigs while I was still training, but they never amounted to anything that made me think I could make a living off of it.

But then, a third door suddenly opened in front of me. And that door led to pro wrestling.

I’ve never played the main character on stage. Oddly enough, I never really wanted to. I always wanted to be the one up there next to the protagonist, helping their story along. Looking back on my day-to-day life, too, I realize that I just wanted to have some sort of effect on the people around me. To add something to the main characters’ future.

Azusa [Takigawa] said it, didn’t she?
“Pro wrestling has the power to make dreams come true.”

I already considered myself a member of the Sanshiro Azuma Respect Army1, and after mulling it over for exactly one night, I decided to knock on that door. They gave me an unforgettable singing Oneesan character – so I even got to sing!

But pro wrestling turned out to be completely different from anything I’d done up until then. I don’t mean because it can be painful. Even putting that aside, when you’re wrestling, you can’t completely break away from your own feelings. You can’t compartmentalize it away completely, like you can when you’re in a play. The lines between what you’re doing and your true self get blurry.
I wanted more of it. For the first time, I felt that greedy feeling.

I think leaving the Oneesan character behind to become myself is part of that, too, maybe.

As Nodoka Oneesan, I always had a smile on my face. But as Nodoka Oneesan, there were also things I had to leave unsaid.
I wanted to put myself to the test, and so I took ownership of those feelings. After the Tokyo Princess Cup, I told TJPW that I wanted to retire the Oneesan character. They said what I did from then on was up to me.

 

I decided to become something that I myself would like.
I stopped coloring my hair solid black, which I’d only done for the Oneesan character in the first place. This time around, I’d choose my own colors, my own costume design, my own music… And as I got ready for my big change, suddenly, there it was: My last day as my old character.

I was really glad to do one last Pin Pon Taiso dance with everyone, including the other wrestlers, in Nagoya. It let me know that I hadn’t accomplished nothing up to that point; I’d definitely done something.

I kept ordering minor tweaks to my new costume up to the very last moment, and caused a lot of trouble! lol.
But hey, what nerd doesn’t like steampunk? (I like cyberpunk, too!)

And though now it seems like two sisters just suddenly burst into TJPW with two anime-style entrance themes, it was really difficult getting my new entrance music sorted.
I wrote the lyrics for Yuki’s entrance music, but because I was writing them for Yuki, I didn’t really struggle with them much. Just something fiery and a little bit uncool, like a ’90s anime theme song.
But coming up with lyrics for my own song was much more difficult, and embarrassing… Yuki vetoed my first draft immediately, saying it was “too dark.” 。゚(゚^ω^゚)゚。
Through rejection after rejection, I finally managed to finish them.

In the chorus, I sing:
“How much of yesterday can I hold in these hands of mine?”
I guess you’d usually expect “tomorrow” there instead, right?

But then, nobody really knows anything about tomorrow. For all we know, the world might end tomorrow. Yesterday is the only thing we know for sure. You build yourself out of everything you’ve done up to yesterday. So the meaning there is like, “I don’t want to forget everything I’ve done in the past.” I ended up with super-positive lyrics that match the uptempo tune! (At least I think they do.)

 

Last of all, I picked a new name that I thought fit me. I’m also really pleased with the stroke count in the kanji2. ( ˘ω˘ )

 

If I’d made any different choices at any point in my life up to now, I wouldn’t have arrived at the person I am today.

If I hadn’t seen that family musical…
If I hadn’t met that rival kid in my theater group…
If I hadn’t failed the entrance exam to that high school…
If I hadn’t lived in that women’s dorm…
If I hadn’t been fired from my part-time job for getting a facial piercing…
If I hadn’t dropped out of college…
If I hadn’t come across DDT on Niconico3
If I hadn’t become Nodoka Oneesan…
If I hadn’t done this… If I’d done that instead…

When I think of all the choices that set me on my current path, even my worst failures become good memories. So really, surprising as it sounds, I don’t have any regrets. The choices I made are my destiny.

 

Thank you for all the cheers and streamers at my Korakuen Hall debut! I’ve still just taken the first step, but finding out what kind of legacy I leave behind is the thing I’m looking forward to most. You’re not supposed to decide your own limits, after all, right? 😛

People are made by their circumstances. I’m borrowing a bit of the time in all of your lives. Stick around to see me through, okay?


1. The main character of One, Two, Sanshiro – a comedy manga about a pro wrestler that ran from 1978 to 1983. DDT’s Sanshiro Takagi took inspiration for his ring name from Sanshiro Azuma.

2. One factor many Japanese people keep in mind when naming their children is the number of brush strokes it takes to write the kanji characters for the name. Some numbers are considered more auspicious.

3. A popular Japanese video-sharing and streaming site.