(This doesn’t really have anything to do with NMB48, but just a key talking point that I felt that I had to bring up.)
When I first heard the news, I was thinking “Yep, another one bites the dust in this tough and competitive world.” It was a little tougher than most graduations because it was an un-promoted 1st gen RS, so I expected some outpouring of support from the other 1st gens.
I checked Google+ just to see all the farewell messages, only to notice a long post by Yamamoto Sayaka. She’s been hit hard by people resigning on her watch because she’s the captain, so I decided to read it in its entirety; it was a nice post, talking about her struggles back then and how she finally was able to reap the fruit of her benefits.
I continued to follow it only to read Mizuki’s post, which made my eyes a little moist.
Even Aki-P felt the need to comment.
If you haven’t read Mizuki’s post, you just have to know that she felt slighted because she worked so hard and was unable to get the results she was seeking. I’m not even sure if I would say that, she didn’t even get the opportunity, and with those feelings she felt that she had to leave.
It gave me a lot to think about. Not so much about NMB48 or whatever, but about the characteristics of hard work, success, and my own life.
In most of my hobbies that I’ve involved myself in, there was always a tough balance between balancing effort and technique. I remember those days when I would grind out fighting games endlessly. I practiced my combos and setups, watched videos, involved myself in the online community. But when it came to matches and stuff, I would still lose to inferior tactics. Hell, I remember one Tekken 5 tournament where I matched up against a guy who I played in the previous day, killing him 30-0. In the tournament a best of 3 matches, I got 3 rounds for a 3-0 in the first match and was on my way to another 3-0 as I was up 2-0. All of a sudden, I lost. I lost 2-3. I lost the next match 0-3 and was knocked out of the tournament, I was in disbelief.
I continued to grind out the game and for some unexplainable reason, I got better. I worked hard, but I needed to work hard over time. Even though my technique and training was superior, I didn’t put in the effort and gain massive amounts of experience. I felt that I was ahead of most people because of my methods, and once I got it together I started stringing wins together and becoming a better player.
It wasn’t just hard work but training style and experience that allowed me to grow. (I stopped playing Tekken 5 soon after though; DR hit the arcades and formed a rift between console players and arcade players and the only arcade that had it was an hour away and I didn’t have an income.)
When I think about the whole situation, as well as Aki-P’s response, I wonder what kind of training and experience they’re giving them. For the most part they just throw the girls out there and have them fend for themselves. And I know AKS has a habit of drafting way too many girls than they have room for, and many get shafted. I’ve heard that they have little to no voice training, but at the same time those with sub-unit singles get voice training. How can you expect to improve yourself when the proper training isn’t in effect? This just widens the gap between your employees.
Experience is important too. I’ve learned a lot through my Japanese studies by balancing rigid textbook study with natural Japanese; they compliment each other. By gaining real experience, when I train, I can identify areas I need to work on and see what it’s like in the more “chaotic” real world where people don’t form 100% grammatically proper sentences and only adhere to certain grammar points in the lesson.
That’s why I feel bad for Mizuki. She was denied the chance to work on her skill except on stage. Which is fine, if she was a regular team girl and got to shine on stage, but she was an understudy. Or maybe they should’ve went through that radio program, as the people with the most radio experience tend to be excellent speakers. You can keep talking about “working hard” and “taking lessons everyday” but it’s absolutely necessary to throw the dog the bone every once in a while. This is why Sayaka’s experience is different; she had the chance to display her skill, even though she failed with her band. At the very least she got out there and I think that experience is what helped her. Mizuki didn’t really get to test herself.
I also feel that the words from management are little more than window dressing. “I wish I could make everyone into a star,” or “The spotlight can’t shine on every one,” or even “One day, your hard work will come to fruition, even if it’s not now.” I think management did a terrible job by drafting more people than they had room for and dangling the bait in front of them saying, “You can make it here if you work hard!” There are only 5 plates at the table and 10 diners. Why keep the diners in the room? Why not let them go instead of giving them crappy resources to work with? And it’s not like everyone wants the prime rib. Some people just want to be the side salad. But no one will ever figure that out because you invited too many people. That’s why I’m a bit saddened by management’s response that says “Well, sometimes we’re not perfect,” instead of really taking responsibility for what they’re doing.
Lastly, to some extent Mizuki can’t blame all her problems on management. Yoshimoto won’t help you with a radio show? Should’ve made your own WING podcast. Anyone can do it with a mic and a computer. Sometimes you can’t trust management to get you out there and you have to strike it on your own. That’s been the beauty of G+, that people like Matsui Sakiko that no one cared about can develop huge followings by doing their own thing.
-Success is the product of not just hard work and determination, but also of having great training resources and experience.
-There are times when people above you deny you of good training or valuable experience, but still occupy your time. Sometimes they might open the door for you, but they are leeches.
-However, sometimes you just have to strike it out on your own. Sometimes you’re not working as hard as you think you are.
It serves as a reminder to myself that I need to work hard at what I do as well. I’ve been pining for a job change for 2 years now. I need to get the ball rolling on that.