CLAMP Tea Room Extra – ZINE-ROM CLAMP Gakuen Denshi Bunkou vol. 1 (December/1997)

As always, we have invited friends from every field to this corner to hear their stories. In this special edition episode, we have fan favorites, the members of CLAMP here to discuss their time in school, and how meeting each other changed their lives.

© CLAMP / SHELTY / F2 / CULTURE PUBLISHERS

© CLAMP / SHELTY / F2 / CULTURE PUBLISHERS

Nanase Ohkawa: For the CLAMP discussion compilation CD-ROM (laughs), how about we start by talking about how we all met? Mokona-chan, Nekoi-chan, Sat-chan, you three were all in the same grade, right?
Satsuki Igarashi: Right, we all went to the same all girls high school.
Nanase Ohkawa: What sort of school was it?
Satsuki Igarashi: It was a school in rural Kyoto (laughs).
Mokona Apapa: Along the Kamo River (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: It was pretty limited, wasn’t it (laughs)? It seems to have been a placid sort of place.
Satsuki Igarashi: It was (laughs).
Mokona Apapa: I don’t know about now, but back in the day, it was famous for being pretty slow (laughs).
Mick Nekoi: It was known for being a place where students would nod along as teachers would say things like, “milk for coffee comes from black and white cows” (laughs). Our school can pretty much be summed up (laughs) in episodes like that.
Nanase Ohkawa: And I first met everyone after graduating high school. I’ve been in the same class as manga artist Tamayo Akiyama since preschool. Akiyama and I were introduced to these three through a mutual friend.
Satsuki Igarashi: That’s right (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: You all met through a club, right?
Satsuki Igarashi: Right. A club.
Mokona Apapa: The three of us were all in the same club. I had class with Sat-chan too.
Nanase Ohkawa: Did you become acquainted soon after starting school? What am I doing, acting like a moderator (laughs)?
[All of CLAMP]: (Laughs).
Satsuki Igarashi: Right. Soon after we started school, wasn’t it?
Nanase Ohkawa: Nekoi-chan, I’m guessing you weren’t in the same class?
Mick Nekoi: Unfortunately, no.
Nanase Ohkawa: You met at the club, right?
Mick Nekoi: Me and Sat-chan, yes. Mokona-chan was a little different.
Nanase Ohkawa: Where did you first meet her? Well, I know, but anyway (laughs).
Mick Nekoi: In high school, there was an information session for everyone on the same bus route, and I went there. I arrived pretty early. Mokona-chan and I were the only people in the room. That’s how we met.
Nanase Ohkawa: What was your first impression of Mokona-chan?
Mick Nekoi: “She’s got a bad look in her eye…” (laughs)
Mokona Apapa: (Bursts out laughing) That, that was me worrying about not knowing if I was in the right room for the meeting (laughs). And since Nekoi-chan was the only person there, I was nervous, but thought, “I better go ask this person.” My first impression of Nekoi-chan was “something about this person’s aura is different from others.”
Nanase Ohkawa: Different how?
Mokona Apapa: “Same species?” (Laughs)
Nanase Ohkawa: Well, she’s not an elf (laughs). What do you mean by “same species”?
Mokona Apapa: Um, “maybe an artist?” (Laughs)
Mick Nekoi: Our high school had an art focus, so most of the other kids we met were artsy (laughs).
Mokona Apapa: False (laughs)! There were art classes, but there were regular classes too. But I had to confirm that she absolutely was an art person (laughs). So, I mustered all my courage and started to talk to her.
Nanase Ohkawa: I see (laughs). If I recall correctly, you three were in the astronomy and meteorology club. Nekoi-chan, you were originally hoping to be a part of the astronomy club, right?
Mick Nekoi: I feel like that might have been the case, but I don’t really remember (laughs). But I’ve always liked the stars. What about you, Sat-chan? Why were you in the astronomy club?
Satsuki Igarashi: I’ve always liked stars and stargazing too. Moreover, I heard this rumor that it was “kind of a weird club” (laughs), so my checking it out turned into an excuse to join. Actually, there were a lot of strange upperclassmen (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: What about you, Mokona-chan?
Mokona Apapa: There were a ton of weird upperclassmen, and it seemed fun (laughs). On top of that, being able to stargaze at school in the middle of the night was just fascinating (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: So, the three of you became acquainted at astronomy club. How were each of your other school activities?
Mick Nekoi: I’m glad I graduated (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: Ahahaha (laughs). What about you, Mokona-chan?
Mokona Apapa: I remember cutting classes left and right (laughs). I still remember doing bad things to teachers and being a problem child. At the time, my body wasn’t all that sturdy. I was always working, so I was a regular at the nurse’s office (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: You were “Trouble-chan” (laughs). What about you, Sat-chan?
Satsuki Igarashi: I pretended to be serious in class, and did a lot of side jobs (laughs).
Mokona Apapa: But, Sat-chan had perfect attendance in high school. And she got the award for it (laughs).
Satsuki Igarashi: It didn’t look like there would be a recipient in our class, so 2 months before graduation, the teacher said, “Just keep up your attendance record” (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: What about you, Nekoi-chan?
Mick Nekoi: I was absent one day. My face was swollen (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: Hoeee?!
Mick Nekoi: I was going to go anyway, but my parents said, “Are you really going to school with your face looking like that?” or something mean like that (laughs), and I said, “No, that would be awful,” so I quit while I was ahead (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: And I met you all…
Mick Nekoi: In 11th grade.
Nanase Ohkawa: That’s right. The very first time we met was because that friend I was talking about earlier introduced us. That friend was doing spot sales for doujinshi, and bought a binder or something that Mokona-chan drew and that’s how they became friends. And, since my hobby was making bento at the time, I brought
some to my friend at the Kyoto spot sale, and that’s how we were introduced.
Satsuki Igarashi: That’s right (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: I was a bento maniac in middle- and high school. It was like, “I’d put my life on the line for bento,” so I’d always make amazing bento (laughs). If I recall correctly, that time I made a 4-tier box.
Mokona Apapa: Yes, and it was delicious (laughs).
Mick Nekoi: It was magnificent (laughs).
Satsuki Igarashi: I still remember it (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: And that’s how we became friends. Alright, let’s talk about work. When you were little, did you ever think, “I want to be a manga artist when I grow up?” I mean, I already know, but once [for the audience] (laughs).
Mick Nekoi: A manga artist is the one thing I thought I would never be able to become (laughs). “I can’t believe I’d draw so many detailed faces (laughs)!” “I’ll never be able to draw the same face (laughs)!”
Nanase Ohkawa: Was that when you were a high schooler?
Mick Nekoi: Elementary school.
Nanase Ohkawa: Did you like to draw when you were little?
Mick Nekoi: I doodled a lot.
Nanase Ohkawa: Did you not think you would be able to do art successfully, or that this was the sort of occupation you wanted?
Mick Nekoi: No. Not at all.
Nanase Ohkawa: What about you, Mokona-chan?
Mokona Apapa: Of course, I loved art when I was little, but I never thought I was any good at oil painting or Japanese painting. I thought I could do “manga type” art better, so I thought that, if I could, I’d want to do a job where I could draw. I was still young, so I had no idea how I’d get there (laughs). There was a time where I thought I would become an animator. There was an anime I liked.
Nanase Ohkawa: How old were you then?
Mokona Apapa: Also in elementary school.
Nanase Ohkawa: What about you, Sat-chan?
Satsuki Igarashi: From the time I was small, I loved to design and draw, but I never thought I would become a manga artist.
Mick Nekoi: What about you, Nanase-chan?
Nanase Ohkawa: Ah, Nekoi-chan, are you the administrator now (laughs)? When I was in preschool, I wanted to be a yakuza (laughs).
[All of CLAMP] (Bursts out laughing)
Nanase Ohkawa: It was because of all the yakuza movies at the time (laughs). My preschool teacher who lamented those movies rebuked me, “Don’t become a yakuza; become a person who is useful to others” (laughs). So, I thought about this when I was a kid. At the time, I loved to sleep on zabuton[1]. Old zabuton were pretty big, weren’t they? They were just the right size for a child’s small body, and I absolutely loved to sleep on them. If I could become such a comfortable zabuton, I could be of use to others, I thought, so for a while, I wanted to become a zabuton (laughs). I told my teacher, and she cried (laughs). I was such a hopeless child (laughs).
Mokona Apapa: That must have thrown your teacher into a quandary (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: What about you, Sat-chan? After you got older, what did you want to become?
Satsuki Igarashi: I thought I’d do a design-related job.
Mokona Apapa: You already had a career path, didn’t you!
Mick Nekoi: The design company, right?
Satsuki Igarashi: The branch president I met during my interview was a good person.
Nanase Ohkawa: The publishing house?
Satsuki Igarashi: With the industrial design magazine. The company even did event planning. The branch president and employees were all good people. I was determined to get a job where I felt I’d learn a lot. But, after our debut, I didn’t end up getting hired (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: If you weren’t a manga artist, what sort of work would you be doing today?
Satsuki Igarashi: I wanted to be a librarian. Or, maybe I’d be a book store clerk (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: Didn’t you want to be a school teacher at one point?
Satsuki Igarashi: In middle school, I did.
Nanase Ohkawa: Nekoi-chan, what did you want to do when you were younger?
Mick Nekoi: When I was little, I wanted to be a policewoman.
[All of CLAMP] Oooh! (Applause)
Satsuki Igarashi: Speaking of which, Nekoi-san, you were in the hospital for just a few days a while back, and the other patients thought you were a policewoman (laughs).
Mick Nekoi: On what grounds, I have no idea (laughs).
Mokona Apapa: Probably because you’re so stern (laughs).
Mick Nekoi: Probably because I didn’t chit-chat much (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: What did you want to be after a policewoman?
Mick Nekoi: After that, I wanted to run a flower shop. “Because I like flowers” ⁠—it was that simple (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: What about you, Mokona-chan?
Mokona Apapa: I just wanted something to do with drawing. Because I can’t do anything else (laughs). What about you, Nanase-chan?
Nanase Ohkawa: I just wanted a menial job. A job where I’d do the same thing all the time. And I’m by no means making fun of menial work. I love doing the same thing all the time. Going through stationary, packing, just anything you can do for hours on end without being bothered by it.
Satsuki Igarashi: Everyone wanted to do a totally different job, except Mokona-chan (laughs).
Mokona Apapa: But, since we’ve more or less been working as authors for the past 8 years, I don’t know about it being a “suitable occupation”, but we haven’t made any fatal mistakes, now have we (laughs)?
Satsuki Igarashi: I don’t get it (laughs).
Mokona Apapa: It’s highly unpredictable, isn’t it (laughs). How many years has it been since our debut again?
Mick Nekoi: 8 years.
Nanase Ohkawa: Do you think anything has changed since then?
Satsuki Igarashi: We’ve aged (laughs).
Mokona Apapa: I can’t pull all-nighters anymore (laughs).
Mick Nekoi: My ability to concentrate has diminished.
Nanase Ohkawa: Nothing else (laughs)? Besides aging and stamina (laughs).
Satsuki Igarashi: We’ve had the same members for 8 years (laughs).
Nanase Ohkawa: Aren’t we usually more forward facing (laughs)? We’re so much more mentally advanced since we’ve become adults.
Mick Nekoi: What about you, Nanase-chan?
Nanase Ohkawa: I get sleepy quickly (laughs).
[All of CLAMP] (Laughs).
Mick Nekoi: I think I’ve gotten used to drawing, just a little, just a tiny bit more than before.
Mokona Apapa: Only a little bit more since when we debuted (laughs)? When you compare to RG Veda volume 1?
Mick Nekoi: We’re not great now, but back then we were even worse (laughs).
Satsuki Igarashi: I guess I’ve gotten used to it, more or less. But beside the job, nothing has changed for the past 8 years.
Mokona Apapa: Even now, when I go to a cafe, I get mistaken for a high schooler or a college student (laughs).
Mick Nekoi: They must think that everyone in the neighborhood next to the one we live in is all students (laughs).
Satsuki Igarashi: Well, shall we talk about things we drew with our unshinning members (laughs)?
Nanase Ohkawa: That’s a “hook” (laughs).
Mokona Apapa: I’m looking forward to next time (laughs)!

Illustration/Mick Nekoi(CLAMP) ©CLAMP

Illustration/Mick Nekoi(CLAMP) ©CLAMP

 

Translated from Japanese by Silano Sepiæ.

 

Note

[1] For more information about what is a zabuton, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zabuton

 

Source

This talk was originally published in the ZINE-ROM CLAMP Gakuen Denshi Bunkou (CLAMP School Web Campus) vol. 1 (SHELTY, F2, CULTURE PUBLISHERS), released on Decmber 5, 1997. Original text available upon request.

 

If you found mistakes in this translation or would like to contribute with translating other interviews, please contact me.