The Japanese artists I cover are usually niche, so the few times I’ve covered mainstream acts have been interesting experiences. The artists themselves are inevitably more guarded, the rules are more rigid and the structure is much more formal–you’re not going to pull aside chairs in the press room or sit down in a bar with a pop star for 45 minutes.
I asked Akanishi a mix of my trademark deep questions and more lighthearted ones. We only had about 10 minutes for the interview, which usually isn’t enough time for highly substantial answers unless the subject is gregarious. Add in the fact that Akanishi was speaking in his second language and probably hasn’t interviewed with many American media. But he seemed to relax and open up toward the end, giving candid answers about his relationship with KAT-TUN and relating a bizarre but funny anecdote about a fan leaving natto in his mailbox.
Fans have responded to the article well (145 people have shared it on Facebook within the past two days), and numerous Japanese blogs have linked to it.