KENTARO: My dad always said to me, “You should speak English in the future.” I was studying at an English cram school when I was in sixth grade. I was too young to be interested in studying English or even music at that age. All I had on my mind1was playing baseball. Even now, I only use English when I email Ninezero. That’s all.
“You should speak English in the future”
ZERO: Have you ever used English?
KENTARO：I’ have done some recordings in Los Angeles, USA. While we were practicing a song before the recording, the other musicians were talking about the composition of the song but I couldn't really understand what they were saying. I composed that song so I understood the music well, so I kind of guessed what they were talking about, such as “Let’s start from the pre-chorus.” etc. If I understood English at this time, then I could’ve understood what they were saying better. When we went out to eat, they asked me a lot of questions, like “Where do you live?” and “What kind of place is it?” and “What do you do in Japan?” I understood what their questions were but I couldn’t express myself in English. I was really frustrated at my poor English.
ZERO: Have you ever toured overseas?
KENTARO：Right after I joined Gargoyle, I played at a famous club in London called “Marquee.” It was about 21-22 years ago. That was my first Gargoyle show and we were the first Japanese band playing as a headliner at the club. It was an awesome experience.
ZERO: Did you communicate with the staff at the club in English?
KENTARO：I tried to speak to them when we did our sound check. As I said, that was the first time to play with Gargoyle for me and I was renting the guitars and amps and stuff, so I already had a lot on my plate.2 When I told the PA staff to adjust the monitor and speakers, I told them “Drum, up! Up!”, or something like that. It was very simple, but they understood me.
“They understood me”
ZERO: Would you like to study English again?
KENTARO：I think so. I’d like to communicate more in English. Only knowing greetings doesn’t help the conversation to continue. I’d like to learn how to keep the conversation going after greeting someone. I think Japanese people tend not to speak to strangers but foreigners are more open to speak with strangers. One time, I had a chance to share a dressing room with Richie Kotzen (The Winery Dogs, Poison and Mr. Big) at an event. We were watching the concert together on the monitor backstage. All I could say was, “Nice guitar!” and I couldn’t continue the conversation. At that time, I told myself that I should study English. I have always been putting off studying English. I also want to study how to reply when chatting with people. I think it’s important to react in English when talking with someone. I hope I can learn English using Rockstar English. People often say that to learn an instrument or English, it’s better to start early. But I think “learning” does not have an age limit. I’ll do my best so that I can tell show everyone that I really did learn English, even though I am over 40.