In order to confront the intimidating and multi-talented Rena “Non” Nonen, our interviewer summons a god of rock.

Seiji Nakazawa is well-known as a regular writer for this website, but you may not know that he’s also an aspiring musician. As such, his hunger to create will not be satiated until he has found someone to believe in his music enough to pay him for it.

He’s no dreamer, however. Our Seiji knows that you’ll never make it by sitting on your thumbs — unless you happen to know a really cool way to sit like that. No, instead, he’s always looking for opportunities and will pursue them to no end.

One such opportunity came up at the Japan Amusement Expo 2018 held in Makuhari Messe. Non (full name: Rena Nonen) was appearing at the Konami booth to promote the smartphone game Quiz Magic Academy Lost Fantarium in which she provides her voice talents.

Non is something of an entertainment powerhouse finding success as an actor, model, voice actor, spokesperson, and musician. In fact, she has even started her own independent label on which she has released three EPs.

This was it! Seiji could use his reporter-type-guy credentials to get a one-on-one interview with Non. However, his true intent would be to audition his guitar chops so that she would have no choice but to sign him to her label right then and there. It couldn’t fail!

However, he couldn’t just waltz in there looking like some scraggly blogger and expect to be taken seriously as a musician.  He had to look the part too, so he raided his closet in order to resemble none other than legendary Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen as much as possible.

Any record producer would have to be out of their mind not to sign the guitar virtuoso, so by associative property they also couldn’t reject Seiji if he looked and acted like Yngwie.

On the day of the convention, Seiji treated every action as if the shred-steady hand of Yngwie was guiding him. He even drove through Tokyo in an ultra-compact car painted in magic markers in the same way he imagined Yngwie would have done.

And as he stopped for a brief cigarette before entering, Seiji tried to copy how Yngwie would look smoking a menthol on the side of the road.

By the time he arrived, Seiji’s ego was filled to the brim with the spirit of Malmsteen, to the point that he didn’t really care about the potentially life-changing audition any more. “Ain’t no thing,” he muttered as he walked through the gates, “Let’s do this.”

Then, Seiji was surprised to learn that the interview wasn’t going to be held in the Konami booth on the convention floor. Instead it was in a private room. The mellow colors and deafening silence reminded him that he actually wasn’t Time Magazine’s 9th greatest electric guitarist of all time.

It was a momentary chink in his psyche though. Seiji managed to shrug off the fear and returned to full Yngwie-mode as he prepared to enter the interview room.

He opened the door and…

“OMIGODOMIGOD! It’s really her,” Seiji’s inner monologue squealed like a starstruck schoolgirl at the sight of Non, “She’s so cool and pretty!”

Just then the spirit of Yngwie Malmsteen slapped Seiji out of his state awe. “Hey man,” Seiji could hear Yngwie whisper in his head, “You got work to do. Keep your eye on the prize.”

Yngwie was right. Seiji had to keep up appearances and gushing over others simply wasn’t rock and roll. Brushing back his locks and stretching his pants to their limits, Seiji took a seat across from Non.

What would Yngwie do? He would break the ice with some playful banter, of course.

Seiji: “You look very androgynous today, don’t you?”

Non: “Ah! Yes… I do don’t I? In Quiz Magic Academy Lost Fantarium, I play Shikigami Metis who is an… um, ‘androgynous’ character so… that’s the idea! [laughs]

Seiji: I see.

Seiji: ….


Seiji: “Non, you’re a talent musician who’s established your own record label. Is there any other music that moves you?”

Non: “Well, I like Kiyoshiro Imawano and Akiko Yano.”

Seiji: “Uhuh, and do you like any Western music?”

Non: “I haven’t really listened to Western music much, so I don’t know much about it.”

Seiji: “I see.”



This was the moment he had waited for. Seiji’s buttery-smooth interviewing skills had opened the perfect window for him to begin playing for Non. However, suddenly all of the Malmsteen melted away and Seiji felt like he was back in grade school at his first recorder recital.

Having played countless times in front of people, Seiji was by no means prone to stage-fright but now he found himself with sweaty palms and a lump in his throat the size of a Grammy award. There was too much at stake.

With every second that passed, Seiji’s ruse of an interview was eroding away. Had he taken the few seconds needed to research what a “Fantarium” or “Shikigami” was, he could have stalled a little longer, but he hadn’t. He had been too busy perfecting his “Malmsteen lunge.”

The urge to get up and run away was strong, but then Seiji had a vision. It was as if a hole in space and time opened up spewing forth fire and ice, Yngwie Malmsteen emerged with a rising force riding on a tiger made of lightning.

He rode towards Seiji with his arm outstretched shouting, “Come on!” Seiji grabbed his hand and the rock legend said calmly, “It’s time to unleash the fury Seiji… unleash it!”

Suddenly, Seiji sprung up from his chair and went into the deepest “Malmsteen lunge” he had ever achieved!

Then… he played.

▼ Riggarun riggarun dununnnuuuun ♫

Seiji played his ever-loving heart out, but with all the beautiful women and lightning tigers around him he couldn’t remember what he actually played. He just let the music flow, and when it was all said and done he sat back in his chair with the satisfied air of knowing that he had done his best.

Choosing once again to strike while the iron was hot, Seiji then asked Non point-blank whether or not she would sign him.

Non: “You were pretty awesome, but….”

Seiji: “But?”

Non: “I only work with girl groups, so I can’t sign a guy.”

With that, the interview was over. Non thanked Seiji for coming and gave him a copy of her latest single “Run!!!” That and the fact that she didn’t have him forcibly removed from the premises was awfully nice of her.

Still, rejection always hurts, and Seiji couldn’t help but wonder if “I only work with girl bands,” is the professional equivalent to “I have a boyfriend.” In other words, she was just too kind to tell Seiji he sucked to his face.

▼ Although, if you watch the 50 second interview in its entirety,
you can hear that Seiji’s playing was actually quite good.

As he walked away from Makuhari Messe, a dark cloud of despair began to form. But just then a hand touched his shoulder. It was the spirit of Yngwie Malmsteen telling Seiji with a gentle smile, “C’mon man. No biggie. Let’s go get some soba noodles and potato croquettes, eh?”

Walking together but leaving one set of footprints, Seiji and Yngwie headed for the nearest soba joint.

As Seiji slurped up the delicious noodles he realized that Yngwie was right. This was “no biggie.” It was just another step on the road to his dreams. Today may not have been his day, but his time would come. That he was sure of.

Because Seiji Nakazawa is without a doubt a far better guitar player than he is an interviewer. Just ask Keanu Reeves.

Photos: SoraNews24