[Translation] WeatherNews’ Saya Hiyama on her career choice and her love for manga and anime

So, recently I’ve taken a liking to this one WeatherNews reporter.

Japanese original published on Wani Books NewsCrunch, 14 October 2021.

Original title: A unique weather reporter who aimed to be a voice actress: Saya Hiyama’s overflowing love for manga & anime.

In commemoration of the release of the WeatherNews Caster Calendar 2022, we interviewed all 10 weather reporters. This time, we asked Saya Hiyama about her highlights and her everyday work.

WeatherNews’ foremost indoor type

Hello. I am Saya Hiyama. I’m 27 years old and born in Ibaraki Prefecture. I’ve loved anime for a long time, and there was even a time when I aimed to be a voice actress. When I heard about the calendar being made, I felt very happy, to put it simply. I would be happy if the calendar made more people aware of the program.

WeatherNews, where I work as a weather reporter, is a channel that broadcasts the latest weather information live 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. On calm days as well as on days of harsh weather, we report information that we consider useful for the daily lives of our viewers in the form of weather updates.

A slightly nervous Hiyama

In this job, I learned that weather is very important because it directly influences our lives. I wish to use my own words to convey information that the audience seeks.

Two things led me to aim for the job of a weather reporter.

The first was experiencing the Great East Japan earthquake [2011]. I learned how the everyday life that we take for granted can suddenly be upended by a natural disaster. At the time, I saw the people who worked day and night to build back. I wanted to one day also become someone who could contribute to society, and that feeling had not faded when I entered the workforce, so I applied wishing to help in natural disaster mitigation by delivering weather information.

The second thing was that watching weather forecasts cheered me up. There were a lot of gloomy news, but watching weather forecasts helped my heart relax and helped me feel at peace. I applied because I wanted to be the one providing a time to relax this time.

The photoshoot was blessed by the weather as well

If I were to introduce myself with a type of weather, I guess I would be “slightly cloudy.” Although clear weather feels nice as well, thanks to clouds, light and shadow are born and the sky shows various expressions. Clouds might not have the power to charm people in a flash, but they’re always close and you won’t get bored of them. Perhaps that is the kind of person I wish to become.

I’ve long been an indoor type, and I always spend my days off at home. Because I’m always reading books and manga, I bought a desk where my neck and shoulders won’t get stiff when I’m reading.

My recent favorite is Maha Harada. She has written many novels where art is used as a motif, and beside the story, the knowledge about paintings is informative. Her works are simply good and you just keep reading them.

That reminds me, after books kindled my appetite for art, I went to the “Scrolls of Frolicking Animals Exhibition” [Tokyo National Museum exhibition of the National Treasure-classified Chōjū-giga from the 12th and 13th centuries]. They depict the social conditions of the time with animals and humans in a manga-like fashion, and I was moved to see that such detailed picture scrolls were drawn as far back as 800 years ago. The small animals being all lively were really cute, and I never tired of looking at them.

Her love for manga & anime never stops!

Loves manga and anime

From when I was in middle school, I was full speed on the path to becoming an otaku, and I have been encouraged and saved by my favorite manga and anime many times.

This line by Alicia, the main character’s senpai in the anime “ARIA,” was memorable to me.

“Even a single thing can show a completely different side depending on the time of day, and when the seasons change, the air and colors start to change. And most of all, even if you happen to be at a certain place at a certain time, the world you see changes completely depending on what you feel. After all, there are endless wonderful things.”

I thought that indeed, your feelings can make the sky look very beautiful, for example. I decided that if I’m spending the same amount of time anyway, I want to keep finding things that are more wonderful. I felt that in everyday life, even in chasing after the weather or seasons, there are wonderful things all around.

Next, I empathize strongly with the main character of the manga “March Comes in Like a Lion” [Japanese title: Sangatsu no Lion]. This manga has many scenes that grip your heart tight, and to me it’s a precious work, like a treasure.

“Being gracious and being careless resemble each other, but they’re different things. ‘Take care of yourself’—failing this is the root cause of not making progress.”

This is a line that the main character’s close friend Nikaido says in a match commentary. Although I like the main character too, I also like how Nikaido, who appears as a rival, hates to lose. I feel sympathy for him because I am also someone who hates to lose.

When things don’t go your way, you tend to get into a state of mind where you no longer care, but despite that, I want to do the best I can no matter the situation—that’s what I, too, strongly felt.

What about her drawing skills?

For a long time, I’ve often been seen as docile. So, perhaps because people think I don’t really have a will of my own, I’ve even been told “I think you can’t do it” to my face.

When I took part in university entrance exams, too, I was frustrated with being told “that university is too difficult for you,” so I studied without sparing time for sleep. In university, when I was preparing for a big seminar presentation, I was told “perhaps Hiyama can’t do it.” I thought to myself, “I’ll definitely do it one way or another” and overcame the task. When others had no expectations for me, I considered that a challenge for myself, and there was a major sense of accomplishment each time I overcame it.

For me, frustration is a powerful motivator. I conserve it hidden deep within myself, and when the time comes, I use it as energy to fire myself up.

Up to now, I’ve lived my life believing I’d never get a lead role anywhere. Even in manga, although I do empathize with the main character, it tends to be the supporting characters who let the main character shine that catch my eye after all.

That’s the case in my current job as well. Even though I’m on the screen, I don’t play the main part by any means. That belongs to the information that we deliver.

Still, because I’m delivering it, it’s possible for the information to resonate more, and it might reach people who it didn’t reach before.

On bright days, I want to talk about happy things, and on days of bad weather, I hope the viewer can cheer up even if it’s just a little.

After seeing me appear on the screen, I hope they can feel at ease and cheer up, even if it’s just a little.

I’m happy if they can be connected to me through the sky and get to feel just a little happier.

To commemorate the calendar release, after the interview we asked all weather reporters to take part in a “word associations drawing shiritori relay.” Picking up from Naoko Kakuta’s drawing in the second interview, what is Saya Hiyama’s answer? (From the editor)

Interview leftovers questionnaire

Q: What is your favorite expression relating to weather or the sky?

A: Amadare ishi wo ugatsu. (Literally: raindrops drill through stone; meaning: slow and steady wins the race.)

Q: What weather do you like the most? What is your favorite season? Please answer with your reasons.

A: For weather, thin clouds spreading out in the sky. I find beauty in how the appearance of the clouds changes moment by moment. For the season, it’s fall, because it’s comfortable with the continued moderately warm days. I like the scent of the seasonal flowers and how you get to relax with a warm drink more often.

Q: Please show us your favorite weather photo and tell the reasons for why you like it.

A: Blue moment. The boundary between morning and night. It feels like you’re on a boundary line because it feels like time has stood still. I took this photo when I was out with my senpai Izumi. It made me like the sky more.

A memorable photograph (Photo: provided by Hiyama herself)

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