A ryokan inn manager and a caregiver formed idol duo Ah while they work their regular jobs. (Hirokazu Suzuki)

By day, Kotoe Okubo is the young manager and future proprietress of a ryokan inn founded by her grandfather a half-century ago in Takashima, Shiga Prefecture.

Yuka Suzuki is a caregiver at a day-care center operated by her mother in Osaka Prefecture.

By night, the two share an unlikely job: idol duo.

Okubo goes by the name of “Lyrical*Kotopao” as one-half of Ah, while Suzuki calls herself “Suzu.”

The duo have been working their day jobs while they continue their musical activities, hoping to make it big in the music scene.

Their first full album was released in July.

Both are in their 20s, but other details about their profiles remain private.

Actually, Okubo works at the Takarabune Onsen Yumoto Kotobuki hot spring inn, established by her grandfather about 50 years ago, with her father serving as the second-generation proprietor. Her services include helping prepare and serve meals, attending to guests and taking reservations.

“We take pride in serving Omi beef and other cuisine, so it feels rewarding when our meals are appreciated by guests,” Okubo said.

Meanwhile, Suzuki works at a day-care facility founded by her mother. Qualified as a nurse, she also serves as an administrator for the facility that receives about 10 elderly people per day.

Okubo started taking piano lessons at age 5, and formed a band when she was attending college. She has been working at the inn after graduation while she began a solo career as a singer after she signed up with a music agency.

After Okubo met Suzuki, who was also pursuing a career in music just like her, they formed Ah in 2015. Okubo writes lyrics and composes songs, while Suzuki is in charge of choreography.

Both help their families run their businesses, meaning that they can’t concentrate solely on their musical activities.

“It’s coincidental, but we are under similar circumstances,” Okubo said. “There are many things we can understand about each other. We want to do our best by turning our disadvantages into an advantage.”

Ah has released nine CDs so far, taking the stage once or twice a month.

They also find their work experience useful in their idol activities.

Suzuki, who wasn’t good at talking to people, has made efforts to improve her skills as a frontline care worker. For example, she tries to make elders feel comfortable when she gives them a bath by striking up a conversation and asking what they think about a new bath agent.

“Their feelings change with even a slight gesture I make,” Suzuki said. “My work experience benefits me when I mingle with fans.”

Okubo feels pride in their new album called “Doppel” released in July, for which she came up with an idea “unique to a future ryokan proprietress.”

The cover photo of the first-press limited edition of the album features thin slices of Omi beef, while the CD was sold on a white plastic tray just like pre-packaged meat available at supermarkets.

“Someone who bought it online tweeted, saying, ‘I received an ‘oseibo’ winter gift,’ ” she said with a smile.

Visit Ah’s official website at (http://ahofficial.web.fc2.com/index.html).