Happy New Year.
As 2003 wrapped up with the December release of my new album “A Boy Named Alice” and DVD “Zero Three Cross” as planned, I crossed into 2004 on a good note. Everyone, thank you so much for listening!! I’d be elated if this album stays by your side for a long time. In any case, that’s the kind of album it’s become for me personally. I couldn’t be happier.
Since I was scheduled to appear in “Les Misérables” in the Hakata Theater from January 2 to 13, I was in Fukuoka since the end of last year. I did manage to sample some osechi on New Year’s Day, but I still feel like I totally missed out on the New Year holiday. At the very least I’m glad I made it through all my performances without problems. Thank you to everyone who came to watch. Although it lasted only a few weeks, the time I spent in Fukuoka was my first mini taste of living alone. Obviously I had to do the laundry even when I was tired and wash the dishes when I ate something, so I came away with a renewed sense of appreciation for my parents, who are always taking care of me.
Now then, with January came the long-awaited start of my fan club, and I was shocked to hear that the number of members is now over 7000. And it’s not just me who’s surprised—the staff is also quite amazed. We’re accepting membership applications until the end of January, and when I announced that to mark the club’s founding I would sign everyone’s copy of Newsletter #0 before it went in the mail, no one had imagined such a huge number… However, I’m very thankful! So I’m signing away! I have 7000 newsletters in front of me, and I’m signing each one. I signed 2000 in Fukuoka. Even after getting back to Tōkyō, I’m still signing every day. It’s almost like a side job. I think some of you have received your copy, but some are still waiting. That’s because I’m signing it now… Just give me a bit longer…
Also, this is my year in the zodiac. The monkey. Somehow I’ve managed to reach quite a grown-up age. I had actually thought of myself as a fairly active type, but there are still tons of things I want to do and haven’t yet gotten to, and 24 years hasn’t been nearly enough time at all. I wonder how many items I can check off the list of places I want to go, things I want to see, and people I want to meet from here on out. I hope this year I can at least take some small steps forward.
Early on in the New Year holiday, my staff sent me an e-mail with these encouraging words:
“Don’t get discouraged. Don’t back down. Don’t run away. After you run the first time, it becomes a habit. When troubles arise, keep your eyes on the prize and you can show “grit”. Hence the characters for “grit” are “robust” and “spirit”. ‘Be gritty!’”
With that, I wish all of you a wonderful year.
With heartfelt hopes of love and peace,
I look forward as always to your support.