Collected translations of Maaya Sakamoto news, essays, interviews, and articles


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Crossing Boundaries

Part 54 of 68 in a series:

Take the international date line for example.

Supposedly when you cross that invisible line, today suddenly becomes tomorrow, or yesterday. But if you fly across it in a plane, you don’t feel any sort of shock, and time simply flows just as it always had.

Across this planet are drawn countless invisible lines.
The land, sky, and sea are laced with borders, and every place is someone’s property.
At midnight “tomorrow” becomes “today”.
The moment you know each other’s feelings, a “friend” becomes a “lover”.
With a single document, a “stranger” suddenly becomes “family”.
With a single document, “family” becomes a “stranger”.

These are all rules someone prescribed to make things easy to understand. Having them makes our lives considerably neat and orderly.

But the world we actually see isn’t all that easy to understand. The gap between two things is always filled by something vague and undefined.

When night ends, the morning never comes as if someone had flipped a light switch in the dark sky. Little by little, the darkness to the east begins to lighten, gradually blurring into blue as you gaze on, and morning slips into the sky before your very eyes.

People feel oddly uncomfortable leaving these indistinct things as they are. That’s why we draw lines everywhere and classify everything. Making things distinct lets us get by without getting lost, and makes it easier to talk with others. Yet unbeknownst to us, these lines drawn with good in mind become our chains.

Of course, since ours is a society unaccepting of anything that can’t be explained by putting it into words or a visible form, that we follow the same rules isn’t a bad thing. Rather, it has to be that way.

But I want to be continually aware of the fact that this world is truly vague. Between white and black, yes and no, morning and night, there are gradations inexpressible with words. And these shadowy spaces are the very keys to making this planet shine in all its splendor.

For just these 30 minutes, I want to belong to nowhere, to fly across a sky bound to no land, and simply accept everything as it is. I want to unchain emotions with no name. I want to reach out with loving arms to the vague uncertainties in myself and the world’s design.

And on my return to daily life I’ll go back to living as I follow the rules and boundaries. But I’ll know that my body and heart are truly free, bound by no one. This is what enables me to staunchly follow those rules.

Because after that 30-minute night flight, I’ll have in my hands the key to crossing any and every boundary, whenever I want.


Part 54 of 68 in a series: