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


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A Grateful Birthday Celebration

Part 59 of 68 in a series:

The 2008 Fan Club Events are over! Everyone, thank you so much for attending!

This time, to surprise everyone and more than anything express my feelings of thanks, I prepared a surprise gift: I played the piano part for “NO FEAR / To Love”. I’ve been diligently practicing by myself on the electric keyboard I bought on an impulse nine months ago. I was absolutely clueless when I bought it, and I didn’t know things like when I should press the pedals…. But unlike the guitar, which never quite sounded well despite my efforts, being able to strike a key and hear a note was delightful and fun, and though my daily practice sounded more like a child playing around I improved as the days went by. But although I can play, I have no idea whatsoever which chords I’m playing, I can’t read music, and since I only recall where to move my fingers, I’ve developed a rather odd quirk of being able to recover from mistakes only by restarting from a few bars earlier. My heart was pounding all through the recitals at the fan club events.

The staff may have had the worst case of butterflies. Since the time I told them I wanted to try playing a piano accompaniment, I never let anyone hear my rehearsals. They were only half-convinced I could really play, and it seemed as though they were more nervous than I was when I stepped over to the piano.

During the events, I played well some days, and on others made mistakes. I can’t deny that I really wanted to play it perfectly, but for me there was meaning in simply making the attempt. I want to express my feelings of constant gratitude through song, but I can’t do it alone. For a long time I’ve been frustrated by my inability to play an instrument. That’s why I was set on accomplishing this by myself this time around.

Also, this attempt turned out to be a good chance to affirm the idea that you can do anything if you set your mind to it. It’s never too late. If you love something, if you want to try something, you should reach for it without fear. I hope these thoughts reached everyone.

During the encore rendition of “Empty Your Pockets”, which has become a standard song in my concert repertoire, hearing your beautiful singing filled me with happiness. Whenever I hear that “la la la” part, I feel sincerely thankful for being born. I feel a desire to become a better person than who I was last time. With this goal in my heart, I’ll keep giving my best. The next time we meet, it would be great if we’ve both grown into something brighter. I hope those of you who couldn’t attend will look forward to meeting me at the next opportunity.

Thank you so much. And thank you for celebrating my birthday.

With so much gratitude that a million thank-yous wouldn’t be enough,

Maaya Sakamoto

P.S. I was brought to tears by the cherry blossom flurry and surprise cake at the final performance in Tōkyō. But the surprises from the staff actually didn’t end there. I went backstage to find a huge potted bouquet. Plus, there was a card with comments from everyone on the staff and band. Their words of, “It was fun to go on tour,” “Let’s do this again,” and, “Keep singing,” soaked into my heart and made me burst into tears again. Argh, I can’t win!

I played the piano wanting to do something on my own, but in the end I can’t do anything by myself. I’m here only because everyone else is with me! Everyone who supported me on the staff and in the band, I love you!! Thank you!! I feel so blessed.


Part 59 of 68 in a series: