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


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Part 62 of 68 in a series:

2009 is here!

I say it every year, but this year, this year for sure…I’ll post more frequent updates. So sorry. (I’ve totally ignored the stories from Amsterdam…)

For New Year’s, as usual I made my first shrine visit of the year with my family.

After prayers my father was about to get in line like everyone else to draw fortunes when I burst into full vent mode. “What?! I can’t believe we have to line up just to get a fortune!” I was still grumbling as I drew my lot and opened it to see the words “Great Fortune”. …I didn’t mean anything by it.

Every year passes quickly, as I’m fond of saying, but my 2008 went by at an unusual pace. A fast pace, certainly, but when I recall the year’s events, despite feeling as if I was running on an indescribably winding road with my destination in sight, it reminded me of a listless dream. Mentally I was pressed to the whetstone to the point of lancing pain, and I felt as though my body couldn’t cope with the severe pressure. But in short, that’s probably due to my overcritical, impatient personality. Once I make a decision, for better or for worse my nature compels me to carry it to its ultimate completion. Being so caught up in things that I lacked the time to take care of myself and got sick on occasion is one of my regrets from last year.

So as it turns out, I implemented and fully accomplished last year’s resolution of “zero vacation”, which now seems reckless. In the first year in recent memory without any appearances on stage, I accepted a lot of voice acting work and came across many fulfilling, very unique roles. I also made my first attempt at playing the piano, celebrated my 28th birthday in huge fashion with everyone on the fan club concert tour, went to Egypt and Holland, released the adventurous “Triangler”, reconsidered the esssence of my music with “The Rain Falls”…. So much went on that one year!

Tying up the end was the production of “Windreader”.

Driven by an unending surge of tremendous focus and urge to create that welled up from within me, as I spent every sleeping and waking hour of every day engrossed in putting together this album, along the way that winding road became a single, straight path, and I realized my body and soul were steadily falling in step with each other.

This is it, right here. Everything up until now happened so I could reach this place. It’s not only the road I traveled on last year. I sensed that the thing I had forever longed to express with this body and this voice since the day I parted with producer Yōko Kanno after many years under her wings, since the time before then when I started singing, and possibly since even earlier than that, at my very birth, had finally taken form.

The influence I’ve received from everyone I’ve ever met; their faces, words, auras. The days I was so sad I thought the world would end. The days I was so happy the world sparkled. All things good and bad, every feeling I feel like I can now accept completely and fully.

My life today rests on the extension of these things.

Having walked this far, I’m able to sing these songs because I’m here. I’m able to meet these people because I’m here. I’m able to confront this side of myself because I’m here. I love these songs that are now coming forth. Throughout those days I savored the delight of being able to say this from my heart. Upon completing the album, rather than shedding tears or being awash in emotion, I was simply filled with quiet bliss. “Ahh, I’m so glad I’ve sung my way here. ”

I’m raising the curtain on 2009 with the release of this “Windreader” album.

As in years past, my journey still continues into this year. Should I find myself close to losing sight of the place I am headed, I pray this album will be a weathervane that grants me the power to read the wind.

So let’s make it a great year! Wishing the best for you,


Part 62 of 68 in a series: