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


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Part 64 of 68 in a series:

I actually took a secret five-week trip overseas.

For 37 days, all alone, I trekked across Europe.

Paris, Prague, Venice, Rome, Florence, Milan, Barcelona, Lisbon, and finally once more to Paris.

Throughout many towns I saw, heard, and encountered numerous things. I visited many famous sites.

But more than that, on this trip I went for strolls, took in the sun, read books, ate, slept peacefully, napped on occasion, wrote in my diary, thought, walked, walked, and walked some more. I simply wanted to do these everyday things. It had been a very long time since I had spent my days in such a relaxed fashion.

I’ve constantly said without a second thought that I love my work, I don’t need to rest, and I wish I could work every day. Last year my mind was full to the brim with the album and concert tour, and I poured my entire body and soul into them. This is why I felt such bliss on their completion, and why they’re wonderful treasures I’ll prize for the rest of my life.

But as a consequence, I was so engrossed that I thought of nothing else, and time spent with friends or on myself was pushed to the background. Even in my dreams I never stopped working. On occasion my body would cry out in protest, and as if pulling back on my reins to slow my sprint, I fell ill many times.

At that point I realized, I can’t go on like this. For the time being I’ll keep my focus on the concerts until they’re over, and then switch off everything entirely. A short vacation probably won’t be enough to escape this hyperactive mode that makes me feel like I’ll eventually short-circuit. I’m sure I won’t be able to keep from working if I stay home, so even if I have to force myself I’ll go somewhere. If I let this chance slip away I’ll regret it. I’m positive this timing won’t happen again. This time after finishing the Kazeyomi tour has to be a huge milestone for me.

…It’s difficult to explain well in this brief essay my reasons for going on this trip. But I was sure of one thing—I had to go at all costs. I left my destination unspecific: Europe. If I found a place that fit me well, I could stay there, or if I was in a mood to keep moving, I would do that. The time would be for trusting my intuition and listening to my instincts. It wasn’t a recreational trip, but a journey I began with a sharp resolve, as though I were leaving for training.

At any rate, for the final big event of my 20s I was able to accomplish a long overseas trip alone, which I’ve dreamed of doing for many years. As I’ve had my job since my days in primary school, this was my longest vacation since summer break twenty years ago, when I was in second grade. My coworkers, who listened to my request with great kindness, graciously worked so I could take this priceless time off. I’m very thankful for them.

As I have chances to, I’ll share with you in detail the things I gained from this trip and the things I thought about.

Despite following a map I constantly lost my way every day and felt helpless, at times the trains were plagued by delays that would be unheard of in Japan and my plans were ruined, and sometimes a sudden rain kept me indoors for an hour. Yet I could to enjoy that sort of meandering time without getting irritated. I’m the type of person who always wants there to be meaning in everything, takes action efficiently and without waste, and wants to keep moving at full speed, but a long time ago I seem to recall a slightly more “playful” side to me. As I waited out the rain in front of a Paris bakery I wondered why and since when I had turned into such an unforgiving person.

As I spoke during the concert tour, it took me a very long time to reach an acceptance of myself. But now, after accepting myself during the tour, during this trip I had a sense of being told that I should try to be more free.

Also, by allowing my body and mind to rest for the first real time in my life, I came back completely recharged and full of inspiration that promises to play into my future expression. This trip gave me countless concepts for what I want to do and what kind of things I want to create next.

Right here. This is where it starts. A trip lasts only a moment. Those heightened emotions of traveling, such as the feelings of being stunned by every little change in the weather, the scenery, or people’s smiles—I wonder just how long can I hold on to these things in the midst of my daily life. From here on out I want to live as though I were traveling, so I wonder what I should do to that end. I think this is the most challenging thing.

So although I’ve returned, I’m still living out the rest of that trip, forever.

This being said, “Weathervane” fit perfectly in every country, no matter where I listened to it.

It really was just as these lyrics read. That’s the kind of trip it was.


Part 64 of 68 in a series: