On March 31st, after the concert ended, the illuminated cherry blossoms I saw from the car window in Chidorigafuchi struck me with their beauty. On the edge of full bloom, they swelled with life as they prepared for their brightest moment.
After a round of refreshing drinks with the band and staff, I parted with them on a street corner as dawn arrived, returned home to a hot shower, and climbed into bed at sunrise. Despite my exhaustion and the alcohol, my still-racing emotions didn’t allow me much sleep. I dozed for a bit, but three hours later I was getting ready to leave. It was a normal day of work.
I felt out of focus as I put on a random outfit. On the train, lost in my thoughts amid the gentle swaying, I stumbled a bit when I was bumped by the person behind me. My fingers, grasping the handstrap, still showed the white nail polish my makeup artist put on yesterday. I felt somewhat peculiar, as if I wasn’t sure yesterday’s Budōkan concert had really happened. I was sore all over, and tired…. But it was comforting to think that around the same time the 13,000 guests who spent yesterday with me were also going back to their own day-to-day lives. With an afterglow from yesterday’s dreamlike enjoyment, we’ve returned to our own ordinary days. Until we meet again someday, we’ll pass from one day to the next in this special time that is daily life.
It was my 30th birthday, my best-hits album release date, and the day of my Budōkan concert.
At the intersection of three huge events, March 31, 2010 was undoubtedly a special day. Many people gathered to wish me a happy birthday, and I was able to sing my favorite songs. It was a day of unmatched happiness.
But it doesn’t change the fact that every day—yesterday, today, tomorrow, or next week, no matter what day of the week or month—is a special day that comes only once in our lives. We call this series of days our “daily life”. Though I usually forget about this fact, I’m renewed in my desire to recall it even once in a while and so be able to walk with my head held a little higher.
I had hoped to earnestly express my gratitude on that day. But now that I think back, I wish I had said more. What I said then wasn’t enough. So please let me say my thanks once more here.
Thank you, thank you so much! That I’ve been able to sing for this long is because of those who have opened their hearts to what I have to say. From my heart I thank everyone who has felt something even once as they listened to my music.
To everyone who listened to my best-hits album, and to those who came to the concert, thank you. I’m sure some of you came from far away and saved every last penny of your allowance to buy the album. I’m truly delighted by your kindness. To those who wanted to attend but couldn’t because it was on a weekday, and to those who took a day off of work to be there, please forgive me. I apologize for being born at the end of the fiscal year, when everyone is busy! I’m hoping we can see each other at the next concert.
Also, the stage for this concert was set up with seating in every direction. Because of that I imagine some of you only saw my back for most of the time. To those who had seats with a poor view, I’m really, truly sorry! I put a lot of time into coming up with ways to make it enjoyable even if you couldn’t see well, but maybe it wasn’t that good. I hope you’ll forgive me. But I loved the idea of being able to look past my shoulder from one side and see the audience on the opposite side of the ring of seats. As we all sang the final song together, being in the middle of a swirl of colorful voices was exquisitely stunning. I could see all the way to the very last row on the third level. Thank you.
To the band, the staff, and the two special guests. Ahh, I’m so grateful I don’t know how to put it into words. I love you. You are my dearest companions of whom I’m so proud. Please stay by my side forever.
I’ve walked this road for 15 years. Always devoted, always desperate, and without many chances to look back, but as I take a fresh look about me now, I keenly sense that I’ve truly met and am supported by many people, and my life has been full of experiences. Every event has meaning, and everything is connected. That’s why “my home is everywhere.” The place I can go back to, the place that raised me, the place that I recall with fond memories, is everywhere I’ve ever been.
The moment I decided to do this concert was actually on the last day of last year’s Kazeyomi Tour while I shared congratulatory drinks with everyone. Though I used to shy away from the idea of a concert, on that day I felt I wanted to know more. On that day my mental clock that counted down to the Budōkan concert began ticking. And this time, now that the Budōkan concert is over, I feel like another countdown has begun. With this before me, I’m going to once again count off my ordinary yet special days.
Let’s meet again!