One month has passed. Here are a few side stories.
After leaving the final rehearsal for the Budōkan concert, that evening I returned home and opened my guitar case to find an unfamiliar red pick in the strings. A sparkling concert logo design adorned both sides. Also enclosed was a note: “Let’s make it a great concert! From everyone on the staff.” The impending concert had brought me anxiety, because I still hadn’t mastered the guitar part that was my idea, and as I was alone in my room that night, seeing this tremendously heartwarming surprise present made me burst out crying. This is the kind of extraordinary staff I’m surrounded by—my companions of no equal.
Just before going on stage, the band members handed me a large box in the dressing room with words of, “This is from everyone!” I opened it up and wouldn’t you know it, there was the red amp modeler I had been whispering that I wanted!! Despite having just had my makeup done I was already crying before the concert started. Everyone watched over my desperate practice during rehearsals with such kindness. I had no idea they were planning this gift! Thanks to the support I received from their kindness, I played far better in the concert than in rehearsals. But having been given this much, I suppose can’t give up on the guitar now. I’ll have to work hard at it before we meet again so I can show you I’ve improved. This made me very, very happy.
To Yōko Kanno, who participated as a special guest in this 15th anniversary concert. The medley we did together was so much fun. And the “Tyrol Chocolate” jingle, of all songs. Hiroshi Ichikura, who wrote the lyrics, mentioned, “I never thought I’d hear this in the Budōkan.” (haha) And the pamphlet collaboration I asked you to be the camerawoman for is also getting high praise. Every shot is one that couldn’t have been taken if you weren’t the one holding the camera. It’s been 15 years since the day you found me. I’m 30 now. Had I not met you, none of this would have happened. You’re very dear to me, and a person who taught me much about life. Thank you.
And to the other special guest, Shōko Suzuki. I wanted to try a song with twin drums at least once, and you made that dream come true. The combination of you and [Yasuo] Sano was fantastic! Having two of my favorite drummers on the stage at the same time was an incredible present for me. Ever since I went to your concert and saw you singing and playing the drums with that vibrant energy, I wished in my heart to someday sing to the rhythm of your drums. When you came out on stage singing “Happy Birthday” with that giant surprise cake, however, I bet you had planned to make me cry, and I probably would have on any day before that one. But that day I promised myself I wouldn’t cry at all, and not only that, after seeing you singing while holding a candle lighter in one hand, I felt both unspeakably grateful and like laughing, so rather than tears a smile came to my face (haha).
I’m extremely thankful for my good fortune to have been blessed in my encounters with people. All around me are wonderful people.
It strikes me that there are so many excellent people in the world. I’d like to add to my years like they do, with that childish innocence and freedom combined with that boldness to pull off amazing things with a bright smile.
And so this concludes the behind-the-scenes episodes.