Today’s guest is Mr. Ikeda, the director of my radio show “I.D.”, which celebrated four full years on the air this year. But actually, we worked on a show together before “I.D.” That show was called “Maaya Sakamoto: Grapefruit”, and it aired on Radio Ōsaka in 1996, when my first album came out. Are there any former listeners here today? That was a special show to me, as it was my first time to experience being a radio personality.
Since we met back then I suppose that would mean Mr. Ikeda and I go back about seven years. On account of that, we’re perfectly in tune…I wonder what it is about him? I’m not entirely sure, but I do know that Mr. Ikeda is someone who always keeps watch over me calmly and acceptingly.
However during the discussions before the actual show he’s always cracking ridiculous jokes and spouting nonsense! He really turns everything into humor. So sometimes you think he’s goofing off, and he suddenly launches into a serious oration. His knowledge of music and movies has no bounds. He’s able to convey his ideas clearly and coherently. He’s not afraid to praise what he thinks is praiseworthy and support it. His wife is cute, and as radio directors go, he’s quite popular. In a nutshell, this is the kind of person he is.
After recording “I.D.” everyone on the staff often goes out for drinks, and seeing as I’ve known them for so long, I really feel comfortable around every one of these companions. But the people around me (to include the guests who have appeared in this series thus far) aren’t merely “good friends”. In other words, they’re people who give me “counsel” in the true sense of the word. Counsel is something given essentially out of a concern for the well-being of the other person, which means a lot of the time I think the person counseled often feels ashamed. When I’m about to overlook something, or I’m worried or confused, someone will notice and give me their heartfelt counsel. That’s why I believe the people around me are true examples of “kind people”.
1) Share your first impression of Maaya Sakamoto. (When did you meet?)
Before Ms. Sakamoto’s debut, I was called over to Victor and told, “We want you to do a show for this girl,” and handed a copy of “Feel Myself”. The picture I got from this song…was along the lines of a somewhat picky college girl—an artist with the bearing of a high-class daughter. And then the day I met her—I can’t recall the location—this was my first impression: “She’s just a kid!”
2) So what’s your impression of her today?
As I wrote above, for the show she’s a somewhat picky college girl, and an artist with the bearing of a high-class daughter…this is the angle we went for in the concept, so there’s no turning back from it. But the Ms. Sakamoto I see in front of me is far more childish than even the high school girls you see wandering around town. When I got my way and recorded a show that was sort of like a girl talking to herself in her room, my impression of her changed dramatically. Ms. Sakamoto can tell stories with brevity. With plot development and everything. She has this and all the other things a speaker needs to have. My impression after actually meeting her was…“Maybe I’ve found the greatest speaker ever?”
3) Share with us one of your exceptional “Legends of Maaya Sakamoto”.
For Ms. Sakamoto, who doesn’t put a high priority on basic knowledge (haha), everything that comes out of her mouth is legendary, so I can’t recall anything (sorry). If you listen to the show I’m positive you’ll see what I mean.
4) Taking everything together, where would you put Maaya Sakamoto on the sexiness scale?
I’d hope for 120, but I can’t look for sexiness in someone for whom my first impression was, “She’s just a kid!” So to be nice I’ll throw in 10 points… However! Her eyes are over 100 points. If you get a chance take a close look at them.
5) Describe a show you’d like Maaya Sakamoto to do.
I’d definitely like her to do this—something not called “Maaya Sakamoto’s …”, but a show for a wide audience where she’s a normal personality or DJ. Something where she relays everyday information, and gives her take on it. Instead of getting messages from fans, she reads mail related to the show’s contents. Something like that.
6) Is there anything you wish Maaya Sakamoto would stop doing?
Nothing in particular, but maybe buying things she doesn’t need? Also, I wish she’d put a little more practice into learning an instrument.
7) On being four years into the show…
I didn’t expect it to last this long, but here we are at four years… I suppose we were able to make it this far because we were so casual about it. I think it’s summed up in what Ms. Sakamoto said a while back: “After working in all sorts of places I come to I.D. and I can relax.”
8) What do you anticipate for Maaya Sakamoto’s future?
In particular for Ms. Sakamoto the musician… I hope she’ll understand that the environment she’s in now isn’t all there is. I want her to come into contact with different music, get to know various musicians, go to concerts, learn about collaborations with artists across the world, and take all of that in and continue to put out songs. And I also want her to collaborate with all sorts of artists. Like how Santana worked with Michelle Branch, my expectation is that the ones seeking Maaya Sakamoto’s voice will be not only her fans, but other artists as well.
Maaya Sakamoto’s Response
See, I told you, I’m red in the face…“Practice an instrument,” “You waste a lot of money,” etc…. But you know, for some reason I happen to go shopping on most of the days we record “I.D.”, so I’m always getting told “You wasted your money again!” by Mr. Ikeda, but I swear, it’s just a coincidence. And well, I admit it’s certainly meaningless to not practice the instrument I finally have. I’ll practice. Honest, I will! But saying I “don’t put a high priority on basic knowledge” is going too far! And those sexiness points are too low. Earlier I asked the same question to my BAY FM radio director, and I thought his answer of 30 points was really on the low end, but to think someone would actually enter a number lower than that! What part of me is everyone looking at?! And definitely, the I.D. studio has become a space where I can relax.
I’ve written about this in the “id” essay corner on this site, but to me, who’s always loved listening to the radio, being involved in the radio business is absolutely delightful. Ever since he handled my first show as a radio personality, Mr. Ikeda has always supported me. He’s someone who always interacts with me openly, and for that I feel like turning my ear sincerely to whatever he says. And now that I’ve been speaking frankly here, next time we meet he’ll be back to telling his silly jokes, and I really won’t know what to think! Hahaha!