I wanted to make something that would commemorate my 15th anniversary and 30th birthday. I wanted to fill it with things that would surpass the definition of a concert pamphlet and let everyone share in the path I have taken up to today. These were my feelings as I began this project. The “0331 Daily Maaya Sakamoto”, over the course of a little more than seven months, came from the work of my hands and the hands of my merry staff in a fashion as close to handmade as imaginable, and having received from the start kind favors from creators with whom I share deep bonds, today we are at last able to present to you here the inaugural issue.
And in accordance with the word “Daily” in this magazine’s title, upon the release of this inaugural issue, publication will cease. I am sincerely grateful to you who have purchased this volume. I would be most pleased if this first and last issue would become something you treasure and enjoy for many years.
Today’s one-night concert comes with a one-issue magazine.
I would like to spend time once more reflecting on the fact that March 31st, 2010, is a special day that will never come twice.
This day is apparently the 10,958th day since I entered this world. To celebrate my 30th birthday in such a lively manner and hear happy birthday wishes from so many fills me with happiness. It is an extravagant, glamorous, and special day. Yet, though I write with heartfelt thanks for your kind congratulations, when I ask myself if tomorrow, the 10,959th day since my birth, is not as special as today, I cannot imagine that this is so. Yesterday, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and next week—on any day of the week or month I am undoubtedly living in a special day that will only come once in my life. I realized that this series is what we call “daily life”.
Therefore, throughout the 10,958 days since I was born, every day I have lived a special day. But among those days, there were times with neither change nor discovery, when I simply seemed to pass the time aimlessly. Days that were the worst ever, weeks when nothing went my way—I felt this way many times. At times I would complain about the lack of good things in my life. But unfortunately, finding that happiness in the midst of a plain, average, unremarkable day is a difficult task. I carelessly forget that right now, this moment is a priceless time that I will never again have. Perhaps this is why people, so they can recall every once in a while the happiness that exists nearby, create various anniversaries, exchange gifts, and write messages on cards.
I imagine feeling as though especially wonderful things are not here, but somewhere else, or that they only happen to other people, is something everyone can relate to. Our dreams always turn to the world beyond us. If I were more attractive, if I were more talented, if I were like that person… I doubt there is a person alive who has not once said something like this. In these last 30 years, I lived while carrying an incredible burden of such feelings. I constantly fretted over what I should do to love myself more. All despite being blessed with such excellent companions and having the support of so many fans. I was mystified by myself for feeling this way in the midst of such good fortune, and there was always a sense of fear and inferiority from which I could not escape. Even today, it is not something I am able to completely conquer, but I have a feeling the many events of this past year or so have, in no small way, been of crucial significance, and have led me to the next landscape on my journey. My “Windreader” album and tour, and my five-week trip alone through Europe—the things I found in this string of events are written into the song entitled “everywhere”.
I realized that ironically, it is possible to go from the wish to love yourself more to rejecting yourself. When you chase solely after external ideals, your internal instincts are quietly damaged. All while quietly resisting your own self, which cannot accept things as they are.
I am sure people are born to be loved by themselves more than anyone else. Yet I have done nothing but hurt myself, and I felt moved to apologize for this as tears unexpectedly started to fall from my eyes—something that happened while I was alone on the train from Venice to Rome. After escaping from my usual life and traveling over 10,000 kilometers, the thing I found was a treasure that had always been within me.
From here, I believe I will spend my days as I make accepting and trusting in myself my life’s theme. I feel that my life is one of losing sight of this and finding it again, of repeating this cycle as I inch forward. Having lived 30 years, having sung for 15, I have a sense that finally, a bud has appeared. I plan to water it every day as I anxiously wait to find out what color of flower will bloom.
Now then, in closing I would like to once more express my gratitude to all those who were involved with this magazine.
To the creators who presented me with warm, heartfelt, amazing gifts: I am truly thankful. I was moved to tears to experience your feelings of love.
As I wanted to bring out the atmosphere of a magazine for this project, we included pages with an advertising flair. Owing to the generous participation of staff from productions in which I have been recently involved, we managed an extravagant array of pages. Among them are advertisements specially designed just for this magazine! I was extremely delighted by this.
Also, to the staff who listened to my unreasonable wish to produce a magazine filled to bursting and who made it come true: thank you. Thank you for your many ideas. Thank you for enjoying this with me. Hioki, who designed every page, also did the design work for the “everywhere” album and all of the concert merchandise. I apologize for making you work so hard—I’m very grateful. Honda, who supported me as an editor, Takanami, who designed the “Sakamoto Maaya Museum”, the staff at my agency, everyone at Flying Dog, and many others besides all helped me tremendously. Thank you.
To the concert band and staff as well:
Thank you so very much! I love you. I’m happy I met you. You’re the best. There’s something to be said for a one-night-only festival, but next time I’d love to go on a really long tour with all of you!
To the readers, and to anyone who, even if it was just once, has felt something when listening to Maaya Sakamoto’s music: thank you. I cannot find any words beyond “thank you”. Thank you for being there for me.
I have nothing else of which I can particularly boast, but I take pride in my life, during which I have been continually blessed to meet wonderful people. To my father and mother, who gave me such a talent (Gift) when they brought me into this world: thank you.
With so many things to be thankful for, I wonder how I am supposed to repay these favors.
And so, dear readers, I wish your tomorrow, as today, to be a special day.
March 31, 2010
Opening “everywhere” Photo Collection
Ever since it came to be that I would release a best-hits album, I had my heart set on having the cover photos taken by Orie Ichihashi. Seeing her photos always reminds me of how beautiful is this world—this bright, serene, simple world. I’ve collaborated with Ms. Ichihashi several times on the fan club calendars and such, and I had very much wanted to work with her on a musical project as well. My wish came true. Come to think of it, her latest photo collection also happens to be entitled “Gift”, so I feel a sense of connection there. Incidentally, though her photos speak for themselves, Ms. Ichihashi herself is also wonderful. At every photo shoot I think to myself, If Ms. Ichihashi were a guy I’d definitely fall in love with her. Though I can’t write much here, she has a commanding presence and an ever-present smile. As a fellow woman from the same generation, she is someone I admire.
Yōko Kanno. My producer for the first nine years after my debut, that she poured her talents into my music is known to all, but she actually was the woman behind the camera for many cover art photos, to include “Hachipochi”, “Nikopachi”, “A Boy Named Alice”, “Easy Listening”, and “Mameshiba”. This time around we went for photos that couldn’t possibly be taken if she were not the one taking them, and this is how it turned out. They’re exactly the kind of pictures you’d think a boyfriend would take, with their close angle and hint of sensationalism, yet they are filled with a sense of bliss. Everything, from our discussions to the time spent planning how bring out this aura, was incredibly fun. My makeup artist, stylist, and everyone on my staff are all girls, and so the photo shoot was like an after-school club meeting at a girls’ high school. The theme I imagined of extracting those momentary sparkles found in the midst of everyday life became reality in the photos you see here. Ms. Kanno, who had been away from the camera for some time, appeared to be especially enjoying this collaboration. “Oh, that’s it—beautiful!”; “Perfect!”; “Right there, that’s the look!”—together with lines befitting a centerfold photographer from the bubble era, she hardly ever stopped pressing the shutter. And when she saw the finished photos, she declared, “You have to admit, I’m a genius.”
Hiroshi Ichikura’s “Catcher on the Space Road”
To have Hiroshi Ichikura, who is my most respected artist of the written word, pen an original short story just for today’s concert and in celebration of my 15th anniversary was an incredibly extravagant present. I am truly, very, immensely happy. My feelings are perhaps similar to those of a girl who receives a bouquet of roses and a signature personally written to her from her favorite movie star. In the world woven by Mr. Ichikura’s words there lives a boy who never grows up—and though linked to the universe, he lives his everyday life just as he should. Such is how it is in “Astronaut’s Song”, “Tail Song”, “Little Folk”, and the other lyrics he has written for me, and in my work I have had many opportunities to recite his creations. When I encounter his words, they always fill me with the same kind of warm feeling as falling in love.
A Grown-up Talk with CLAMP
With CLAMP, I had the pleasure of an invaluable time of conversation while sharing a dinner of such luxury as would be appropriate for Cinderella on her way to becoming a princess. And frankly, they paid for everything! Besides, they said it was in celebration of my anniversary!! Presented with my first-ever Dom Pérignon, I carelessly drank too much and ended up unable to stand on my own, and the night closed with me holding on to the ladies from CLAMP for support as we left the four-star restaurant—an unheard-of blunder that marked Maaya Sakamoto’s 29th winter. It ended up being the final unforgettable memory of my 20s. Thank you so much. And beyond this, to receive an illustration drawn especially for me…. Amazingly, the edges of the reverse side were decorated with CLAMP’s signatures, and I was truly honored to receive such a priceless treasure as this.
Sakamoto Maaya Museum
In these last 15 years, the eight-centimeter CD has disappeared, managing photos and recordings as data has become commonplace, and many things in the world have changed. Along the way, I changed agencies, and the label I belong to changed names. Once a high school girl, I am now 30. Having lived through this many years, here and there are places in my and my staff’s memories that are fuzzy. Which is why assembling materials from long ago was a more arduous task than imagined, and after extensive searching and rummaging through storerooms at my label, boxes at my agency, and even the darkest recesses of my closets at home, we pulled out things from every corner and finally gathered them into the form you see here.
But as I dusted off each of these fragments of fond memories and gazed upon them, I recalled many things I had forgotten. I also found the answers to many mysteries I couldn’t solve until now. For me, these events, which will play an important part in my future, could not have happened at a better time.