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


IDS! Newsletter #20
IDS! Newsletter #20

Essay #14: Ways of Feeling Happiness

Theme from Yumipin., member #01535

“Idling Stop!” has celebrated its fifth anniversary. This year we’ve presented an anniversary special in every issue of the newsletter. It’s given me a chance to look back again at what has gone on up to today, and I’ve personally found it very fascinating.

For everyone who has been a member from five years ago, thank you for staying for so long. For everyone who joined recently, welcome to IDS! In the midst of this world so full of people, this is a small community where everyone has the common status of being an IDS! member. I’ll do my best so you can continue to enjoy your time here, so I appreciate your support.

For the very first newsletter, Issue #0, I personally signed each and every copy. It came out just as I was in the middle of a stay in Fukuoka for the performances of “Les Misérables”. In between appearing on stage every day I would sign newsletters, but even so it took quite some time and I spent several days signing. At the time I really had no idea this many people would join and I it made me very happy, but I remember feeling pressured by the thought of whether I could live up to everyone’s high expectations. But after that I also clearly remember that when I sang while looking out across the audience at the first fan club event, the pressure I felt changed into a source of energy, and the warm feelings I sensed from everyone left me overwhelmed.

Ever since then, fan club events have always been something like a source of a happiness that gives me tremendous strength. My timidness means I still feel uneasy before every start, and I push myself to show my best side and give everything I have so everyone has a good time, but once I step onto the stage I’m the one who draws a lot of energy from everyone else, and I feel a strength much greater than what I alone have well up in me. It is a moment when I can feel all over again that I’m not alone and I feel in the bottom of my heart how great it is to have a fan club and how happy I am to have everyone there for me.

Next January marks the start of my first tour in some time. A huge number of you have applied for the advance ticket reservations set aside for this fan club. Thank you! I’m looking forward to seeing you at the concerts.

Truth be told, despite my love for singing and creative expression, I have long been terribly uncomfortable with being in front of people. This discomfort has not gone away today, and I have a feeling that the day will never come when I “get used to” the idea of putting myself out in front of others. But through the repetitions of fan club events these past several years, embracing even the not-so-polished side of me and throwing myself with my imperfections into things head-on has little by little changed the attitude of reluctance I have held for so many years. To every one of my fans and staff, who accept my desperate fight: thanks to you I’ve been able to experience countless moments when I felt enjoyment deep in my heart, and from you I’ve learned the fun and wonder of concerts. Everyone’s faces, applause, and voices as you sing with me grant me indescribable courage. It helps me realize deep down how music, words, and people’s emotions carry amazing power. This upcoming hall tour is my first in some time and I imagine before it starts I will feel uneasy and nervous, but remembering that so many IDS! members are there will probably be a boost to my spirits. I ask that you please lend your strength to me, unreliable though I am. And let’s share in a time of happiness together!

And with this message of determination toward the concert and of thanks for five years of IDS!, I chose this as the last essay theme of this year. Everyone has their own way of feeling happiness. When you are overflowing with energy, you reach out to bring more and more into your grasp. By contrast, when you are feeling a little down or when things don’t go well, you realize that very small things can actually bring tremendous happiness, and I imagine you hold tight to the ordinary happiness in your hands as though it were a special treasure. There may not be anyone who can say “I’m always happy!” I too have times when I feel discouraged or lose sight of happiness. But I’d like to never forget that I myself am the one who decides the significance and value of happiness.

Looking back, this year was truly one with a multitude of experiences, full from start to finish, and with severe ups and downs. I wonder what next year will bring. I can hardly wait. Bring it on! I’m going to find my own happiness!

Happy new year.