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


Monthly Newtype, May 2008 cover
Monthly Newtype, May 2008 issue, p69


illustrated by Gekidan inu curry.2

I often find myself on the receiving end of extra-special treatment at restaurants. For instance, I may visit a place for the first time, and yet for whatever reason a dessert I hadn’t ordered appears at my table, or the waitstaff lets me in on a “secret” side of the menu. There is but one cause for this treatment, and that is my singular “style” of eating. I take pride in being a woman who eats scrumptious food more scrumptiously than anyone else.

Still, though I see myself as acting normally, to another person the amount I eat and my reactions may seem a tad over the top. My gushing comments of, “I thought I was going to faint,” or, “I can die happy now,” are at times instead seen as empty flattery, but I of course utter such things only when I deeply and truly feel so. I am an unpolished person, and flattery is far beyond the reach of my nature. Instead, my nature dictates that when I am impressed, I express myself with every ounce of my being. Besides, could I possibly eat something truly delicious in silence? Impossible, say I. In fact, I even find myself questioning my fellow patrons, who, despite eating such wonderful food, wear expressions that are oddly placid.

Furthermore, I love eating in a spot where I can see the food as it is prepared. Nothing is better than a seat by the counter. Even while sitting shoulder-to-shoulder and having a lively talk with a close friend, my gaze is fixed in front of me. I do not exagerrate when I say that watching the brisk handiwork of the chef unfold before my eyes is the highest entertainment. The sight of that artistic transformation as he takes already mouth-watering ingredients and adds this and that and arranges them is quite like an illusion. And when a pleasant aroma drifts to my nostrils it is as exciting as if I were ringside at a boxing match when a well-timed jab by my favorite boxer sends his opponent’s mouthguard flying all the way to my seat.

And if I can, I want to discover the philosophy of the person behind the counter—the chef, cook, bartender, hostess, or whatever title he or she may hold. I wonder what sort of person it takes to bring such happiness to others. I wonder what kind of professional frame of mind forms the basis for his work. I want to know!! As you can tell, I am quite a bothersome customer.

But this is truly an intricate matter. The character of ingredients changes with the seasons, the customers’ wants likely change with the day’s temperature and the general mood of society, and I feel food service is the industry directly affected by the world’s ever-changing form. Beyond this it esteems tradition and keeps in tune with the slightest shifts in trends. From the perspective of “creation”, it holds much in common with my line of work, and I find it fascinating—meeting a wonderful chef is without a doubt an exceptionally delightful experience.

For these reasons I lose myself in my excitement, and as my exclamations of “Genius!” from across the counter seem not to upset the chefs, it would seem that as a result I end up getting special service. Which is not only delicious, but also lucky. I couldn’t ask for more.