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


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Valentine’s Day

Part 4 of 15 in a series:

From junior high through my second year of high school, there was a boy I secretly had a crush on. Although we went to different schools we were good friends, and I admired him for his athletic and scholastic talents. My crush on him lasted for five years, but only once did I give him Valentine’s Day chocolate. It was in my second year of junior high.

In junior high I more or less stopped watching television, and instead relied on the radio for news and information. We had just built a small radio in technology class, and I listened to that handmade radio all the time. I kept it tuned to j-wave and inter FM. I started to like Western music around this time. On that particular Valentine’s Day I was listening to the radio in the kitchen while I made chocolate. I didn’t really “make” chocolate―I only melted and remolded it―but this mundane process was no small task for me. I’ve always been clumsy, and I don’t like cooking, so I was quite surprised to find myself in the kitchen of my own volition.

My strategy was as follows.

Rather than giving chocolate only to him, I would give some to my friends as well. That way no one would know how I felt about him. His chocolate would look just like my friends’ chocolates on the outside, but the contents were special! I hoped no one would notice. Besides, it wasn’t as if I was giving him chocolate to tell him I liked him. It was more for satisfying myself.

Love songs flowed from the radio as the DJ read listener faxes of Valentine’s Day stories. As I listened I thought about what to write on the card for his chocolate. I didn’t need to confess my feelings outright, but I still wanted to write a few words. I ended up writing, “Thanks for everything. By the way, this isn’t ‘friend’ chocolate.” It makes me laugh to think about it now. I can only pray he threw away that card. But I wonder what he thought about that message when he was 14. He never brought it up later on.

In any case, I successfully carried out my plan. It was ineptly made chocolate that probably didn’t taste good and wasn’t even worth giving, but at the time I thought it was superb. On White Day he gave me some kind of candy you could find at any convenience store. I couldn’t bring myself to eat it, so I saved it for years in a drawer. I decided to throw it away when we moved in my second year of high school.

After graduating from junior high I wasn’t able to see him anymore. I have no idea how to reach him now. But in the winter of my first year in high school we happened to meet once on the train. Even though we had been good friends and we hadn’t seen each other in a while, I got off the train as quickly as I could without even saying hello. For a long time I regretted not speaking to him, but oddly enough as the years passed I began to look back on that time fondly. That chance meeting on the train made its way into the lyrics I wrote for my first album, “Grapefruit”.

Whenever I remember that crush I also remember that small radio. For some reason, I ended up losing it somewhere. It’s strange to think that you can lose something you keep in your home, but I never found it. I can’t imagine my daily life without radio. That tiny radio I made in school made me fall in love with radio. I may never see it again, but it’s a valuable treasure that symbolizes my memories of music and the first time I seriously fell in love with a boy. I wonder how he’s doing these days, or if he quit playing basketball. I may have someone more dear to me now, but I can’t help thinking of him every Valentine’s Day.


Part 4 of 15 in a series: