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


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Cherry Blossoms

Part 7 of 15 in a series:

It’s often said that under the roots of cherry trees lie the bones of people. The trees possess extraordinary beauty, don’t they? I certainly think so. Cherry trees are exceptional plants—I feel something about them definitely sets them apart from other trees. I took time this year to walk under them during full bloom.

Something tremendously beautiful often evokes a sense of eeriness, sadness, or transience. I’m sure this sensation prompted Ango Sakaguchi to write those words. But there are other, similar sensations.

I wonder if the expressions, “Afraid of being too happy,” or, “The fairest flowers soonest fade,” come from this sensation. That which is too beautiful (makes you feel as if it) carries a seemingly contradictory quality.

Questioning whether this holds true in life is useless—the feeling simply suggests itself to the observer’s heart. I truly think cherry blossoms have the power to elicit this feeling. I’m overwhelmed by the intensity with which these flowers bloom.

According to a story I heard somewhere, a flower knows how long it will live. Of the various flowers that fall and end their lives at their peak, cherry blossoms serve as the prime example. Cherry blossoms at their peak fashion a transient, beautiful, showy, and impactful end for themselves. Why this is so I can’t say.

What exactly is this power they possess? The words escape me, but I’m convinced of the specialness of cherry trees.

I often think that I might die early. Not because I’m pretty, but because I’m lucky. My luck right now is good, and my life full of happiness. To have such good luck in the opening stage of my life makes me feel as if I will soon run out. So I must live as if that would be perfectly fine.

Death, no matter when or whom it visits, is not the least bit unusual. One could even say that living is more unusual. After all, is not one’s very existence the intersection of countless coincidences? Compared to those chances, I imagine the chances of dying tomorrow are certainly higher.

When I considered this, I realized I have to carve away my life through singing and acting. The result may be poor, but as long as it’s my best effort, I have to go with it. My time in bloom is critical, and nothing is more important than that.

Whether or not a cherry blossom has this in mind when it blooms, its way of life is striking. Including the time spent dormant or its life’s end. I envy them. I have a special place in my heart for them when spring comes —these flowers that bloom when I’ve forgotten the value of living.

My tone has drifted toward the sentimental, but perhaps this is merely due to that suggestive power of cherry trees.

Anyway, I spent time seriously thinking about what would happen if I suddenly died now. In other words, my funeral and things like that. First, I don’t want chrysanthemums. Let’s change those to tulips. For music, put on a Beatles record. Then the only problem is my bones. Regardless of whether my parents would purchase a new grave for me, waiting there alone for someone to stop by is just too lonely, so I’d rather be secretly scattered somewhere, like on the ocean. Or perhaps I’ll really have my bones buried under a cherry tree. I promise I won’t become a ghost and haunt people. At any rate, a grave is out. This way I can be eaten by those I love and become their calcium.


Part 7 of 15 in a series: