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


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Part 10 of 15 in a series:

With the arrival of July, I imagine the rainy season will end soon. Summer’s true heat comes in the days following, when the air fills with cicada song.

I like all the pasttimes of summer—from fireworks to swimming to watermelon splitting—but I can’t bring myself to like this season. I can’t stand the heat. My mood changes to the point I don’t want to eat or do anything. But what do you know? Since last year I’ve felt that I’ve started to like summer just a little. I still dislike the hot weather, but despite the heat I’ve become a little more active.

It started with a play I performed in over last summer vacation. After spending every sweltering day in rehearsals, moving to and fro in a closed room with no A/C, I couldn’t believe how much I sweated. Normally I pass the summer in as cool a place as possible, doing things that call for as little movement as possible—the exact opposite of rehearsals. And we rehearsed every single day. This experience strengthened me a little. It was hot, but imagining myself doing battle with that heat gave me an unexpected boost.

Thanks to that training I spent last summer more actively than usual. Now summer is here once more, and while I’m partly depressed, oddly enough part of me is eager to see the season’s return. I really have changed. I get it—this is how a person’s heart changes.

Here’s how I see it. A person likes or dislikes something for actually a rather simple reason, and the reason for when those feelings change is equally simple. This is nothing to be sad over, as we all change naturally as part of growing older—it’s inescapable, I think. I suppose the important thing is to accept the person you were as well as the person you are.

Just a few days ago, I took an early trip to see the ocean. It was terribly hot that day, so hot it made you wonder what happened to the rainy season.

I had my first full day off in a long time, but after my plans to go out went up in smoke I was left to spend my vacation in a poor mood. A sudden call from a friend—“Want to go to the ocean?”—sounded like a voice from heaven.

Despite leaving right away, we hit traffic and by the time we reached the ocean the sun was just about to set. Even so, I felt the ocean I saw then was the most beautiful I had ever seen. That brief azure time between evening and night is my most favorite time of day, and looking over at my friend instilled in me a sense of fondness.

Not long ago it was unthinkable to hop in a friend’s car and head out to the ocean on a whim, but now we have not only the ability to do so, but also the time. Were we younger we wouldn’t have a driver’s license, and were we older we would have been occupied by our respective lives, and just getting together would have been tough.

Pondering this left me feeling lonely, and I wished for time to stop. But as we looked on the sky darkened and time slipped away, as if to remind us that this moment would never again return.

Sometimes things I once hated become through a change of heart things I love. I think by repeating this process, the number of things I love has increased. Of course on occasion the reverse happens, but I feel I love more and more things now than long ago. To that list I may soon add summer. In the end, changes of heart are simply a part of life for everyone.

But I wonder if what I felt by the ocean the other day will remain the same, even when I think back on it many years from now. Will I remember it even after my friends and I fall out of touch? Are there parts of me that never change? Everyone must have areas that change and areas that don’t. I suppose part of becoming older is working to balance them.


Part 10 of 15 in a series: