Celebrating the release of “Mameshiba”! Have you listened to it yet?? This single will be my last release of the 20th century. Yōko Kanno took the jacket photo in London―that carefree, “Just look at this blue sky!” kind of look shows exactly how I feel now!
I think that more than anything a blue sky goes best with my world, which started to revolve in a huge way with the TANABOTA LIVE 1 concert. Even if that sky is obscured by rain or clouds, its light will never fail to shine down on me. This world full of fortune and created from super-positive thinking― that’s where I am now, caught up in the excitement of life.
No one can stop me.
2000 was a big year for me. Naturally I look back on every year as a big year for me, but I think this past year was the biggest of them all. Everything, from the milestone of turning twenty, to the fresh atmosphere I tasted at my first concert, to the invigorating events of my overseas trip, brought with it an abundant return.
There may be some who say I’ve changed. Thinking back on my debut at the age of sixteen, I see that I have indeed changed in certain respects. If I have realized one thing by turning twenty, it’s the degree to which my time as a teenager was special. It was a highly sensitive time when I could absorb anything and turn it into my own strength. I had a tenuous and unstable existence, but that’s why I had a lithe body no one could pin down. It was a critical period when, like everyone else, I had to change and establish myself at the same time.
With each passing year―no, with each passing day―I changed. I think it’s wonderful that I was able to distill each moment of my teens into song. Now, having arrived in my twenties, I see myself more and more striding along the continuation of that path. At unstoppable speed. But I feel as if what differs from before is the “quality” of those changes. They collide with issues and situations that are more realistic, require greater responsibility, and are more severe, and so the substance of each change deepens. I am being tested by the world.
The breakwater that protects me is far shorter than it once was. The more I try to reach my dreams, the more I try to obtain what I want, the higher the waves rise. This year I think I stood up to those waves. I take pride in having fought to endure frustrations, troubles, pain, and hardship with this body. But that suffering always returned as many times more joy later on. It helped me grow. I sense that this is how I could take hold of things firmly with my own hands.
I realized I am the only one who can guide myself to my dreams― that I have to act, and my dreams won’t come to meet me. No, I might have understood this a long time ago. Yet for some reason I couldn’t translate it into action. What was the source of my intimidation? Only now can I look back and venture that it was a product of that particular stage in my life.
In any event, the fact that I have these feet, this mouth, and this brain, and the fact that they act according to my wishes, is something I finally became aware of just this year. More than anything else, 2000 was a year when I managed to cultivate myself as I passed through a multitude of difficult and happy times. I put on some muscle, and it looks like I’m a little stronger mentally. I hope to continue to polish that strength and make it my ally for living true to myself in the 21st century.
Staying the same is boring. There’s still too much in me I don’t yet know. I ask that you keep watch over me as everything beyond the immutable core of my DNA undergoes transformation.
I have but one name. I must go on with this name.
I have but one body. I must go on with this body.
No matter what happens, no one can substitute for me.
Play. Search. Worry. Feel. Laugh. Sing. There are so many things only I can do. That’s why this is my life. It belongs to no one else, and it exists for no one else.
That’s how everyone strives to live.
But by no means am I alone―there is always someone to support me.
In this earth made of the beautiful things that envelop us, the wonderful miracles that guard us, and the cherished people who surround us, this is our generation. The generation that starts now will certainly be even more amazing.
It’s the 21st century. Maaya Sakamoto is just getting started.
From here on out my twenties really begin.
I’m going to live them with every sense totally engaged.