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


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How to Enjoy the Cage

Part 2 of 68 in a series:

I’ve had something on my mind recently.

I think this applies to everything: Those times when you are limited, when you are told, “These are the only materials available,” or, “These are the only tools you can use,” are the times when the finished product’s form is truly fascinating in its unpredictableness, and so spectacular it makes you think no other result was possible.

At first you complain that it’s hopeless, that you can’t make anything inside these limitations. You’re about to give up. But you press on and see what you can do. You forge a resolve not to throw something together with what’s available, but to create something outstanding. And as you work, those restrictions magically have a fascinating effect. Within that prescribed framework, you conjure up new ideas that had never before entered your mind. For example, you think of ways to make a cramped area seem spacious, or how you can accomplish more in a limited time, and along the way ingenuity is born, your imagination flourishes, your mind brings all its faculties to bear, and you find the ability to make something you couldn’t have made before. Have you ever experienced this?

For instance, in writing—a large part of my job—words are the main limitation. I wish I could write more freely, so I could create something better and convey more of what I want to say. When I write lyrics to fit a song, I sometimes wish for an extra chorus. But it’s not there. Because it’s not there, I search for the best, most wonderful way to make up for it. In my search I trim wordy passages and try to somehow squeeze my overflowing feelings into the song. Repeated trial and error eventually leads to discoveries or new paths. The next thing I know, I’ve come up with something rather good. I’ve arrived at a place I wouldn’t have reached were it not for those limitations.

Freedom is obviously a good thing—freedom unleashes me to soar as I please. Naturally there are moments when this is true, but that’s not the only side of the story. Even supposing I was locked in a dreary cage by someone, I’d find out a way to enjoy that confining world to its fullest. Like a quiz game.

This is the world of “Easy Listening”. Hog Productions locked me in a cage. Inside this cage they led me to was a mirror that reflected a side of me I had never seen.

No matter where I go or what I do, I can only be myself. But this is the inside of a cage. A world made in an unimaginable shape, a world all my own. So I thought. I thought, pondered, rested, felt, and in the utter unpredictability, with a joy learned from knowing dreariness, I found it: how to enjoy the cage.


Part 2 of 68 in a series: