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


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School Festival LIVE

Part 5 of 68 in a series:

We put on a concert November 4th at the Science and Engineering Branch of Tokyo Denki University, and November 24th at the Musashi Institute of Technology! Thank you so very much to everyone who came! We were very thankful to have both concerts filled to standing room only. I was so thrilled to be there. Thank you!!! My hareonna reputation preceded me, and we were blessed with spectacular weather on both days. Thank goodness.

School festivals are awesome, aren’t they? I feel a little bad that I haven’t taken part in any of my own school’s festivals over the last four years, but I’m glad I can make up for it by holding concerts and events at various other schools. And thinking about how few days I have left as a student makes this school festival concert even more meaningful.

This was after all the last school festival I took part in as a student myself. (Note: assuming I ignore my course credits situation and can graduate next spring, that is.) It was a pleasure to stand alongside my fellow students as they devoted themselves to planning, energizing each other, having fun, and working hard.

Students of both schools, thanks for your help! I’m deeply indebted to you. I hope that for you and those who visited it was a festival you’ll always remember.

As for me, I feel like I’ve opened another door with this concert. I think it’s a door to someplace new. Though it may not be something I can see with my eyes, it’s something truly important and valuable that I’ll certainly recall in the future when I step on the stage. I’m sure of it. I’ll never forget.

I have so many songs, so many fans who love those songs and gather to hear them, and so many people on my staff who support me whole-heartedly. Since when did I acquire such riches? That time in my life when I hated myself and didn’t trust people seems like a faded dream, and now I’m filled with a warm feeling.

And this concert has brought new trials, discoveries, and realizations, and has added to my riches yet again. So the next time we see each other in concert I’ll be powered up even more. Are you ready? I’m more than ready. I hope you’re ready for something that will blow you away!

I’d like to take some time to once again express my thanks to everyone who was involved in the concert.

First, everyone in the band for this School Festival Tour―it was unbelievably fun to work with you all!

Mr. Rio, the keyboardist/bandmaster, and I chatted for an hour and a half on the train the day the tour ended, and he also said that he really enjoyed the concert. I was so glad to hear that. Mr. Rio radiates a unique, easygoing aura, and he’s very kind.

On bass, Mr. Yamanoi, who brought his cute 8-month-old daughter to see the concert― a momentous occasion for her, as it was her first chance to see her daddy on stage.

The cool and composed Higu-don on guitar, whose double teeth give him a mischievous look when when he smiles. I call him Higu-don, but he’s actually a music school professor! He’s also super kind and dependable.

On drums, Hiroshi Yabe, who asks everyone to call him “Yabe-chin”. In this tour’s band, his was the role of trendy phrase creator. One of his creations was, “take a cracker at”. (Example usage: “You want to take a cracker at the next song?” etc.)
And the always-cute Sudopaa, who has done backing vocals for me since Tanabota 2. It was fun to chat and decide the chorus phrases together! During a break between songs we also had her sing that commercial jingle she did. Thank you, Sudopaa!

And I mustn’t forget that there was one more backing vocal at the Musashi Institute concert―my director, Yukako Inoue! I had a great time singing with you. I really felt the love. What a suspense-filled lineup of band members. Ohoho.

Now for the staff, for whom I am so very, very, VERY thankful.

First is Mr. Saikawa, the concert director. I’ve been in his care for about a year now, and there is no one who watches, analyzes, supports, encourages, and admonishes me more than he does. When I was worrying, lost, trying to pull myself together, or experimenting, his enthusiastic guidance on the stage put a smile on my face. I bet you think the concert director deals only with song order and stage effects. That’s what I thought. But Mr. Saikawa is different. He knows exactly what music means to me. He’s truly the mastermind behind the curtain.

Those of you who saw the performance―wasn’t the lighting incredible? That was the handiwork of our beloved Mr. Kodama! I’ve worked with him since Tanabota 2. Mr. Kodama is perfect for the job―his cell phone ringtone is “Mameshiba”!

Also the stage manager, roadsters, and PA announcer were all good Tanabota friends from Tanabota 2. It was a tremendously busy schedule and was a lot to ask of everyone, but I’m glad we were together. I was able to relax on stage because of their presence. I’m so proud of my staff. Everyone, don’t forget their names! They’re the best staff ever.

Ume-chan (makeup), thanks for everything! I’m also grateful for everyone on team victor, from Director Sasaki to Yuu, Shihoriina, and Yukako. And of course Nishimura and Ohta. Thank you so very much.

Lastly, Miss Yōko Kanno. I had no idea you had prepared such a surprise. Somehow I’m always the one on the receiving end! I don’t know whether to be delighted or chagrined. Thank you. But I really didn’t suspect anything. You got me!

I wrote this with a personal tone, but I hope I’ve conveyed a sense of what this concert put on by so many wonderful people was like. It warms my heart to think that every person in the band and the staff shared in the audience’s emotion and enjoyment while they went about their jobs. We truly had a lot of fun putting on this concert. I hope that’s the sense you get.

Now that the festival is over my mind is already racing ahead to ideas for the next concert. We might have to make you wait for a short time, so please hang in there. After all, there’s nothing better than singing something I haven’t done in a while―just think of the excitement of a long-awaited date, or of how a meal tastes that much better when you’re famished.

Of course you can rest assured that I won’t let you down. As long as I have my beloved band, staff, and all of you, I don’t need anything else!

Catch you later.


Part 5 of 68 in a series: