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


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Seeing as it's the end of the year

Part 6 of 68 in a series:

I hope you enjoyed the specially planned, limited edition Christmas postcard I designed. Actually as a small bonus, we announced we would hold a drawing to choose three people to whom we would deliver the postcard in person, and we were astounded by the more than 1000 entries that came in!! (I announced on Radio I.D. that we had received 960, but the actual number was higher. ) Even I was floored, and I was the one who came up with the idea. It was a happy reminder of how many of you are checking the home page every day.

Incidentally, although we saw slightly more entries from girls, the split between girls and boys was about even, and what’s more, nearly all were from people my age or younger! Who knew the average age of people checking the site would be so young? We even saw entries from overseas! Anyway, thank you for sending in so much mail!!

So although the initial plan was for three people, I ended up sending a signed postcard and personal message to ten people! I imagine the cards have all arrived by now. Please don’t lose them, OK?

When accepting entries, we asked everyone to respond to the question, “What was the most ‘tanabota’ thing for you this year?”, and it was a lot of fun to read the responses! I’m so glad everyone took the time to carefully write their answers. “Tanabota” has a nuance of “a felicitous, unexpected happening” and expresses good luck rather than the outcome of one’s labors, but in your responses were many stories of treasures obtained through sweat and struggle.

Either way, we collected more than 1000 accounts of happy events from this year! As I read them I too found myself filled with happiness. Thank you.

Even though many entries weren’t chosen for a prize, it would be a shame to not introduce a few of them here! Some of you wrote, “I don’t suppose Maaya will read this (19/f),”but that’s not true! I read every single one, you know.

The most common was this:

“For the first time in my life I found someone I can value more than myself! (18/f)” “I suppose the fact I fell in love with someone…? (28/f)”

This and similar stories of romance naturally stood out. Everyone is falling in love! How wonderful! Go for it with all you’ve got!

We also had some write: “There’s a girl I’ve liked for a while, and when I asked her, ‘Wanna see a movie on the 24th?’ she said, ‘OK.’ Of course I’m going to confess my feelings to her! (17/m)” Ooh, that’s excellent. How was your Christmas date??

“I was talking with a guy I have a crush on about books I want to read, and as it turned out he was also a fan of those books, and he let me borrow them!! (19/f)” Ah, this brings back memories. The same thing happened to me too! I’m so happy for you. Don’t give up!

Along with these were stories of those who found love after heartbreak, those who were fortunate to be hugely popular this year, and those who happily tied the knot.
It looks like the whole world is falling in love. Good for you!

Just as plentiful were the messages from those who saw my concerts this year. There were also some from people who won the secret concert and concert day drawings. I was so glad they also wrote their impressions of the concerts.

We also had tanabota reports like these:

“I dialed a number in the newspaper’s jobs section, but I accidently called a company in an adjacent listing. Though I was looking for part time work I ended up with a full time job, and soon I’ll get a bonus (22/m)” Wow! Definitely tanabota! Work hard at your job, OK?

“I’m in the handbell circle at my school, and as luck would have it we’re going to perform at Disney Land on Christmas Eve! Isn’t it amazing?! (19/f)” It certainly is! How lovely! Did the performance go well?

“I succeeded in losing 15 pounds over summer!!!!! I can’t believe it! I can wear the clothes I want to. (19/f)” Hahaha. Super! Keep refining your feminine charm!

“Upon entering university I made some good friends I can look up to. I also found a girlfriend. (20/m)” “I spent time in New Zealand on homestay. I came to value meeting new people. (16/f)” Meetings are so very important. I also met a ton of new people this year.

“While wandering around a forest with a friend, we chanced upon a place with a spectacular view of the scenery! (Hokkaidō, 17/f)” Beautiful… And this is Hokkaidō, right? I’m jealous. It must have been lovely! I wish I could wander around the forests of Hokkaidō myself. I envy you!

“My little brother amazingly got married. But he’s not that good-looking… (29/m)” With men, they say it’s the inside that counts. I go for looks myself.

“I finally bought the new car of my dreams, but after just two months it was broken into! Everything was stolen, from the 10 or 20 CDs I kept in the car to even the Merlion doll a friend brought back as a souvenir from Malaysia! But! For some reason the CD deck was only taken out and not stolen, and my copy of “Hachipochi” that was inside was still there! (23/f)” “Tanabota” in the midst of misfortune. But to think that someone wanted a Merlion doll more than my “Hachipochi”!

“I plan on winning the year-end jumbo lottery. (24/f)” Yep, so do I. Let’s both put forth a valiant effort.

“I saw you at the Tanabota Concert in Ōsaka Quattro—I was in the middle of the first row, and at the end you gave me the ‘Lucy’ flag! (17/f)” Ooh, so you were the girl from that concert. That’s some spunk to come from so far away to sit in the front row! Thanks!

I also saw some who wrote, “Nothing, since I’ve been unlucky lately (15/m)” and “I wish I had something, but I don’t, Maaya :,( (26/f).” Really?! But you’ll find some tanabota next year, so hang in there!! Of course it’ll take some work on your part.

Here’s the one I was most envious of: “I went to a Pride fight and got to see Antonio Inoki slap that giant Kiyohara without warning live and up close. (22/m)” Ooooh! I watched it on tape. He really didn’t give him any warning, did he?! Do you suppose Kiyohara thought that was tanabota…?

There are still many, many more interesting messages, so many I can’t present them all, but I want to thank you for sending them! I hope this next year holds for you even more good fortune, happiness, endeavors, and wonderful encounters.

This was truly a year when many things happened. Often just one sorrowful or painful event can cause enough pain to cancel out ten happy or fun things. I think this shows to what extent sorrow can be a powerful emotion. And sorrow calls forth the burdensome emotions of anger and hatred. If I become mired in these, I sometimes forget who I am and sink into despair. Those are the times I want to live focused on as many happy memories as I can. This is what’s been on my mind lately.

Sorrow is inevitable. But so is happiness. So I’m going to accept the things I don’t like and then move on. I can’t afford to stand still and be depressed forever. No matter what lies ahead, I want to savor the happiness that is here now. I want to fix my gaze on it so I don’t lose sight of it— this happiness I already possess.

In my mind, the word “tanabota” has already eclipsed its original meaning to take on an increasingly simpler existence. It takes warm emotions like “happiness” and “joy” and bundles them into one inclusive word. This year I was able to experience much tanabota. I have faith that next year will be the same. I’ll work hard to make it that way.

Until we meet again next year,


Part 6 of 68 in a series: