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


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22 Years Old in 2002

Part 11 of 68 in a series:

I spent my 22nd birthday in the Victor studios. I was there for recording.

Much to my surprise everyone in the studio had prepared a cake, and it ended up being a delightful birthday!

Afterward everyone gave me a variety of presents. Mr. Yabu, one of our engineers, and his wife gave me a mini bonsai set. Our department manager gave me a mini pink guitar. And Tim improvised a song for me right there on that very guitar. Tim also said he would paint a picture for me later! Isn’t that great? I can’t wait to see it. And just so you know, the present I got from Yōko Kanno, my director, is a secret!

Every year I feel like my birthday stands out as a special day. There are many who care nothing for their own birthdays, but to me March 31 is more profound and meaningful than any other date on the calendar. It somehow feels different from the moment I wake. When I go out, my mood is as if I were the only one treated specially for the day. It’s as if my mindset is that of a princess.

However, I suppose as the years add up, it becomes harder for anyone to be unreservedly joyful over being born into this world. That’s how it is for me. When I was little, merely seeing an extra candle on my cake each year was enough to make me ecstatic. But as the years came and went I met with sadness, embarrassment, and the realization that I had been living at the expense of others.

I’m smart enough to know that this is nothing more than complacency on my part. Yet I constantly feel that I have a terribly helpless, immature existence full of flaws. That much is undeniable. Even so, I owe those around me for helping me get this far. The most important thing in life is above all to never forget about the people who support you. To put it this way may come off as suave, but that’s not the case at all. Were I to lose sight of this gratitude, I would surely be left with nothing.

I have been blessed with wonderful friends, staff, family, and good advisers, as well as people who compassionately deliberate with me over any issue. There are those who shepherd me with their rigor, those who interpret my feelings without hearing a single word from me, and those who assist me in ways no one sees. I’m also supported by all of you who enjoy my music. This is my treasure. This is my prized possession which has no substitute.

I guess for 22 years this is how I’ve lived. I’ve been reminded of this lately. Birthdays are good occasions to reexamine such thoughts. I’m not alone in life. I musn’t say that no one else understands. If I just calm myself and take a look around, I can find someone who returns my gaze. Undertaking everything with a sincere diligence is how I can show gratitude to these people who deserve my thanks.

I’m starting to sound rather lofty. But I suppose it’s okay to talk like this once a year, right? In any case, I can’t normally say this, so I’m saying it here: All of you who are so dear to me, thank you so much.

I’m still a child. Despite being 22, I feel frustrated that I have yet to finish growing up. I hope that eventually I can be the one who supports others.


Part 11 of 68 in a series: