As a 19-years-old who is to greet "Coming-of-Age Ceremony" next month.
Rather than thinking "year 2003 has already come!" like most of us do on the New Year Day, "I'll be coming of age soon . . ." is the thought that comes to my mind vaguely, just like the coldness of winter.
I've been thinking like being 20-years-old won't be such a big deal & event for me. Probably it's because most of my friends are in their mid 20's ~ 30's and I've been working with grown-ups for a long time.
I've been reading your messages for my radio program on Coming-of-Age Day and seems like a lot of people of all ages and sexes, especially people of my age are asking this kind of question frequently: "Hikaru, what do you think 'to be a grown-up' is ? What is it ? What does it mean, 'to celebrate Coming-of-Age Day,' to you ?"
Reading them I realized I might easily give a crap answer unless I think through this question and prepare for the radio - so my brain is on full mode, thinking hard !
In America you can vote and smoke at 18; in most states you can drink at 21. On the other hand in UK you can drink at 18 and in Japan all drinking, smoking, voting and paying national annuity are at 20 . . .
Coming and going to those countries I thought when I was 16, "well, after all our bodies are fully matured around age 18~21, right ??"
Now at the age of 19, I think "in the mechanism of modern society we get to contribute to society from those ages !"
We all grow up in our mom's belly having meals free of charge and most of us are raised by others' money since we are born. Getting brought up, sometimes restrained by grown-ups around us, we are taken care by so many people after all.
In return we are giving them things like "hope," "disappointment," "happiness," "worry," etc.
And here in the mechanism of our society today it's likely "to be a grown-up" means, in simple terms, "not to be given so much stuffs by our surroundings" !
So (in this point) I think it cannot be helped the people around age 22~23 living with their parents, who just save up every cent they earn or just spend all of it on shopping or entertainment, don't feel like they are fully grown-up.
But ! even if you become independent saying like "I don't need help from anyone anymore !" I think you still need more to be called as a "grown-up."
Now here is the most important keyword - "responsibility," isn't it ?
Most people of my age wrote to me like "I think 'to be a grown-up = to be given legal freedom and responsibility at the same time,' but actually I don't feel it so much."
You see, it's easy to understand what "legal freedom" is, but as for "responsibility," even people older than me wrote little about it.
Just a few people gave some examples like "your name will be made public if you'd commit any crime."
For me "social responsibility" means . . . the consciousness that I myself have a certain influence on society, whichever it would be - good or bad ! !
I think it's it.
It's a terrific thing, you see, you may not be able to move an inch because of that consciousness.
Ever since I was 16 I've been struggling with this responsibility given before I get complete freedom.
I'll surely end up on the front page of newspapers if I'd commit any crime even I'm under age(laugh).
So I've been longing for being given the freedom to move, here in Japan, both by surroundings and law ! !
To have a strong sense of responsibility, it may be considered as too self-conscious in a sense, for it means you think you yourself owe a duty to contribute to others in any shape or form.
But now I often see the people escaping their responsibility by saying modestly like "I'm useless," "nothing will be changed if I alone do anything" or just putting off to have a sense of responsibility ! !
People whose being alive don't seem very realistic to themselves, either may not know they're giving something to others or not be aware they're contributing something to others !
Even if you're not giving others anything material, just your being alive may bring a happiness to others . . .
Maybe it's not so simple like that, but it would be great if each of us don't fear to believe just our being alive is contributing to society and something will change when we are dead; something will change when we are alive.
The morning after a rainy day, it would be so great if we could go through a whole day at school or at work with thinking, not only like "oh, it's a beautiful day, I feel happy," but also (when we get on a train) like "oh . . . someone would have cleaned up that mud on the floor at midnight . . . "
Thoughts like that will lead to better organizations, better countries and even better world, I think.
Sounds real, doesn't it ?
It's great if we can realize that while we're still young; by the time we're an adult we'll understand it . . . I suppose.
All right the year end is coming - I'm gonna take a rest for a while (^__^)
(NOTE by Nuuk)
The credit goes to Luv_Hikki who translated most of this message.
I just tweaked some sentences of her translation.
Sunday, December 29, 2002
As a 19-years-old who is to greet "Coming-of-Age Ceremony" next month.
Saturday, December 28, 2002
I invited some friends to my home and had Nabe party for this year's Christmas.
That was the first time I ate Nabe by the Christmas Tree(smile).
Furthermore, we tried to make Tori-Nabe(Chicken-Nabe) we'd wanted to for the first time - it was so delicious and we enjoyed it very much ! !
(we put even pork into Nabe(lol))
I felt like it was all the more tasty since the butcher's smile was somehow kind !
The topic of Nabe party was 'Don't you always quarrel with each other when you go to the supermarket to get stuffs for Nabe with your mate ?' and everyone agreed with this like 'It is that ! ! !'.
Yes I did(lol).
Well I'm bleary-eyed now - time to break up !
Good night - !
PS. Congrats to K-san whose 35th birthday came 2 hours and 23 minutes ago !
(NOTE by Nuuk)
"Nabe" ... a type of Japanese one-pot dish.
at 2:30 AM
Now I'm getting the messages from the people led by my 'I'll read it right away' declaration !
And here I'm writing a message again imagining 'those who are waiting for my further response in front of computer screen'(lol).
'Do you really read this?' - all right, this is okay, but what's these 'Please tell a joke to prove you really read this !' and 'Please mimic Sheena Ringo san' . . . (how can I mimic her here !)
Oh I'm getting more while I'm writing this . . . many of them are like 'I just emailed you as you said you'll read it right away . . . nothing to say actually . . . '
Hmm, it's great I could get so much emails without contents as well as my previous message of Assistant Oliver(lol).
This is cool, anyway
at 2:19 AM
I've read your whole 1000 emails which I haven't, within yesterday and today at a stretch ! ! ! ! !
What's this feeling - of achievement ! ! ! ! !
Is this feeling like the one you feel when you've eaten up extra-large-served Ramen noodles at a Ramen restaurant ? ?
Is this something like 'fights-on-my-own' ? ?
I'm the type of a person who cannot stop it once it has started, and somehow I feel like, I need more to read ! ! ! I'll do read your email right away if you email me now !
(That's all I wanted to say for now . . . )
at 1:56 AM
Thursday, December 26, 2002
I've just remembered !
I've just remembered the contents of my lost message which I thought I submitted yesterday morning but actually I didn't !
You know the glass bottle, which a tiny model ship is in ?
I wonder if that's a sort of ornament ?
A bit Western-ish one, which a dandy would place on the bookshelf in his study !
I wrote about it . . . now I remember.
I'll rewrite and upload it here soon.
Next time, for sure ! ! !
at 10:28 PM
I've just come here to my messages page and then been struck dumb at seeing that 'Hello, this is Assistant Oliver' !!
I thought like, 'Oliver ? Why are you still here ! Stop saying that "Hello" ! Where's my newest message, which I wrote yesterday morning ??'
Did I forget to click on the 'Submit' button when finished, since yesterday morning I was writing the message doing other things at the same time ??
If so I'm really stupid . . .
'Cause it was Christmas morning, you see !
It's the day we say THAT to everybody else , to our family and friends, neighbors, someone passed by and the highway tollgate staff -
- Merry Christmas ! ! ! !
Sorry for one-day delay - but the Christmas tree is still here at my home !
3-seconds rule can be applied ! (. . . can't it ?)
Hope one-day delay would be within the limit acceptable . . . see, I'm so careless like this, but I really look forward to your supports and suggestions from now on as well ! ! !
- it's getting to be like New Year Greetings(lol).
Say, have you already tried downloading my present - voice-ringtones ? (I'm sorry for those who don't have a mobile phone)
I've already done.
Is it sort of strange, Utada Hikaru downloads her own voice-ringtones ? ?
But actually I feel too shy to use them(lol).
I'm so glad even if you'd just download them, 'cause many people may feel too shy to actually use them.
I'm happy if you just install those voice-ringtones in your mobile phone !
I'm sure the staffs (contributed to set up the service) would also be quite happy !
It doesn't matter if you don't use them.
I wasn't aware I'd been so into making them - recorded them taking much more time than when I record the comments for radio; Mr. Okita(director) made various versions, making the most of technologies and machines as well as we record the songs in the studio; we burned out to study things like the proper timing and interval; did meetings over and over again just for this voice-ringtones project even though everybody had been so busy ...
... and this voice-ringtone series have finally made ! ! ! !
That is, I mean, I'm so happy if you may use them(lol).
That's all for now !
From Hikaru (who prefers the New Year to Christmas)
at 7:10 PM
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
. . . Uh maybe I thought too hard working out this title . . .
Can you guess how come I got to this 'Assistant Oliver' ?
At first I just thought of writing about Kanzou Sensei (Mr. Liver) Report which is getting to be the 'eye-catcher' (isn't it?! isn't it?!) of COLORS Special Page featured in this site now.
. . . and I considered myself something like Mr. Kanzou's Assistant.
. . . you know, Kanzou means liver . . .
. . . then am I like a Liver's child, or Liver Jr. ?
Ah yes, O'Liver ! so I'm Assistant Oliver !
I got excited about this once but writing here I found it's not interesting at ALL ! ! !
Hey, how can I settle this ! !
(Oh no, Assistant Oliver is going crazy - !)
I almost forgot what I intended to write here . . .
I bet this character would never appear again. (lol)
(NOTE by Nuuk)
"Kanzou Sensei (Mr. Liver)" ... his actual name is Hidenobu Okita(Production Director).
He loves drinking very much and wrote some columns about drinking in Utada Mag(Hikki's freepaper, 6 issues in total).
at 3:24 PM
Monday, December 09, 2002
Today - no, it's already 'yesterday' - I attended my friend's wedding ceremony !
The date changed before we knew it - the enjoyable & happy party to promise eternity was finally over and on getting outside of the second party place . . .
. . . I got surprised at the cold which stuck to my cheek and bare legs first of all.
Someone said like 'hey, it's snowing!!' but I couldn't believe it at first, then I ran down stairs, got on the street and saw a lot of large snowflakes were falling !
The snow might have come to Tokyo earlier than usual to decorate the end of the celebration night - oh you snow, you did make it so COOL
Furthermore, I noticed today is 9th of December - it's the 4th anniversary of my debut !!
Anyway I felt like the snow congratulated us on various things !
Early this year, I received so many sad news.
I heard our closest staff's parent and my friend's family passed away and so on ... the news came without a break and made me think like 'Again. Why does it come one after another ?' every time I heard another sad news.
The end of the year has come and now both the people around me and I are firing so many happy news !
I think we have had this result because each of us got over one's own drama, reflecting on oneself and made a landing with all one's might, not because we were at the mercy of fate and accident.
Looking back on this one whole year which we made every effort man could do, I suppose this is what's called 'good year' !
Oh, I really love snow.
I wonder if it was snowing when I was born ... ??
I'll ask it to my parents.
at 7:17 AM
Sunday, December 08, 2002
There's one more thing to say !
I've finished shooting pv of 'COLORS' !
We did it in two days - I look forward to the completed one all the more because I got tired out working on it !!
The director should be working hard for editing it in UK or somewhere now.
This time the director of the pv is not Kiriya.
I could eventually work with the person in UK whom I'd wanted to from long before !
Actually we were to shoot the pv of 'Hikari' with him but it didn't come true due to his scheduling conflicts at the last moment and that's why we requested Kiriya urgently to shoot that dish-washing video.
This time we requested him once again, our schedules matched pretty good and this video shooting was realized at last !
I wanna see the completed version asap --- ! !
at 5:32 AM
Well ! Here's Utada, who has announced so many things at a sitting!
You know the jacket photo of my new single has been on my site ?
The characters of my handwriting are used for it - they are all directly scanned from my strictly-confidential 'production notebook.'
The obscure characters written on the right side, they are chord progress I wrote in my notebook during composition process !!
Some people noticed it and emailed me like 'I played those by guitar but didn't get it' - I think it's hard to grasp nuance of it by guitar.
To play it by keyboard and guitar are quite different, aren't they ?
Especially when it comes to the chords of '****** in ****** part' the difference is not so important for guitar while important for keyboard.
My origin is from classic piano after all and I compose songs by keyboard, so I recommend to play that chord progress by keyboard to those who wanna know what my new song sounds like.
This time my other handwriting memos, scribbles, etc. are printed on the reverse side of CD jacket and many other places . . . I'm glad I can show you those very personal things, which I wasn't going to show anyone ! Stay focused !
I feel sleepy - after a long time !
Good night !
(NOTE by Nuuk)
Sorry but I couldn't translate "****** in ******" part properly.
at 5:23 AM
Monday, December 02, 2002
. . . Mr. Saburo Ienaga who had fought against the "textbook screening" for decades passed away.
I have just seen the news.
Although this news apparently seems not to concern me so much who had used "Japanese" textbook only among the textbooks officially approved by the Ministry of Education when I was in junior high . . . but actually I had studied his "Shin-Nihonshi"(New Japanese History) when I was in senior high !
My senior high teacher chose Mr. Saburo Ienaga's "Shin-Nihonshi" as the very last textbook though "Japanese language" class, which was the only one class went on in Japanese, mainly dealt with (Japanese) literature !
It interested me much that the book, which referred to some incidents in detail, couldn't get authorized by the Ministry of Education, and I was glad I could study Japanese history in Japanese since all the classes of Japanese history and Japanese society I had were in English until then.
But what attracted me most was the author's character, which appeared in the contents !
It's like, he often used the expression " --- deserves special mention " !
It might not be good as a textbook the book has a specific character . . . but I felt humane warmth - passion "to teach children" in it !
"History" was the only one unfavorite subject for me but that book was an exception.
I wonder how far his prayer - of never making same faults and wars again - would reach. It's the theme which becomes more and more important from now on, even if Mr. Ienaga passed away ! ! !
I think it was really good I could read it at that time !
Seems like "Shin-Nihonshi" has been published after modified so many secitons ... I think it's just okay if those who want to read it could read it, even if it's not distributed in the school !
The story about this book will continue to spread with his messages like I'm telling you right now, no matter what regulation it might have.
(NOTES by Nuuk) - some related articles
Saburo Ienaga Dies; Fought Japan's Censors (AP/Washingtonpost.com - 12/02/02)
Progressive historian Ienaga dies (The Japan Times - 12/02/02)
at 7:11 AM