January 2005
Interview with Sakurai Atsushi
Translation: Lola

"Sakurai Atsushi", the man.

What kind of childhood did you have?
Well...the first thing that comes to mind is to say I had a violent one. Because of my father. For as long as I can remember, he was violent. Mostly due to that I was introverted, fairly reticent and really was a child hidden in my own world.

You were a sensitive child.
Yes I was. But I thought I shouldn't be that way. I wanted to be good and behave well but I was a kid, I wasn't perfect. All I could do was be frightened. Really. One of the things I remember most is even being afraid when he was sleeping. Because...if I made any noise to wake him, he would get angry. I used to walk on tiptoe down the hallway. I would try to close the sliding doors quietly but they would scrape along the floor and end up waking him. Then he'd say things like, "What are you creeping around like a ghost for?" and then the violence would begin again. I hated it. I think my trying to be unnoticed when I was young was my way of trying to survive. When I remember that, I think it was probably instinctual. father worked as a construction worker nearby. He always had a violent disposition. Anyway, then when he drank, he would be completely unreasonable and turn against my mother in ways that were just...unthinkable. There was no reason behind his actions. Something as simple as having a meal together...sitting together as a family was something that didn't happen. Instead my father would throw his rice bowl. I wanted it to just be over with. Like during a typhoon, when my father raged I'd repeat to myself "hurry up and be done, hurry up and be done". That's the world I was in as a child. It was a world with violence at its core, and I hid in it. ...well, these things influenced my character but I don't really want to say that it's all my family's fault. ...gradually as I got older, my fear was for my mother, I didn't want to see her hurt...that's what I feared the most. I wanted to be a good person for her and I imagine that influenced me too.

Um...Sakurai-san, people who work with you are always saying how amazingly gentle and kind you are *smiles*.

I certainly think what you said is a part of it. People don't want to upset their parents, but it influences more than that. How can I put it? For instance, wanting to be a good person can also influence how you behave when you first meet someone. You put your best self forward don't you?
No, well I do yes but I've been that way and done that since I was little. Like not wanting to upset people. Of course if you upset someone it's not a good feeling. So naturally I want to avoid hurting people's feelings but I mean, I've always thought that.

But perhaps now that you're an adult you know how to apply all those lessons. You steadily amassed valuable lessons when you were a child and then...when you were older you were finally able to understand them. You still take these lessons to heart don't you?
Yes I do...I'm the type to always remember and keep the lessons I've learned. That's not really something to rebel against though. So anyway where was I? School life had begun with school. Somehow or other I didn't stand out. I was just isolated and alone but I was used to that. I was good at being alone *smiles*. It didn't matter to people if I was there or not. My teacher constantly wrote on the notice board that I was uncooperative and broody because I wouldn't participate in group activities.

That's certainly a big change from being the front man on stage isn't it? Really it's quite the transformation to go from one extreme to the next, there must have been several phases and steps involved that lead to it. How did it come about? was a big change. Starting from...junior high and high school I fell in with a bad crowd and was labelled a delinquent.

Did they call you a Yankee (1)*laughs*?
They didn't call me a Yankee but they did call me a hooligan. *chuckles* ...well not that there's much of a difference. I would do bad things but I could never carry them through to the end. So then of course they'd say..."You're just a spoiled brat, you can't do anything! Loser!". So you see I wasn't good at being bad. As for friends, I didn't really have any in high school. The ones I did have didn't go to school. Those guys...were already in trouble with the police, well I was too back then. Because of that of course...well, it sounds like the same old story I guess doesn't it. Boy goes bad, mother is devastated. It seems so typical. She cried. She cried not only because of how things were at home, she cried because of me. When I saw that, I knew I couldn't hang out with that gang anymore, I was determined to no longer do bad things. But I had nothing to aspire to, I wasn't serious about anything. I didn't have faith in myself. I didn't even know what to do.

You didn't have any idea of what you wanted to do in the future?
Whenever someone would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up I'd answer 'a salary man (2)' because that's all I knew. I didn't have any big dreams for the future as a boy. I wasn't proud of the fact but when I say it it sounds like I'm boasting about my unhappiness. But really, I longed for the ordinary and common life of a salary man. When I'd go to a salary man's house with friends I was envious. Truly. When we had a day off they could invite their friends over, occasionally I'd be invited for supper and their fathers would welcome me. But I hated Saturdays. Everyone else would go home...and I'd just grimace and think, here we go again. I kept wishing for strength and thought that one day, one day I'd escape all this. So of course I just wanted Saturdays to hurry up and be over. Then gradually...I thought I would stop getting into trouble in high school. When I did get in trouble older brother was angry and told me, "Asshole! You're making mom upset!". Then he grabbed me by the hair and dragged me to the barber shop. He told the barber, "Shave this brat's head". After that, even though my brother went to a different school, *smiles* he'd take me to mine and say, "Go to school". So I went and apologized to my teacher. From that point on, my sole purpose in going to school was just to graduate.

So just because your brother behaved that way you were responsible? Or is there more to it than that?
That...was once again because of my mother. When I was in junior high, I was a bit of a smart ass and I wouldn't want to visit relatives with my mom because then I'd have to pretend to be nice and behave *smiles*. I found it embarrassing. So I would act like a spoiled brat and say I didn't want to go. That is what spawned the feud between my brother and I, we would get into huge fights and he'd beat me up. Since...I was fourteen or fifteen until my brother married, for almost ten years, we didn't speak. Naturally, this was another complex of mine I had to deal with. Really, I just shut myself in my shell again after that and...sulked. I was so pouty, I'd really sulk and sulk *smiles*. So because of that, really, the only person I'd speak to on occasion was my mother.

But in regards to your you grew up you must have noticed that his abuse was a sign of his true weakness as a human being. After that something brakes inside you and you can begin to heal.
Yeah. Of course...when I did bad things in senior high, he'd burn me with his cigarette and hit me until my face was swollen but I still went to school like that. ...when I think about it now, I wanted someone to love me. Really. It was nothing but anger and violence around me. It was crazy, but I just wanted love. That also played a part. Because I was so afraid of my father's terrible violence. But gradually...I would see him more and more drunk and sprawled on the floor making gagging sounds. When I saw that I'd think things like, "I wonder if he hits me now...if it's because he has given up as a parent or given up as a human being?". Even when he was admitted to the hospital he asked for us to bring him alcohol. So then I thought that, ah he wants to kill himself with alcohol. And then one day he drank too much, collapsed and...he died.

How old were you then?
I was eighteen. He drank himself to death because he had given up. My mother sobbed. I thought that this is what being a couple is like...but I wondered if it was wrong. Yet I couldn't see how to be different., in the end I was like him. Like my father.

You thought that?

Hm...when I listen to your story I can see how you'd think that at times.
*chuckles* I wasn't just lonely...I was so pouty and sulky you know.

While that may anger some people, they'll also hold you because of it and coddle you right?
Yeah. I wasn't going to word it that way but it seems that way. So at the time I even decided that I would turn a new leaf. I went to work diligently and was serious about it. I was incredibly happy. When I'd come home from work my mother would say, "Welcome home!" in a bright loud voice, she was really happy too then. But of course that happiness could not continue forever.

When did you start to think you were like your father?
When I was in senior high I think. I didn't want to do anything...I was in the band by then, while I worked in Gunma sometimes I'd go to Tokyo or do lives in the rural areas around it. I felt like I wanted someone good to cling to. But I wasn't even enthusiastic about that. I was resigned because if I went to Tokyo, then my mother would be sad and alone. Hm...well that was only half of it. I also didn't have any friends. This new me was going in the same circles as the old me, I was still bad at everything. I even drove to work alone in my car because it meant more free time to myself that I don't have to interact with people in. Because I didn't want to meet people I'd work the night shift. I'd work all night and then inevitably, the few friends I did have I didn't get to see as time dragged was from that point that I began drinking.

Didn't that happen because you were having trouble dealing with things? It seems like a defence mechanism...
That's also why I hated promises. From around that time. Whenever we were supposed to go on a trip, I'd be all tense before we even left. That way, if he broke his promise I'd be prepared.

You thought he'd break it from the start.
Yes. So since I thought that from the outset, I'd tell myself that it was better to never do anything in the end. It was always that way. For school field trips or picnics, I'd tell myself that they were never any fun anyway. I'd say things like, "They're boring anyway, every festival is the same and I'd just want it to hurry up and be over". So, when I finished work alone and came home at dawn, that was when I'd hit the Shochu(3). I'd guzzle it down. Everyday I would drink, then throw up, drink then throw up. ...until I developed a very strong tolerance *smiles*.

And now you're an experienced drinker *smiles*. Perhaps you a means of escape?
I did drink to escape but who doesn't?

So it wasn't because you liked the taste?
Not at all.

Did you have a moment of panic when you realized that yes not only are you acting like your father but you were throwing away your life in the same manner?
I did, yes. When my mother found me drunk toward morning and sprawled in the same fashion she said, "You're just like your father" and I got so angry. I said something like, "Don't you dare compare me to him!!".

She hit a nerve.
She knew what to say *smiles*. She really Then because she had hurt me...even though it was just a little...I pushed her. So then I once again got into a huge fight with my brother. "What the hell are you doing! And you say you're not like him!". That's what he said to me. And so once again I withdrew into my shell. I wondered if I really was like my dad. I was spoiled. A spoiled coward. I knew I had to change my situation and myself. So that I could return triumphant.

This is where your story ties in with music, it seems pretty simple perhaps but actually, the resulting change in you with the band was a huge thing.
Yes. My mother was also the one who gave me the opportunity to pursue it. My father was dead...and I was at home becoming just like him in his stead. Whether I went to work or not. Like sometimes I would only pretend to go to work and would end up sleeping in some park. My mother, noticing this told me, "It's ok if you want to go to Tokyo". Of course...I didn't see it at the time but now I know those words were really her way of giving me love. But well then my brother said that she was spoiling me *smiles*. So, since she said it was ok, I went to Tokyo and somehow found myself living with a girl in her apartment.

I think that's a common scenario *laughs*
Really, it seemed picture perfect *smiles*.

At that time, did you think you would be making your living with the band? Or did you think it was just something to do for the time being?
Well for was more about wanting to change myself than thinking this was how I would make my living. But I was still floating without purpose. I kept moving from place to place *smiles*, I couldn't hold a job for more than three days.

So you were still in a bad place.
Terrible. Really. And with barely any salary and little was a tight squeeze. It affected my health. So my brother got mad at me again. He told me it would be better for me to stop doing what I was doing.

Were you already in Buck-Tick at that point? the beginning of high school, I went with some friends to Imai's house because everyone used to hang out there. Around that time Boowy, who are also from Gunma were finding success in Tokyo and we were all talking about it. Some people were talking about trying to form a band. So I said, "Alright then, I'll be in it too. Since I always thought the drums were interesting, I'll play the drums." So I began playing them from then. After graduating from high school, Imai and the previous vocalist went to a special Art school in Tokyo while I worked in a car shop in Gunma. Hide and Yuuta were a year behind us in school so they were only able to go to Tokyo the following year...then finally everyone was there. Meanwhile, I was lingering in Gunma, whining to my mother until she told me it was ok for me to go. After that...the story of our band really began. At that point when I went to Tokyo I wanted to be the band's vocalist no matter what so I wondered how I should bring it up. Then it ended up that they called me and told me they wanted to replace the vocalist too! Everyone agreed. So we talked it over on the phone first. It seems rather cruel when I think about it now *smiles*. So then after we returned from a rehearsal in Koenji and went to an izakaya(4), I broached the subject. So I told the previous vocalist and my girlfriend at the time and...after that, I became the vocalist. Though even now when I think about it, I believe I made him quit.

But why were you the one who had to tell him?
Well I was the hooligan right *smiles*? I imagine they thought I'd be the most effective.

*smiles* Ok, so tell me the details of how you became the vocalist.
Well when we were still amateurs in Gunma...I think I told Imai and Yuuta that I wanted to be a vocalist for a different band. I was determined to do it and yet I didn't have any self-confidence or experience. But luckily even then...I managed to leave a powerful impression on people so even though I was awkward, I had the drive to keep going. In the end that's what did it. I quit playing the drums for Buck-Tick and asked if I could join Anii's band as their vocalist. It was a crazy thing to ask for but he was very gentle when he refused me.

Gentle? It seems rather mean actually *smiles*.
*chuckles* I just told myself, "Oh well, that's life" and then decided that I wanted to be Buck-Tick's vocalist then. So I told them. I had to. I just wanted to be given the chance, I knew I could do it. What I would do, and what I wanted to do was to leave my former self behind...I wanted to...change. That was the big turning point. Really, I already had the desire and the drive. But now I wanted to act on it, I wanted to do something. Until then...I never felt at liberty to do so. But there's a good side and a bad side to that *smiles*. The bad being that I did some questionable things.

You said that a little earlier too but maybe because you had to tiptoe around when you were a child, when you finally had some freedom you went as far away from that as you could. They lyrics you write and the songs you sing show that...but as you know with success comes great responsibility. And the greater the success, the greater your responsibilities.
Mm. I really didn't think about that in the beginning. That's why I was irresponsible. I'd just go on stage already drunk *smiles*. When I did that all I could think of was how I wanted to play in bigger lives, move on from the amateur stage, that was my goal when I was an amateur. I was so excited to move forward. It's bad but I think I just wasn't using my head at all. So of course when I was reckless in the beginning, it's because I wasn't thinking.

When did things start to go relatively well?
Ah...when I stopped being an idiot *smiles*?

You mean *smiles* when you quit being bitchy.
*chuckles* ...those were good times *smiles*.

You don't have to tell us everything until your last album.
That wouldn't be very interesting would it *smiles*? so after our debut I once again felt like I was thrust into another world. Like I was floating. "Do this please, sign that please". They'd say that and my reaction was basically a stunned, "Buh." Gradually, as I began to realize what I had to do, I knew I could no longer resort to my earlier idiocy. I needed to be different somehow. So even though I liked having my hair spiked up, I didn't want to do it because I had to or because it was my obligation. We all just did it because we liked it, it was funny, but it's something else when you're forced to do something. I thought about it and decided I wanted to be more natural. Around then I thought maybe I couldn't keep my hair up anymore...I thought that if I wanted to sing more honestly, I had to change the way I presented myself.

So then when you let your hair down, it was actually a sign of your personal growth as a singer.
It was. And that is also linked with our third album 'TABOO'. At that point, with our first and second album, it had been Imai taking the initiative. He wrote the music and the lyrics. But with the third album I also wrote a great deal of the lyrics. I think we wanted to define ourselves as a band. Before that we were just content with songs being melodious. But before the making of 'TABOO' I told Imai that I wanted to do something darker and asked him to write something dark. I never imagined at that time that this image would stick. Now we're associated with a dark and gothic image perhaps but back then I really only wanted to do it because I like dark music in minor keys. Of course I also like pop melodies but it just happened that being dark...worked better for the band *smiles* so we didn't just do it only because I wanted to. After all you can like something and be terrible at it. So when that was going on I felt that maybe I could take some steps to do more.

So then during 'TABOO'...were you confident in the direction you were going and the in the response you were getting from your performances?
Yeah. Though well now when I think about it...I really wasn't using my full potential. At that time we just wanted to show one thing, what kind of band we were, and I think the best way to do that was for me to be honest.

After that came a period of great change...with 'Kurutta Taiyou', you can even see the outer changes easily with that album.
When we were Indies we did pop like songs, songs with beautiful melodies. Then with 'TABOO' came a move to something dark. We continued with that for 'Aku no Hana'. But I sort of felt like...I was just scratching at the surface. I had just begun to use words...about decadence because it was fashionable to do so. Then with 'Kurutta Taiyou', it was no longer just using words, it was real *bitter smile*. And I was surrounded by it. Until then...another person had never been the focus point of my lyrics but I had to express what I couldn't grasp. I asked another member if it was alright for me to do so and they said, "Write as much as you need, it's ok". So at least I was given the chance to express myself. I thought about it and decided I would.

That's when your lyrics and attitude clearly changed. Suddenly we saw things from your point of view and saw how raw your pain was. It was like you felt there was no point anymore, no sense in feeling anything, everything was beginning to feel like a lie to you.
I did feel like that, yes. Of course until then the point was just to use European decadence because it was considered cool. Not just by others but I thought it was too. But I had reached a point very quickly that I no longer wanted to. Perhaps it was because...showing that vulnerability, while it was the truth, it made me mad at myself for being so pathetic. Really, I wasn't a child anymore. So I'd say to myself, "What are you whining about?!". I was hard on myself because if I wasn't the grief would have torn me apart.

Well really...when you lose someone who is very close to you, creating something is a way to deal with the loss. Especially something like lyrics. Until the last is completed and you've dealt with it.
Well, I guess you can put it that way. I was allowed to write about it, I was given the freedom to do so. But just because you're allowed, that doesn't mean you can write about it. Every person deals with grief differently. For some it takes months, others years perhaps. Just like how I was in Gunma when I was 18, and how I was in Tokyo was also completely different. There was never a thought of...what I could do to deal with it or what I could let myself give. The feeling of loss was immense and left me feeling empty. There was just this gaping void in me. I thought there was nothing I could do to ease the enormity of the pain. And this was during a tour. I know I went on the tour, but I don't remember anything of it. We were already doing so much that year that I was reeling from it all....So, naturally I couldn't really mourn...perhaps because of that I wrote about it. At that time...I wasn't religious but I was charmed by various unscientific theories regarding the loss of a loved one. I just wanted it all to be a lie, I didn't want to see reality. I fled from it.

Your regret was also great.
Yes. Even now.

So at that time, looking to unscientific explanations was a way to avoid your feelings and the truth that there was nothing you could do.
Not very clever is it? When people experience a big shock, they don't want to face it, it's a defence mechanism. So naturally they'll turn to the unscientific. Well, I just thought that if I was a little tougher, I'd be ok.

Mm...but no one can be that tough in that situation.
A stronger kid would say, "Thank you mother" and be happy about it. Unlike me who can only say, "...I'm sorry".

Going back to your lyrics a moment, from 'Kurutta Taiyou' they became steadily with the next album 'darker than darkness' where you become obsessed with death.
Mm, yes.

From there, in 'Six/Nine' you begin to ask yourself, "So, why do I exist?".
Ha ha ha. When you say it like sounds so simple.

It was were thinking of your father then. Since ultimately, you can't go where he is, you can never ask him something like that.
Of course that's a part of it, but I think I was saved by the people around me.

Because you felt isolated, it's good you were loved *smiles*.
Ha ha ha. The problem is being aware of it.

But you must have realized because after in 'Six/Nine' you said, "I think I want to live". And this was after you had suffered a great illness wasn't it?
Yes, that's right *smiles*. It's a good thing there was love then. That, when was it? Was it after 'COSMOS'?

I think so. You were doing research for twelve months.
Ah, yes yes. I had just...gone to Nepal I think. I left suddenly too. After being in Nepal for two days I decided that I was going to shoot there. Then that morning I was violently ill. I couldn't get up, could barely move and was unable to sleep because my stomach hurt so much. My whole body broke out in a cold sweat. It was the first time I had ever sweat so profusely. But I was supposed to do a photo shoot that afternoon at noon's a good thing I have a strong pain tolerance. I don't know why, but I do.

Yeah, I think you do.
Ha ha ha. Perhaps I've just gotten used to it. I was in pain like that for about six hours.

So long?!
*smiles* So after enduring it for that long during the photo shoot I eventually said, "Um, I'm sorry but could someone please take me to the hospital?". By that time I had already reached my limit. Just by pushing myself to go there. To Nepal. Then, when I got to the hospital, I was told they didn't have room for me. Since I couldn't go home or even stay overnight in the hospital I was rushed to Singapore...where an ambulance was waiting to take me to the hospital there. They took one look at my chart and let me in. But by that point I was already thinking that well if I'm going to die, I want to die in Tokyo. So with that one thought in my head I said, "Please take me to Narita". I was being completely unreasonable of course but they didn't want to bear the guilt of denying me my final wish if something happened to me. So I was taken to Narita, and the moment I arrived I felt so completely relieved, it made me a little more at ease. I think your mood is an amazing thing *smiles*, it can change the outcome of things.

But wasn't your condition really bad?
Yeah. Basically I was told that if they delayed by one day I would die. I was rather shocked. The problem was with my colon. There was a rupture that resulted in peritonitis(5). So, when that happened, all of my intestinal waste had gone through my body. They had to drain all that poison from my system to cleanse it, it was a close call.

So perhaps...along with all your other thoughts at the time, the one that was the strongest was the will to live. Your will to live is really strong I think. But until didn't even think it was a bad thing to die. It took a serious illness to get the idea into your head.
You know what they say, it's those who complain the most who live the longest.

*chuckles* Are you talking about the amazingly long lived old Mr. Hisashi(6) from Gunma?
Fua ha ha. You know he still sings karaoke? At the community centre. With his wife.

Really *smiles*. But...back to what we were saying, there are some people who once they've brushed death, it changes their perspective on life. Was there such a change in you once you left the hospital? Or did you generally just go back to your everyday routine?
Mm, I was so weak after that. My strength and my energy too were...of course drained but I still felt like myself on the inside. So when I actually couldn't do the things I used to...I was shocked. When I was admitted to the hospital in Nepal I was scared and alone...then I couldn't eat for a month after the eat is to live so it was like I wasn't living. I was still weakened by the shock of it all. So that's why I continued to be a little off.

So did it take you quite a long time before you regained the desire to work in the band?
...what did we do after that again?

After you changed labels, you did 'SEXY STREAM LINER' about a year after being in the hospital.
Ah, yes. Of course those were unstable times. I moved...I changed my name, I thought I'd change the office too. It was a pretty unstable year all things considered.

But then after that you released 'ONE LIFE, ONE DEATH' three years later, and initially it gives a positive impression.
Mm. How to shows that to be complete there needs to be good and even bad. We went for sincerity. It also broadened my way of thinking in that a few words can have a great impact. I couldn't settle down and be calm after that. I wanted to do everything at once. But that's not such a bad thing. It allowed me to take a step back from the band, detach myself from its centre.

When you speak of stepping back, you're talking about role sharing right? Like it's not just you writing lyrics and singing.
Yeah. It's not a bad thing though. It was after that that we could talk about doing solo Imai doing Lucy. It made sense to me that he needed to do that. Imai needed to express what he couldn't with Buck-Tick, feelings that were important to him and that had been put aside for too long. Perhaps that's why he wanted to record with friends who shared those feelings. I understand that and I think it's good. He's needed to do something like that since 'Mona Lisa OVERDRIVE', so when Lucy came up, I understood.

So then did you feel that you once again bore the weight of the burden with Buck-Tick?
Mm, not really. It feels that way sometimes nowadays but well really it's more of a running joke when I say things like, "I want to do something dark!". It's like it's my slogan and I've been labelled with the image of goth and decadence. It's like I can't handle any sort of versatility...because I'm stuck in that image. It kinda sucks but...ah, it's my own fault *smiles*. Sadly.

You believe that?
Yes. I like heavy things. But also, in my head, I figured that because I'm in a band, I didn't need to do a solo album. Why would I need to? If I said I was going to do a solo...I'd be far too self-conscious because my band would be different. Well, that just relates to what I said before about my lack of versatility but I ended up thinking I wouldn't mind doing something new after all.

Did this sudden change of heart have to do with you seeing Lucy and thinking that, "Hey, that looks fun!"?
*chuckles* Quite the opposite, all I could think was that Imai wouldn't be able to help me. They were all joking around, not acting serious at all, and one of them was cackling away, "Kyakyakyakya" *smiles*.

*smiles* Going back to your solo Sakurai-san...I think you gave your all, 100%. But even though you took your time to finish it, you're a perfectionist so you feel annoyed perhaps with the result. Like you could still do more, you haven't done enough. Am I right?
Yeah. I feel that way. That's why I just have to do as I please. With the band *smiles*. No no, I try not to be like that. Of course when it comes to who I work with...I like them, and it's people I work well with.

Ah. I think you told me that while you were working on it too. While we're on the subject, if you were to do solo work again, what would you do next...?
Nothing, I've done enough.

...ah...but then again...

Which is it, yes or no *laughs*!'s hard to say you know? If I say I only want to sing with Imai or Hide then it's like I'm hurting Taiji and Tsuchiya Masami-san and I hate that, they're all good people.

More than that, if you say something like you prefer one to the other, it sounds like the argument of a three year old.
I know right so, then how do I avoid that? Was it yesterday, no, the day before yesterday I was thinking about that.

That's terrible! You only thought about that now?
Fua ha ha. Yes. Now.

So did you find a way then?
Um, yeah. By being mean to my partners. When I think about them, I'll do something mean to them and then I'll stop thinking about them. *smiles* You can tell I have no idea what I'm saying. It's because this was the first time I was told by the people I work with that they think I'm good. Of course I think they're good too as well as the things they do but maybe they don't want that. It just puts them on the spot right? But how could I wish for them to be any other way? So I guess I did get what I wanted after all.

Ah, sorry I have to change the subject again. Recently, I went to see Buck-Tick live at the Yokohama arena. It happened to be your show on September 11th, I was in one of the reserved seats, saying a silent prayer. But then you stood above me on stage and said, "This is just hypocrisy" or something and that's when I realized that even if I pray it won't change anything, did you think that too?
Yeah, yeah.

But even so you have to think, "Even if I think it won't help, I'll do what I can, maybe now I can help". I was surprised you cast aside all self-consciousness and shyness then. I didn't think anything would change in an instant but I felt they definitely would change eventually, I saw that.
That's true...but I was rather shameless.

How people think, how they take something, is not something you can change by force of will.
I will. It's not the best way to say it but it's the one good thing about being in entertainment, I can influence people.

Ah, you're rather resolved.
How something will come out, and what influence it will have, I'll try my best so that in the end it's good.

I see. now what you looking forward to?
Mm...perhaps there are many people in Japan who when asked would say they don't want to grow old. And the more they age, the more they say it. Like how am I already 40 isn't...something they ever say is it? Uh, wait how does the saying go?

The one about being 40 without being led to temptation? (You will know your destiny at 50 if you aren't led astray when you're 40 -Confucius(7))
Ah is that it? Maybe I'll come close to being a proper adult...when I'm 50 or 60. But really, I'm so unreliable at 38, I'm like a kid...I don't think I'm an adult. I can't think of myself becoming an adult even though I hate acting like a kid. But of course when I'm 40, I think I'll still be fun. I hope.

Your views on life and death have slowly changed haven't they?
There is no end to desire. But now I know there's no point in saying I wish I was twenty. I think a person's way of thinking changes naturally over time and I think that if I can continue to broaden my perspective then it's a good thing.

Perhaps that means you haven't given up on being positive.
Ah, yes that's right. I still have so much to offer. And that's the fundamental point. know I won't give up on being positive *smiles*. Unlike before when I'd say things like, "Why me...?" and people would tell me to please not give up. Now it seems such an easy thing even though I only aged a little since then. Now I just grumble and get over it *smiles* because I'm older. So now...whatever happens naturally, is good. That's what I think.

(1) A Yankee is a term which basically means delinquent but refers to kids who just...look bad mostly. It's associated with the image of spiked hair. You see these characters all the time in manga. Though I have to wonder at the word choice. >.>
(2)This is what most Japanese kids answer when asked. Sad...they tend not to realize they have more choices.
(3) A Japanese liquor akin to Vodka.
(4)An izakaya is basically a pub only Japanese style. The main purpose is drink but they also serve food.
(5)He explains it rather well but for those who may or may not know, this is what my mother suffered from last May. So I can attest to the grave seriousness. Once it hits your kidneys, you can die. The procedure takes hours...and it takes over a year to recover fully. It's horrific.
(6) There's a play on words here that's difficult to translate. Hisashi means 'long-lived' and with alternate kanji can also mean the head of the Imai house, namely, Imai's father. Why the interviewer decided to call him the old Hisashi instead of the head Imai I don't know but I'm sure that's part of the joke.
(7) Please don't ask me what the exact quote is. I just translated it from the Japanese because I was too lazy to look it up even though I have Confucius a foot away...-_-