by Kei Eng
I was lying down in the Yokohama Oukurasan Bairin Park alone on my 20th birth, 15 years ago. Around me were several families enjoying that fine, spring day. The kids were 5, 6 years old, and their parents had to be 35, 36. As I thought, "Oh, I was just a small kid like them 15 years ago, and I will be like that father 15 years into the future," I knew I must be at a turning point. I thought I discovered a new concept, and my heart was overwhelmed with joy.
I am 35 today. I still don't have a child, but 15 years had passed from that day. It was a short 15 years, just thinking about music. Babies back then must be writing love letters now. During this period, I went through a lot. I find myself trying to forget painful thoughts, and trying to remember only joyful ones. But isn't looking back at painful, joyful, and all other experiences, a step to the future?
Don't run from bad memories. There's no need to stay in a good place all the time, either. Take a deep breath and face them eye-to-eye. Discover how they affect you. Don't put a lid on the past. Let it run how it wants to. It is said that past events cannot be changed. But even though we can't change what has transpired, we can interpret it in different ways. The future will be different, then. Each one should make meaning of their own events. I wrote a song called "Rising Expectations" on 2/7. The song became the best one I had ever written, by fusing Yuuki Ito's lyrics, which truly represented my image. (I don't care what the public says.) Writing this song was my "realization" at the time. As I heard the completed tape in my car, I cried again and again. I felt myself being cured by a song I wrote to cure another.
We can say just about anything to others, but will we be able to be honest to ourselves when we are in trouble? Can we be as we feel? Weren't we closing our eyes to troubles we must face in the future? I am not a saint, or some kind of magician. I am just a simple-minded, easy going man. Though I sometimes think about what I had went through in one to two months, I found hesitation to judge my past life styles, conclusions and choices. I will confess the following:
I am not satisfied with this album at all. The image I had for each song had been crushed to pieces by this. It is not the arranger's fault, nor the performers. It is because of my lack of trying to "defend" the image of each song, and my trying to escape by saying, "I did not arrange this." Because I did help arrange this. Yet, my easiness underestimated the schedule. My carelessness said, "Everything's gone well up till now; it's going to be fine this time, too." But, every mistake began to show up. If I do not write this here, everyone will listen to this CD without any doubts. Some will say to me, "Orchestras are so great." Some will write to me, and say, "I was touched by it." If I see the making of this soundtrack as a "job" involving many people, that might be nothing, but... There is one part of me that haunts me.
I really wanted to make this album work, to be able to create the image that I wanted. To tell you the truth, I think I had always thought of such things when trying to create an album, but I never did. I was being a "goody-goody" everytime the question came up to me. I mistook, "I'd rather quit, than pour out my real feelings and hurt someone," as kindness. I was scared that I wasn't really agreeing with that... but, if I expressed my true feelings, everyone would see me as being selfish. THAT was my true feeling; being scared to look face to face, I escaped by performing as a "kind and cooperating man." I was living a lie.
I do not want to run away from now on. I will face everything that had happened. I realize now that, being truthful to myself, and truthful to others, doesn't relate to being kind. I confess my feelings here to punish myself. I was scared to write such things in these liner notes. I am scared now too, but not nearly as much as before.
A certain incident happened to me, which was a step towards my escape from the bad cycle which I had been trapped in for years. And I found myself being able to step out to the new world by this incident:
I was sitting on the stairs of the Yamaha of Shibuya, smoking and observing the people in the streets on the evening of 3/26. I was waiting for Reiko, my wife, to finish her job. Others may have thought it was strange that a full-grown man was just sitting there, smoking -- but I just enjoyed the feeling of liberty, not caring about such things. "What should I do next? I can choose anything I want to," I thought, as I remembered the past. Before marrying Reiko, I was always sitting on the steps of Tokyo, at the Hands Of Shibuya, smoking, waiting for Reiko.... That was when I was a student, and had no idea about my future. "What would I do with my life from now on? I can do anything. But... what should I do?" I thought of this as I was about to row my little boat into the midst of this large ocean called Liberty.
That was 15 years ago. Did I come back to the same place after 25 years? No, I am moving forward. I may be at the same place for someone looking down on a spiral staircase, but not for someone looking from the side. I am further up. The title, "Grand Finale," therefore, has an ambiguous meaning. Literally, it means, "Everything went well." Figuratively, it shows my determination that I will say goodbye to my old lifestyle. I still have a lot of things I don't understand, even being 35 years old. There are a lot of things that I know by logic, but I need to go through them in order to truly understand. I am glad I chose music as my career; I can give gratitude to the people who have taught me, let me know, and let me feel the important elements of life, in the form of love called "music."
For people reading this, and people who aren't reading this but know me, I just have to say, "Thanks from the bottom of my heart, for everything I have experienced." Please, teach me more. Let me go through more. It would be great if we can be happy together. Last but not least, I thank Mr. Nomura for listening to my troubles, and for Mr. Matsushita, who told me his true feelings towards MY true feelings. Both two are wonderful people.
March 21, 1994