Outside of your activities as a writer, in recent years you have been active in various spheres, such as music and cooking. Was this influenced by your move to NY?That’s exactly what I think! Part of me didn’t want to be in Japan. I wanted to try other things besides writing, and I wanted to change my lifestyle. That’s the main reason why I came to NY. In Japan, if you change your work, or have multiple jobs, you are viewed negatively as a person who doesn’t stick to it, and you’re judged harshly for it. For example, if you say you want to start working as a cook, you get asked if you have a food handling license, what school did you graduate from, and it’s sort of like a smack to the face. But, since coming to NY, so many people are interested in me saying, “if you like fashion, then you must love music” and “if you can DJ, then you can make music too”. I feel that I am able to realize my own potential.
Would you say that meeting your partner, Brian Close, was also a big influence?Yes, I can’t help but say that meeting Brian was lucky. I met him in the 4th year after my move to NY. Though I was DJing at the time, I really hadn’t handled any instruments, and I always felt that music was a special skill. I never had considered that I could actually do it, but Brian said to me: “If you can DJ, you can do it”, “Why don’t you try this?”, and on top of lending me lots of equipment, he taught me the basics on how to use it. I used to view my musician friends with that adoration that playing instruments is so amazing; but I started to go to Brian’s studio to play in jam sessions, playing the flute or percussion. It was surprisingly interesting when I first touched the Korg Electribe ER-1 that he gave to me. Brian is who made me feel that music is so much fun. Y’know, my musician friends never told me that it could be this much fun! (laughs) I think that music is in all of us.
Brian also contributed to Grand Street Milki, which was released in Positive Messages. How did PAM reach out to you to participate in this project?Brian has provided graphic design and has made promotion videos for PAM, so we were regularly in contact with Misha and Shauna. Once we went into lockdown, we caught up with them about how things were for all of us, and my texts from that time were uploaded as-is for Positive Messages.