Ayumi Hamasaki has been interviewed by fashion magazine Numero Tokyo for their October 2014 issue. In this interview, she discusses her new reality. She talks about her relationship with her new husband, her new work/life balance, and her new found emphasis on her health. She shows that she really has grown as a person. In the accompanying photoshoot, she wears various wedding gowns by designers such Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, and Lanvin. Both the interview and photoshoot take place in Hawaii, where Ayu is currently setting up camp.
Numero Tokyo writes:
Her first appearance in Numéro Tokyo since she tied the knot. What kind of life is she living now—? After finishing her Premium Showcase, which lasted from spring to summer, she took a short break in Hawaii.
With a slight tan and in casual wear, she walks through town normally. With a smile, she comments she hardly ever is recognized as “Ayumi Hamasaki” and is usually addressed in English when she walks with her cap low over her eyes and with her husband by her side.
“Ayu, where are you now?”
“Did you really get married?”
“Are you happy?”
The answers to those questions are clear to us when we see her walk through town with her husband and when we see her smile throughout the photo shoot.
“My close friends ask me those kind of questions too sometimes (laughs). I also wrote this in Trauma’s lyrics, but, I’ve always wondered: “To who should I show today’s happy face and today’s sad face?” In other words, I’m not very good at explaining myself. That’s why my friends often ask me “Why won’t you tell me anything?” I don’t say it or can’t say it or don’t know which points I should say. I’m not good with advice either. I always only tell people the outcome. Because I want to decide the process myself. My current partner is the same in that respect. We don’t interfere with each other’s work. We encourage and support each other to live up to our own standards of work. That’s our approach. That’s comfortable to us.”
It might sound businesslike at first glance. But as a couple working in different professions and having to deal with cultural differences, this should sounds sensible to many.
“He’s not a celebrity. I want him to cherish his identity and his way of life without interference of my work as “Ayumi Hamasaki”. But we also have things in common and this allows us to live life together: While maintaining our different professions, we share the dream of living as if the entire world is our home. That’s our lifestyle. There’s happiness in taking root in one place, but living freely is most enjoyable to us right now. Of course I want to settle down somewhere in the distant future.”
Not limited to LA and Japan, they reset their daily lives by changing scenery from time to time, such as now in Hawaii. She has been doing so since her twenties. From one person to two. What is happiness to her?
“As long as I am surrounded by lots of friends, as long as work goes smoothly, as long as I have a partner then everything will be OK – it’s not like that, right? I am now balancing everything properly and I feel very happy. I’m not someone who wants to have everything herself. After all, that’s impossible. And I don’t wish for someone to easily know everything about me and understand me. I don’t have the need to explain my work as Ayumi Hamasaki. I don’t try to. I don’t think I could anyway. But, he is my best friend. And I am his best friend. My boring side, my uncool side, my dumb side – he won’t hate or ignore those sides, he won’t pretend to not see them. He’ll laugh about them together with me. I think having such a partner is beautiful.”
This time, she only performed in big arena’s in Tokyo and Nagoya which could handle the latest technologies and devices. Including countless new experiments, it was truly a stage befitting of the word “premium”.
“I’ve been holding nationwide arena tours for 15 years. Even though I know I shouldn’t consider anything as matter of course, somehow, touring through Japan all year became my routine. But this year I experienced new things and this allowed me to see and feel many new things. I think this will reflect in the music I’m making and in the stages I will create in the future. Of course I’m worried about how these changes will be received, but inside there’s another me who encourages me by saying “Those who have fun win!”
Solid confidence wells up inside her when she achieves something. That’s what she gained on that stage. The response she felt as she opened new doors in pursuit of entertainment, such as taking on a physically-challenging flying performance called tissue dance, back up her words.
“When I’m asked “Why do you go that far?”, I can’t find the right words. I tried to cover it by saying I want “new challenges”. Maybe rather than giving my all or my best, I wanted to test my resolve of continuing to be “Ayumi Hamasaki” even after 15 years and to see what I could add to the stage myself—
Of course there are things I can’t decide alone because this is business. But lately, concerning my music and performances, I’ve started only wanting to do things I agree with and like. Even if those around me really want me to do something, if I decide “No, this have no appeal” then I won’t do it. In the past I would do everything. I didn’t have the choice to not do something. That wasn’t painful or anything like that. I was simply busy doing every thing I had to the best I could. But recently I took a new look at the balance between my private and work life, and I decided “This way is no good. I want to want to spend my private life more fully.”
Her way of thinking about her health changed as well.
“It’s frustrating when you can’t do something because your body can’t handle it. That’s why I take good care of my mental and physical health. In the past I didn’t even have the time to take care of myself at even the basic level. But now I enjoy learning how to do so. I think the way I train my body is different from how women in Japan do it nowadays (laughs). I think my partner influences me too. We often talk about what’s healthy. Things like: if you do this, you will get these symptoms. He’ll hand me the right supplements (“Here, drink this”) when I’m missing certain nutrients (laughs). He’s a muscle freak so he’ll gripe about my workouts or diets being wrong (laughs). And, above all, you gain muscles differently as you grow older. I liked the body I had in my twenties, but I don’t want to get that body back. I’d simply end up looking scrawny and won’t look like I did back then. I have to do the right workouts for thirties body and I have to get the right muscles to fight back against gravity! (laughs)
In the past, I would force myself not to eat anything and I’d be hungry every day. That’s how I lost weight. As “Ayumi Hamasaki” I wanted to look like that. By unspoken agreement, it was normal for me to be skinny. I felt I had to be skin and bones. That’s why I ate as little as I could. I thought that was cool. I’d have conversations like, “Is that all you’re eating?” “You’re full with just that amount, huh~” “How nice~” It sounds scary to me now. If I’d do that now, my skin and hair would get ruined and I wouldn’t feel happy. It’s not good at all.
In order to become a true healthy beauty, I have to plan properly. People can choose different lifestyles: what to eat, how to spend your time, how to train your body. We can decide this ourselves. Deciding what you’re living for will change your lifestyle and the way you spend your time. You’ll be able to distribute things in a way suitable to you. Being able to clearly think “I want to do this” rather than thinking “I don’t know what to do” is one road to happiness for me. In my twenties I was always running head over heels. Having gained experience, I’ve gained more options. I can choose with my eye on the end result but also enjoy the process. Now, I’ve become able to choose properly with who I want to spend my time, how I want to spend my time and what makes me feel fulfilled.
Right now, the sense of distance between my work and my partner and friends feels just right. In my twenties I’d think about work 24/7, I wouldn’t eat what I want, I was always tired and irritated, and at the same time depend on my boyfriend too much. I’m like a completely different person now. I’m happy I became a proper adult.”
She wore beautiful wedding dresses for this shoot, but surprisingly, she has never worn one in her private life.
“In the movies, women always know the right dress when they see it. Maybe I haven’t seen it yet or maybe I’ve worn too many “right” dresses (laughs). I started wearing fancy custom made dresses in my twenties and received applause from thousands of people every year. I’ve experienced that once-in-a-lifetime time in the spotlight for 15 years. How could I surpass that happiness? What could beat that? Unless maybe everyone from TeamAyu came or my parent insisted I’d wear one, I don’t think I’ll wear one. I’ve been strange since I was little. I didn’t want to be a princess, I’d wear boyish clothes, I didn’t wear skirts because they embarrassed me, I always had short hair, I didn’t dream about becoming someone’s wife. I wanted to quickly become an adult and become someone great (laughs).”
Her success as Ayumi Hamasaki means she achieved her dream, doesn’t it?
“It’s difficult to measure what success is. I sang about it in one of my past songs: success disappears in a second. It’s fantasy-like reality. There were times I felt I was in such a place. But, the current me feels truly alive and enjoys every day. Of course they are times when I fall but I don’t run away. I laugh it off and move on. I think happiness is always just around the corner.”
Credit for the translated interview: akiramezu.tumblr.com.
Credit for the scans: Scanned by HULUFan @ AYUFAN.COM / Shared by AYUFAN.COM.