Sasamoto：I`d like to talk about something that I currently get into and why.
Mende：I have several hobbies, but what I am into now is cooking. Since the pandemic began last year, my wife and I have spent many long hours at home together. I realized that I don’t want to just eat good food and compliment the chef, but I thought I should also learn to make something good to eat, myself.
Sasamoto：That is really great! Are there days when you make dinner?
Mende： No, I am not allowed just yet. Sometimes I make one dish for the meal, but my wife thinks I am too dangerous. For the last 40 years, I have been on dishwashing duty. Sometimes she lets me help with tasks like grating radishes or things that can’t be easily ruined.
However, lately, she has been teaching me about seasoning. She probably has realized that I am healthy and may outlive her. So if the time comes, when I have to provide care if she ever gets sick, she wants to be able to eat good food. Very cunning on her part. My wife is a very good cook. So, like a professional, she is teaching me the basics of cooking. I am good with my hands, so I have figured out my way with a kitchen knife.
How about you? You seem like the type that likes to keep busy.
Sasamoto： Yes, I also have lots of hobbies. The three I have been keeping up the longest are drawing, musicals, and volleyball. When my kids were little I took a break from most of my hobbies since I was too busy, but I have begun to enjoy musicals again.
Mende：Do you teach?
Sasamoto： NO. I am a learner. In high school, I was in the drama club and as an adult, I joined the local city musical theatre. I quit my office job to go to musical theatre school.
Mende： You really like music.
Sasamoto： Oh, yes! I have a loud voice which is pretty powerful, so I really like saying my lines and singing. People say my dance is like simple, morning, wake-up exercises. But dance is a very important element of musicals, so I also used to take dance lessons.
Mende：At your lessons do you practice your lines and then receive advice?
Sasamoto： Yes. Our coach is a professional actor, a god to us! I do one thing right and get about ten wrong. I am trying to elevate myself, but…
Mende： Director, Ninagawa Yukio, established Saitama Gold Theatre, an over 60s theatre group. My architect friend belongs to the group and said they practice carrying their voice through vocal exercises.
Sasamoto： Yes! Lots of vocal exercises. With our new coach and through these vocal exercises I have realized I still have a lot to learn!
Mende： Up until I finished jr. high school I was very into music. I played the trumpet and violin. I really liked playing musical instruments. Most people I knew probably thought I went on to study music at a fine arts university.
However, when I went to high school I saw a white plaster statue, used in drawing class. It was beautifully illuminated and I thought it might be interesting to draw this stark white statue. That is how I got interested in art and thought about taking the entrance exam for a university art program. The fine arts university that I chose was highly competitive with an acceptance rate of 35 to 1. In case I wasn’t accepted to the university, I was prepared to become an actor. I thought I could use my physical body as an actor to inspire people through performance. More than acting, I was interested in how to express and depict the physical body.
When I taught at Musashino Art University I really emphasized presentations. How one expresses themselves is a very important quality for a designer. I had the students do 3-minute impromptu speeches to introduce themselves. They weren’t allowed to read from a script but had to impress their classmates with physical actions or their demeanor.
I think part of a designer’s work is also to play a role and inspire people. Maybe similar to an actor. Who are you? What are you trying to do with light? How do you want to deeply inspire people? These are questions to ask ourselves and then persuade those listening.
Sasamoto： Playing a role to inspire people is very similar to acting. I am very interested in the importance of how one might express themselves during a presentation, whether it be for design or other professions.
Mende： Do you have a performance coming up?
Sasamoto： Not for a while, but I will definitely let you know! Thank you for our talk today.